What a phenomenal couple of years it has been for Forest Green. Not only did they secure promotion to the football league but, they survived their first ever season and now have been named the first certified UN carbon-neutral football club which is nothing short of magnificent. Chairman Dale Vince has transformed his club making them environmentally and animal friendly. However, with his brilliant efficiency off the pitch, Mark Cooper has been working wonders on it. Cooper has done a sensational job and his next aim I’m sure is to push Forest Green higher up the league 2 table and aim for the top half. The club is ambitious and will be hoping to challenge for promotion in future seasons to come but consolidation and improvement would represent another excellent season for the club. Mark Cooper has completely transformed the squad this summer with 19 departures and 12 new arrivals. However, comfortably their best signing so far is keeping Christian Doidge at the club. The striker has been sensational for Forest Green smashing in 30 goals last season to steer the club to safety and there was strong interest in him, but Mark Cooper will be delighted the striker is still at the club. Doidge is clearly the main man in this side and certainly will be the key component to any success the club has this season. But as noted earlier, Cooper has been active in the transfer window and has added the likes of Carl Winchester, George Williams, Lloyd James, Paul Digby and Liam Shepherd. All join with excellent experience and knowledge of League 2 and Cooper will be delighted to have more experience on board in what is a very young Forest Green team. Cooper will be delighted with the squad he has and will be confident of pushing higher this season and the Forest Green fans will also hope for a higher finish and that would represent an excellent season for the club.
I think Forest Green will survive comfortably and will push for the top half, but I feel they will finish in the bottom half this season. Doidge is crucial to them and they must find a way to spread the goals in the team, so they don’t become reliant on the striker.
My Predicted Finish: 20th
Its fair to say Grimsby were extremely disappointing last season under Russell Slade and then Michael Jolley who just about steered them to safety. The club must improve in the new season and both Jolley and the fans will demand this from the players this season. Grimsby are also in transition following the previous season with Jolley letting 14 players leave including experienced performers Nathan Clarke and Ben Davies as well as exciting winger Sikiri Dembele. But Jolley has built his own team and so far, has added 11 new players including Alex Whitmore, Wes Thomas, Jake Hessenthaler, Elliott Whitehouse and Jordan Cook. Players Jolley believes will improve the squad this time around. The Mariners must improve this time around and must find goals in this time with the club struggling for large parts of last season and you need a regular goal scorer to have any chance of success. Grimsby fans will expect improvement this season after a poor previous campaign. Jolley will need a good start to the campaign for the fans to believe the club won’t be in for another long, difficult season.
I think Grimsby will be ok and should survive relegation. However, not sure they will improve positionally in the table, but the Grimsby fans will hope there is improvement and entertainment for them this season.
My Predicted Finish: 19th
Like Forest Green, it has been a wonderful couple of years for the Imps of Lincoln. Promotion back to the football league as well as being play-off semi-finalists last season and a check-a-trade trophy to add to the cabinet. Lincoln have been wonderful in the last few seasons and the push for promotion will continue this season. Danny Cowley has done a magnificent job at the club and always wants to improve and compete for everything they can. However, this summer has seen departures of key players like Alex Woodyard, Paul Farman, Elliott Whitehouse, Sean Long and Luke Waterfall. All difficult players to lose but the players and the club move on and Lincoln there is no doubt will be competitive and difficult to beat this season once again. However, Cowley has kept consistent performers Matt Smith, Matt Rhead, Lee Frecklington, Sam Habergham and Bradley Wood. All have been brilliant performers for Cowley and they will be determined to continue Lincoln’s charge for promotion. Cowley has been active in the transfer window and has added 10 new faces including John Akinde, Shay McCartan, Michael O’Connor, Harry Toffolo and Bruno Andrade. Akinde, McCartan and O’Connor join with proven records at this level and will prove to be excellent signings by Cowley. Bruno Andrade joins following a wonderful spell at non-league Boreham Wood with creativity and goals very much apart of his game. Again, he will prove to be a good signing with him determined to showcase his ability in the football league. Lincoln are dreaming of promotion and will no doubt be challenging the top 7 at least if not automatic promotion. The Lincoln fans will believe this is their year and will be confident Cowley and the players can deliver.
I think Lincoln will be one of the teams to watch this season and I really fancy them to be promoted automatically because there is belief, determination and quality spread across the whole football club and I think they will be celebrating in May.
My Predicted Finish: 3rd
It has been a wonderful year for Macclesfield. A return to the football league after 6 years away they have a triumphant return. However, with John Askey departing for League 1 Shrewsbury, Macclesfield head into the football league under new boss Mark Yates who joins after a brilliant spell in charge of the Solihull Moors. Yates joins a club full of excitement, confidence and belief that they can survive comfortably this season. But like many League 2 sides, they have had a transition of players with 11 leaving and 15 new players joining the club. Yates has lost important players like Kieran Kennedy and Mitch Hancox to other clubs, but Yates will believe in the squad he has. Performers from last season like Jared Hodgkiss, Keith Lowe, Koby Arthur, Danny Whitaker and Scott Wilson remain at the club and will be determined to prove they can play and compete in the football league. There is a real excitement at Moss Rose and they will relish their chance back in the football league. As noted earlier, Yates has added new players in the transfer window including Jamie Grimes, Michael Rose, Callum Maycock, Peter Vincenti and Fiacre Kelleher. All join the club hoping to help Macclesfield achieve their ambition this season which of course is survival. Michael Rose joins with plenty of experience and that could be vital for Macclesfield some of the players having very little football league experience. The Macclesfield fans will relish their return to the football league and hope survival is achieved at the end of the season. Survival is the target, and should this be achieved it would represent another wonderful season for the club.
I think Macclesfield will be battling relegation but, I expect them to survive and secure another season in the football league. Macclesfield will be confident that survival will be assured and I expect them to narrowly avoid the drop.
My Predicted Finish: 22nd