Tuesday, 28 August 2018

League 2 Discussion 6: Stevenage, Swindon, Tranmere, Yeovil

It has been a solid couple of seasons for Stevenage. They are an established League 2 certainly not fighting against relegation but I’m sure has ambition of competing for promotion. Stevenage have been a settled club for some time despite the surprise sacking of Darren Sarll in the middle of last season, the club has continued to be stable under current boss Dino Mammria who knows the club well having played for them during his career. He certainly would like to get Stevenage competing for a play-off spot this season and he will be quietly confident his side are the dark horses for promotion this season. Mammria has completely stripped the squad to his liking with 14 new signings joining the club. Mammria has added proven League 2 players in the likes of Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Scott Cuthbert, Michael Timlin, Joel Byrom, Ben Nugent and Paul Farman. All are proven players at this level and Mammria will be delighted to have them all on board. However, Mammria has used his non-league knowledge and brought in new talent including James Ball, Luther Wildin, Emmanuel Sonupe and Donovan Makoma. All share a hunger and desire to prove why they were signed and will relish their chance of playing in the football league. Mammria has a good balance of experience, youth and hunger in his side and he will be confident they can compete for promotion this season. The Stevenage fans may head into the new season unsure of their sides prospects because of the vast changes but they will be confident Mammria is the man to deliver a potentially exciting season for the club.
I think Stevenage will be a difficult side to predict because of the vast changes. Mammria will feel they are promotion contenders while others will feel a season of struggle could be on the horizon. I edge towards the promotion challenge, but I feel they will come up short and finish in mid-table this season.

My Predicted Finish: 14th

Expectations will be high at Swindon this season after agonisingly missing out on a play-off spot last season. However, a full pre-season under Phil Brown, a proven promotion winner at this level, Swindon will be confident this is their season to secure promotion back to League 1. Phil Brown is expected to deliver with the fans and owner Lee Power expecting a return to third tier. The players will have to thrive on the pressure and expectations. Phil Brown has tweaked the squad slightly with 10 departures and 9 new arrivals so far. Paul Mullin and Luke Norris are amongst the contingent to leave but Michael Doughty and Tounami Diagouraga are amongst the new arrivals. Diagouraga is an excellent signing at this level and will a strong steel and good passing range at the heart of Swindon’s midfield. While Marc Richards will once again lead Swindon’s attack and he does enjoy a goal at this level and he will be important for Swindon’s chances of getting promotion. Swindon will be expected to be competing for automatic promotion and certainly a play-off spot would the expected finish this season and anything else is certainly deemed a failure. However, with a proven boss in Phil Brown, it is difficult to rule Swindon out of the automatic promotion race.
I believe Swindon will be competing for promotion and will secure a play-off spot. However, I feel there are stronger squads and these games will decide who takes automatic promotion and I feel Swindon will miss out on a top 3 finish but rule them out at your own peril because League 2 is extremely difficult to call.

My Predicted Finish: 6th

It was an excellent season last time out for Tranmere having secured their promotion back to the football league after winning the National League play-offs. Micky Mellon has done an excellent job at Tranmere and he will be confident the club will survive relegation comfortably and consolidate themselves back in the football league. Mellon has reliable players he can trust including James Norwood, Jay Harris, Scott Davies and Richie Sutton. All were excellent last season and will be confident the momentum built can be brought into the new season. However, Mellon has transformed the squad letting 13 leave and 13 join the club in the transfer window. The likes of Andy Mangan, Jay McEveley, Andy Cook, James Alabi, Ollie Norburn and James Wallace have departed for new challenges. While Mellon has added excellent players at this level including Mark Ellis, Ollie Banks, Paul Mullin, Zoumana Bakayogo, Cole Stockton and Luke McCullough. All join a club with confidence and many Tranmere fans will believe they could be competing for a play-off spot. While this is a long-term ambition, a consolidation season in League 2 would represent an excellent season for Tranmere.
I think Tranmere will take a few scalps this season and cause teams plenty of problems. I think promotion is out of reach this season and a mid-table finish would represent an excellent season and I feel this is where Tranmere will end up.

My Predicted Finish: 16th

It has been a penny-pinching time for Yeovil with the club having fallen from the Championship to League 2. The club has struggled in both League 1 and League 2. But with cup ties like Manchester United at home, this has increased the club’s budget and allowed boss Darren Way to build a team that he believes can compete for a play-off spot. While Way will believe that, many people will be sceptical and expect to see Yeovil at the wrong end of the table. Darren Way has lost creative spark Otis Khan to Mansfield and that is a blow, but he will have the upmost confidence in his 10 new recruits that can fill the gap left by him. The club has managed to keep excellent performers like Tom James, Omar Sowunmi and Francois Zoko. These players are crucial to Yeovil and are vital to any success the club has or wants this season. 10 new faces have arrived including young players like Dialling Jaiyesimi, Nathan Baxter, Alex Pattinson and Wes McDonald culminating with experienced signings like Carl Dickinson, Gary Warren and Sassi D’Almeida. Darren Way has a very good blend of youth and experience in his squad he will believe in the squad he has assembled. The Yeovil fans have faith in their manager and will hope he can deliver something special this season.
I feel although Yeovil will believe they can compete for promotion, I feel they will be battling against the drop because there is a lot of change and they must gel quickly as a team to have any success this season. They have struggled for too many seasons, but I feel they will survive once again this season.

My Predicted Finish: 21st

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