Sunday, 26 August 2018

League 2 Discussion 4: Mansfield, MK Dons, Morecambe, Newport

If you are looking for an ambitious club in the fourth tier then Mansfield is you’re the bet. The Derbyshire based club have lofty ambitions of promotion and even title success. The Stags looked set for promotion last season but the departure of Steve Evans to Peterborough and a slow start for David Flitcroft ultimately cost Mansfield promotion and a place in the top 7. However, David Flitcroft will be confident he can deliver this season having already gone up with Bury in the past. David Flitcroft has largely kept the core of the squad Steve Evans assembled with the likes of Danny Rose, Paul Anderson, Hayden White and Conrad Logan all hoping to play an important part this season after a disappointing campaign overall last season. But Flitcroft has added quality to his squad with the likes of Craig Davies, Otis Khan, Tyler Walker and Neal Bishop all joining this summer. Khan in particular is an excellent signing having been a brilliant creative force in a struggling Yeovil team and he will thrive at Mansfield if given the license. While, experienced striker Craig Davies does score goals and Flitcroft will be confident he can lift the burden of Danny Rose. The Mansfield fans will fancy their sides chances this season and promotion is certainly their target this season and everyone associated with the club would expect at least a play-off place come the end of the season and the pressure will be on this season to deliver promotion.
I think Mansfield will be challenging for promotion this season. Flitcroft has assembled a very strong team at this level and he will be confident of challenging for automatic promotion. However, I feel that Mansfield will secure a play-off spot but miss out on automatic promotion.

My Predicted Finish: 4th

MK Dons
It has been a miserable few seasons for the MK Dons since their relegation from the Championship. The club struggled to push for back to the second tier and ultimately ended up being relegated to the fourth tier. However, with a drop-in league always brings high expectations and optimism amongst the fans and they will no doubt expect promotion at the first attempt. The Dons also head into the new season under a new manager in Paul Tisdale who joins after a brilliant 12-year spell in charge of league rivals Exeter. Tisdale comes with a track record of promotions and the Dons will be quietly confident they can mount a strong charge if not title charge this season. Despite relegation, many of the players are still at the club and could be very good players at this level and these include Chuks Aneke, Kieran Agard, Joe Walsh and Alex Gilbey. Tisdale will be confident of getting the best out of those players this season but as many new managers do, Tisdale has brought in new faces including a few from former club Exeter. Tisdale has added the likes of Jordan Moore-Taylor, Ryan Harley, Mathieu Baudry, Ryan Watson, Lawson D’Ath and Robbie Simpson. Tisdale has added proven League 2 players who are desperate for success and confident they can bring the good days back to MK Dons. The club expects promotion and the fans will no doubt want that delivered this season and Tisdale will be quietly confident he side can deliver this season.
I think the MK Dons have the strongest squad in the league and with an excellent, accomplished manager in Paul Tisdale I fancy them to be promoted and go up as champions.

My Predicted Finish: 1st

It has been a difficult few seasons for Jim Bentley and his Morecambe troops. The club has battled financial issues and frequent takeovers has left the club frequently in limbo. Results on the pitch haven’t been much better and the Morecambe fans deserve better. The club escaped relegation on goal difference last season and the club is once again expected to be battling relegation. Jim Bentley now the longest serving football league manager is desperate for improvement both on and off the pitch. Morecambe have a very experienced squad with the likes of Barry Roche, Steven Old, Garry Thompson and Kevin Ellison. All still are crucial players in Bentley’s side and he has added new signings in this window and he will be hoping they make the desired impact. The likes of AJ Leitch-Smith, Rhys Oates, Andrew Tutte, Jordan Cranston and Liam Mandeville have all joined aiming to improve Morecambe’s season and please their frustrated but loyal fanbase. Survival and improvement would represent an excellent season for the club. The fans will to enjoy watching their team and Bentley must bring back the enjoyment for the fans = because they deserve it.
I think Morecambe are going to struggle and it is going to be a very long season for the club and survival would represent a brilliant season. However, I think relegation beckons for the Shrimpers.

My Predicted Finish: 24th

Newport County
It was a comfortable season last time out for Newport having dramatically escaped relegation the season before. Fan favourite Micky Flynn has done a wonderful job at his football club, but the club is struggling on hard times with finances not as strong meaning Flynn can’t get all the players he wants to make Newport competitive. Despite this, Flynn will be happy with his squad and has managed to add new faces as well, but the loss of top scorer Frank Nouble and captain Joss Labadie is a big blow for Flynn and it will be difficult to replace them in the side. However, Flynn still has the likes of Joe Day, Mickey Demetriou, Robbie Willmott, Matt Dolan and David Pipe at the club and Flynn has complete faith in them. Flynn has added to his squad this summer bringing in 10 new faces which includes Andrew Crofts, Fraser Franks, Jamille Matt, Nick Townsend and Keanu Marsh-Brown. All are decent players at this level and Flynn will be confident Jamille Matt can have the same impact as Frank Nouble and fire Newport to mid-table which would represent a good season for the club. The Newport fans will hoping their team can challenge for a top-half finish season. Flynn will be aiming high and will want more than mid-table but a finish there would be an excellent season for the club.
I think Newport are not as strong as last season and I feel they will be struggling at the bottom of the table and battling relegation as I feel goals are missing and they are going to need to rely on a strong defence to get results this season. I think it could be a long season for Newport.

My Predicted Finish: 23rd

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