Post by autistichatter on Jun 5, 2022 12:51:10 GMT
Next up: Tranmere Rovers who finished 9th with a record of P 46 W 21 D 12 L 13 F 53 A 40, missing the playoffs by 2 points. So that looks like a well organised team built on a stout defence.
Top scorers were Kane Hemmings and Elliott Nevitt both on 8 and then Josh Hawkes on 6.
They have released 6 players including ex-LFC Jay Spearing (3 Gs in 35 apps in 2021/2), Callum MacManaman (3 Gs in 32 apps). Ex Everton D Peter Clarke (4 Gs in 49 apps) has decided to leave in pursuit of more playing time at Walsall. Rovers are in talks with 3 others including D Calum McDonald (1G 36 apps) and M Sam Foley (2 Gs in 42 apps) while M Kieron Morris (5 Gs in 39 apps) has signed a new contract.
Meanwhile Rovers have signed "ball playing" D Ben Hockenhull on a 2 year deal from Brentford and re-signed M Paul Lewis who spent the last year at Northampton Town scoring 7 Gs in 43 apps.
So that looks like manager Micky Mellon has retained the core of his squad and is set fair to challenge for the playoffs again.
Post by autistichatter on Jun 6, 2022 10:45:15 GMT
I'll just tack on two more teams - Salford City and Newport County who finished 10th and 11th - missing the playoffs by 7 and 8 points respectively. Below them there was an eight point gap to 12th place Crawley Town on 61 points; so while it's possible that one of the teams lower down could make the playoff picture in 2022/3 they would have to make a jump of 16 points to make the playoffs.
So: to Salford City - who had a pretty good year - P 46 W 19 D 13 L 14 F 60 A 46 - one of the better defences in L2 last year.
Top scorer was one-time MK Don Brandon Thomas Asante on 11. City had a poor start but improved in the second half - after signing 6ft 6in Striker Matt Smith from Millwall. He started out at New Mills and then went via league spells at Oldham, Leeds, Fulham and QPR to Millwall. He scored 7 goals in 20 apps for Salford last season. They also signed M Ryan Watson from Tranmere. He previously played for Northampton Town, MK Dons and Barnet. He had 3 goals in 15 apps for City since signing in Jan 2022.
In May 2022 Salford sacked Manager Gary Bowyer and appointed former Man U trainee Neil Wood in his stead. The club's retained list included 11 players under contract with a further 4 being offered new contracts and 5 development squad players have been offered terms to stay. A total of 13 players have been released.
There's no lack of ambition at moor lane and who would bet against them?
Post by autistichatter on Jun 6, 2022 11:01:18 GMT
And finally Newport County who finished 11th, 8 points off the playoffs with a record of P 46 W 19 D 12 L 15 F 67 A 58.
Top scorer was Dominic Telford with 25, then Courtney Baker-Richardson on 8 and Finn Azaz on 7.
Newport released four senior pros including Padraig Armond who spent 2021/2 on loan at Exeter, helping them to promotion. The club has 13 under contract and Telford and Baker-Richardson are both under offer although there is interest from other clubs in Telford.
The Exiles have also signed M Sam Bowen from Cardiff City, Bala Town W Will Evans and striker Chanka Zimba, also from Cardiff City, on a season-long loan deal.
Best of luck to them but they seem to my eyes to be a long shot for the playoffs.
Post by autistichatter on Jun 7, 2022 10:24:12 GMT
Zooming out to look at the division as a whole, I fancy County for the playoffs at least.
I reckon the automatic spots will probably fall to either or both of Mansfield and Northampton Town, with the last automatic spot and three of the four playoff spots between County, Sutton, Tranmere, Salford City and A N Other - which could be anyone from Newport to Bradford.
Swindon look to have too many problems with the Director of Football and Manager leaving and so few players under contract.
Of the teams coming down from L1 I think Crewe need a major rebuild and Wimbledon need a fair bit of work too. I could see one of Gillingham or Doncaster figuring in the playoff hunt - but both have question marks. Gillingham have released a lot of players including their top scorers. Gary McSheffrey reckons Donny can play much better and who knows he might be right but if they start poorly that dressing room might get a bit tasty.
A couple of other thoughts: Northampton Town were the only side to concede fewer than 40 goals. Only 8 sides (NT, Vale, Tranmere, Salford, Orient and the the 3 automatic promotion sides) conceded fewer than 50 goals. So 16 teams, fully 2/3rds of the division, conceded 50 or more. So I expect County to be pretty free scoring, especially if Quigley can find his form or we sign another CF.
At the other end of the pitch I reckon we will miss Hogan at his best. So who will take his place at CB? Maybe Keane alongside Palmer and Johnson, keeping the 3 CBs that seems to be County's best formation, and allowing MSH and Rydel to maraud down the flanks.
That bug-bear of always seeming to concede a soft goal when DC arrived seemed to disappear and then reappear toward the end of the season. Hopefully that can/will be ironed out, we don't need to make things hard on ourselves even though I suspect the overall standard of L2 will not be much better than the National League.
I don't expect County to steamroller the whole league but I do expect County to be at the right end of the table and I fancy us to go up in the end one way or the other.
Post by autistichatter on Jun 8, 2022 11:23:05 GMT
So over the last 10 seasons these are the higher-placed of the teams that got relegated and their points total:
2021/2 Oldham 38 2020/1 Southend 45 2019/20 Macclesfield 25 (Morecambe dodged the drop with 32) 2018/9 Notts County 41 2017/8 Barnet 46 2016/7 Hartlepool 46 2015/6 Daggers 34 2014/5 Cheltenham 41 2013/4 Bristol Rovers 50 2012/3 Barnet 51
OK so the last two got a lot of points but I suspect those seasons may have been before the FL started tightening up on club's financials. Danny always said 52 points meant safety and if you want to be ultra-cautious I guess that's still true.
I don't anticipate County struggling to stay up - an odd bad spell as we adjust yes but not a season-long struggle and I fully expect County to be at the better end of the table most of the season. Onwards and Upwards.