Paynes Pre-Season Prediction

By Luke Payne, Feature Writer.

Luke has cast his all-seeing eyes over the sides in League Two. If he gets any off these right he’ll be the smuggiest smugster in Smugsville. But what do you think of his predictions?

1. Notts County (C) – They’ve recruited extremely well, and have kept most of their key assets from their promotion season. This makes them a force to be reckoned with.

2. Stockport (P) – They got so close last season and have added more quality to their squad since. There’s a good chance they’ll kick on with another promotion push.

3. MK Dons (P) – Forever the optimist, this is on the assumption that the required striker and wingback signings come in and that the defence doesn’t suffer as many injuries as last season.

4. Gillingham – Improved finances play a part here and they’ve recruited well, particularly in defence. They’ll be a tough team to beat.

5. Wrexham (POW) – They haven’t signed many players but they have a settled side of top quality players, they will expect to be there or thereabouts.

6. Bradford – Bolstered their midfield massively but there are still a few question marks around their side. Should still have the quality to compete.

7. Walsall – The dark horses of the league who have quietly recruited really well. They’ll be stronger than most are expecting.

8. Salford – Regulars at the right end of this league and can be expected to challenge again having added more proven players to their squad.

9. Grimsby – Another team that are quietly going about their business. They’ve got a fairly settled squad and could surprise a few this season.

10. Doncaster – Have recruited well but have made wholesale changes so it could take them a while to get going.

11. Mansfield – An ageing squad that do still have some quality. They’ll still be amongst the action at the top end of the league but with so many teams looking competitive this season, they could fall short.

12. Swindon – A team short on cash but they do have a couple of standout players. They might be able to compete at the top end of the table but they may be too reliant on the form of a few individuals.

13. Barrow – A popular shout for dark horses but they have lost a couple of key attacking players so there’s no guarantee they can kick on from last season.

14. Tranmere – They haven’t really recruited as well as the other teams looking to compete for play-offs so they may be left behind. Could be a quiet season for them.

15. Forest Green – They have a massive rebuild job on their hands but they should have enough to keep themselves away from the relegation battle.

16. AFC Wimbledon – They were in free fall last season but have recruited just enough to stay out of trouble this time around.

17. Crewe – They’re running short on the top quality academy players that have built their side for many seasons now. A quiet season would likely suit them.

18. Morecambe – A massive rebuild with a lot of unproven players. They’ll be an inconsistent side and could easily be threatened by relegation if the team doesn’t settle.

19. Colchester – Another team that would be content to have a quiet season in mid-table. They might not get that luxury but they should have enough to survive.

20. Harrogate – They’ve lost some key players but otherwise have a settled side and should be able to stay afloat.

21. Accrington – A team that’s struggled to keep their players and have struggled to recruit as well. There’s not many reasons to be optimistic about this squad and they could easily face the drop again.

22. Sutton – They’ve lost a lot of important players and have replaced them with non-league talent. Such wholesale changes can cause problems even if the players are of the right standard. However there are two bigger rebuilds that could see them survive.

23. Newport – Having lost their entire defence, this side looks like they’re in for a tough season. They might have a few results in them but it’s hard to see this team finding any consistency.

24. Crawley – They’ve sold most of their better players to divisional rivals and are struggling to replace them. As things stand it would take a miracle to keep them out of relegation battle.

Golden Boot: David McGoldrick (Notts County)
Golden Glove: Glenn Morris (Gillingham)

Team of the Season:
GK – Glenn Morris (Gillingham)
RB – Cameron Norman (MK Dons)
CB – Conor Masterson (Gillingham)
CB – Kyle Cameron (Notts County)
LB – Luke Garbutt (Salford)
CM – Alex Gilbey (MK Dons)
CM – Will Collar (Stockport)
CM – Alex Pattison (Bradford)
RW – Paul Mullin (Wrexham)
ST – David McGoldrick (Notts County)
LW – Macauley Langstaff (Notts County)

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