Monday, 20 August 2018

League 2 Discussion 1: Bury, Cambridge, Carlisle, Cheltenham

Its fair to say it was a miserable season for the Shakers of Bury. The club sank to relegation from League 1 without much of a fight until relegation become inevitable. However, club legend Ryan Lowe now in charge on a permanent basis, will be determined to lead the club back to League 1 at the first attempt. Lowe admitted Bury were pretty abject last season and he has rung the changes following the relegation. However, Lowe has kept some of the experienced heads at the club including Joe Skarz, Jermaine Beckford, Stephen Dawson and Danny Mayor. These players will be vital to Bury’s chances of success this season. As he promised at the end of the season, Lowe has changed the Bury squad and added 12 new signings during the transfer window. Proven League 2 players such as Chris Dagnall, Nicky Adams, Byron Moore, Chris Stokes and Tom Miller are amongst the 12 to walk into Gigg Lane. Dagnall is a proven goal scorer while Adams and Moore are excellent creative players with good records in League 2. However, Lowe has created a good balance between young players and experience with players like Gold Omotayo, Jordan Archer, Jamie Barjonas and Mathew Hudson being able to learn and grow from experienced players at the club. The Bury fans will expect promotion at the first attempt with the bare minimum being a top 7 finish but the fans will want automatic promotion.
I think Bury will be battling for a play-off spot this season and may just come up short this season but the club needs consistency because there has been far too many changes in playing and coaching staff in recent years and the fans will just want some consistency at the club they love

My Predicted Finish: 8th

Its been a frustrating few seasons for Cambridge with the club wanting to battle hard for the play-off spots and promotion to League 1. However, mediocre spells throughout the season ultimately costs them and they finish in mid-table. Cambridge must find consistency this season if they are to battle for a play-off spot. Joe Dunne is the man tasked with getting Cambridge towards the play-off spots after a good spell in caretaker charge. Cambridge do have decent players at the club but certainly struggled last season without Luke Berry, but Dunne will believe he has a squad good enough to be competing at the higher echelons of the table. The likes of Jabo Ibehre, Harrison Dunk and David Forde are good players at this level and more things will be expected from this season. However, what is interesting to note, is the fact that Cambridge have only made 3 new signings in the transfer window in Louis John, George Taft on a permanent deal and winger Reggie Lambe. John had an excellent season in non-league Sutton’s defence, while winger Lambe has had good spells at Mansfield and Carlisle and comes with a good reputation at this level and Dunne will be confident of getting the best out of him. The Cambridge fans will want more than mid-table this season and will want the club to push on and firmly challenge for a play-off spot. Joe Dunne must deliver something for the Cambridge fans to get excited about with mid-table once again their most likely destination once again this season.
I think Cambridge are a mid-table side and comfortably finish there once again this season. They will try to push for the play-offs, but I feel they will come up short once again and I think they are lacking in areas of the pitch and I’m a bit surprised they haven’t added a few more players but of course, there is still time for them.

My Predicted Finish: 12th

It was a mixed season last time out for Carlisle as they proved why they finished in the play-offs the previous season but also struggled for consistency and ultimately saw them finish in mid-table. However, the surprise departure of Keith Curle at the end of season hit the club hard a little despite the fact he was part of the team working on what players stay and leave the club. However, Carlisle head into the new season with new boss John Sheridan who joins the club with an excellent record in League 2 after spells at the likes of Chesterfield and Plymouth. Sheridan also has a new squad to work with following 12 departures and 10 new arrivals so far. Sheridan has recruited Dean Holdsworth to join his set up at the club and he has been responsible for recruiting new players and he has brought in the likes of Gary Miller, Anthony Gerrard, Adam Collin and MacAulay Gillesphey. The club has recruited experienced players at this level as well as several loan signings who are eager to impress in the football league and these include Joel Fryer, Jerry Yates, Ashley Nadesan and Regan Slater. All are hungry and eager to impress, and the Carlisle fans will be hoping to see the best of them at the club. Despite the 12 departures from Brunton Park, Sheridan still has some of the old heads from last season to call on and these include Jason Kennedy, Kelvin Etuhu, Jamie Devitt, Tom Parkes and Richie Bennett. Sheridan will be relying on these players to pass on the expectations of the club and fans onto the younger and new players at the club. It is difficult to suggest what represents a good season for Carlisle because certainly mid-table is a good season and a play-off finish would represent an excellent season. The Carlisle fans will want a play-off push and with a good manager like John Sheridan they can easily be the surprise packages for a play-off spot.
I think Carlisle will push for a spot in the top 7 but will just come up short this season but will comfortably finish in the top half.

My Predicted Finish: 10th

Consistency has been key to Cheltenham’ successes in recent season. Gary Johnson took them down and brought them straight back up and has stabilised them as an established League 2 side even when the club had poor runs of form. Gary Johnson has done a wonderful job at Cheltenham and mid-table once again would represent an excellent season for the club. The club once again has gone through a large transition of players with 12 departures and 14 new arrivals. Arguably the biggest departure is that of Mohamed Eisa. The striker was sensational for the club in his first ever season in the football league so much, so he became Cheltenham’s first ever million-pound player following his move to Championship Bristol City. However, his goals will be hard to replace this season and Johnson will know he must find a new source of goals quickly. Johnson will hope new recruits Kevin Kalala, Manny Duku and Liam McAlinden are the men to provide the goals this season along with Brian Graham. Both Kalala and Duku are gearing up for their first ever football league seasons and will be wanting to impress and will certainly use Eisa’s season as inspiration. Gary Johnson has been active in the transfer window and has brought in the likes of Johnny Mullins, Ben Tozer, Conor Thomas, Chris Hussey and Sean Long. All join with proven experience at this level and will be crucial if Cheltenham are to avoid the relegation battle. The Cheltenham fans I’m sure will be delighted with another mid-table finish once again with relegation avoidance their prime target and Gary Johnson will want them to push on from there.
I think Cheltenham will comfortably survive relegation and finish in the bottom half. They will try to push for a top half finish but will just come up short this time around.

My Predicted Finish: 17th

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