Football Season Guide

Bradford City

In


Sam Hornby (Goalkeeper, Port Vale), Adam Henley (Defender, Real Salt Lake), Ben Everton-Richards (Defender, Accrington Stanley), Jackson Longridge (Defender, Dunfermline Athletic), Paudie O’Connor (Defender, Leeds United), Tyler French (Defender, AFC Sudbury), Matty Palmer (Midfielder, Rotherham United, Season-long loan), Zeli Ismail (Midfielder, Walsall), Clayton Donaldson (Attacker, Bolton Wanderers), James Vaughan (Attacker, Wigan Athletic)

Out


Ben Wilson (Goalkeeper, Coventry City), Adam Chicksen (r) (Defender, released), Calum Woods (Defender, Tranmere Rovers), Nathaniel Knight-Percival (r) (Defender, Carlisle United), Paul Caddis (r) (Defender, released), Ryan McGowan (sp) (Defender, Sydney FC), Callum Gunner (Midfielder, released), Cameron Hawkes (Midfielder, released), Jack Payne (k) (Midfielder, Huddersfield Town, Loan ended), Jacob Butterfield (sp) (Midfielder, Derby County, Loan ended), Josh Wright (sp) (Midfielder, Leyton Orient), Lewis O’Brien (r) (Midfielder, Huddersfield Town, Loan ended), Alex Jones (Attacker, Partick Thistle), Billy Clarke (sp) (Attacker, released), David Ball (r) (Attacker, Rotherham United, Loan ended), George Miller (sp) Attacker, Middlesbrough, Loan ended), Tom Clare (Attacker, released)

The last campaign was one to forget for Bradford City, who never looked like recovering from a dreadful start and finished bottom of League One, nine points adrift of safety. They went through three managers, which tends to illustrate the instability at Valley Parade. Gary Bowyer inherited a mess and despite his managerial experience, stood little chance of avoiding the drop. Bowyer has spent the summer rebuilding the squad and it has seen several players leave the club. The departures of a trio of influential loanees in Jacob Butterfield, Jack Payne and David Ball were all expected but centre-back Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s move to Carlisle United was a surprise. The Bantams will be pleased to have retained the services of leading goalscorer Eoin Doyle and defensive midfielder Anthony O’Connor but the side which starts the new season will otherwise look very different to one which finished the last. Sam Hornby will challenge Richard O’Donnell for the number one jersey whilst Paudie O’Connor will feature in the centre of defence after his loan from Leeds United was made permanent. Clayton Donaldson and James Vaughan will provide bundles of experience in attack after signing this summer. Bradford City are a big club in League 2 with average attendances likely to top 15,000 again. Their fans will be expecting an immediate return to League 1.

Target


Automatic promotion. Bowyer will need time to get his new signings to gel but once established there is no reason why they shouldn’t be challenging for the top 3.

Cambridge United

In


Callum Burton (Goalkeeper, Hull City), Dan Jones (Defender, Notts County), Kyle Knoyle (Defender, Swindon Town), Ben Worman (Midfielder, Youth), Luke Hannatt (Midfielder, Port Vale), Sam Bennett (Midfielder, Youth), Harvey Knibbs (Attacker, Aston Villa), Joe Neal (Attacker, Youth)

Out


David Forde (sp) (Goalkeeper, released), Brad Halliday (r) (Defender, Doncaster Rovers), Jake Carroll (r) (Defender, Motherwell), David Amoo (sp) (Midfielder, Port Vale), Emmanuel Osadebe (Midfielder, Macclesfield Town), George Maris (r) (Midfielder, released), Hayden Coulson (sp) (Midfielder, Middlesbrough, Loan ended), Jake Doyle-Hayes (sp) (Midfielder, Aston Villa, Loan ended), Jevani Brown (k) (Midfielder, Colchester United), Lee Watkins (Midfielder, released), Sam Squire (Midfielder, Needham Market), Alex Jones (Attacker, Bradford City, Loan ended), Joe Neal (Attacker, Needham Market, Loan) Matt Foy (Attacker, released), Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (sp) Attacker, Aston Villa, Loan ended)

Cambridge United endured a tough season last time out with head coach Colin Calderwood just about keeping their heads above water. This summer has been even tougher with several influential players leaving the Abbey Stadium for pastures new. Creative midfielder Jevani Brown’s departure for League 2 rivals Colchester United is a real psychological blow. It follows fellow playmaker George Maris, full-back Brad Halliday and winger David Amoo’s decisions to reject new deals. The U’s struggled for goals last season, with their leading goalscorer finishing with just eight goals having left in January and Calderwood now faces a real challenge to replace both the creativity and goals which have been lost during the summer. Whilst midfielder Luke Hannatt brings plenty of potential with him following his arrival from Port Vale; former Aston Villa striker Harvey Knibbs has no Football League experience and represents something of a gamble. Goalkeeper Callum Burton and full-back Kyle Knoyle have also signed but as it stands the squad looks short of the quality which will be needed to be competitive in League 2. August is likely to be a pivotal month for both Calderwood and the U’s as they look to avoid a battle for their Football status.

Target


Survival. Cambridge United currently have a weak squad and they will be fighting to stay in the league this season.

Carlisle United

In


Byron Webster (Defender, Scunthorpe United), Jack Iredale (Defender, Greenock Morton), Christie Elliott (Defender, Partick Thistle), Jon Mellish (Defender, Gateshead), Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Defender, Bradford City), Jack Bridge (Midfielder, Northampton Town), Nathan Thomas (Midfielder, Sheffield United, Season-long loan), Harry McKirdy (Attacker, Aston Villa)

Out


Joe Fryer (Goalkeeper, Middlesbrough, Loan ended), Anthony Gerrard (r0 (Defender, released), Danny Grainger (r) (Defender, retired), Gary Liddle (r) (Defender, Walsall), Gary Miller (sp) (Defender, released), Macaulay Gillesphey (sp) (Defender, Brisbane Roar), Peter Grant (sp) (Defender, Greenock Morton), Tom Parkes (r) (Defender, Exeter City), Arthur Gnahoua (Midfielder, released), Callum O'Hare (r) (Midfielder, Loan ended), George Glendon (Midfielder, released), Jamie Devitt (k) (Midfielder, Blackpool), Jason Kennedy (Midfielder, Hartlepool United), Liam McCarron (sp) (Midfielder, Leeds United), Regan Slater (Midfielder, Sheffield United, Loan ended), Connor Simpson (Attacker, Preston North End, Loan ended), Mark Cullen (sp) (Attacker, Blackpool, Loan ended), Richie Bennett (Attacker, Port Vale)

There have been wholesale changes at Carlisle United this summer as Steven Pressley looks to build his own team. They missed out on a play-off place last season with their inconsistent form proving costly. Pressley was unable to build upon the promising position he inherited following John Sheridan’s shock resignation. He will point to the loss of a number of influential loan players and it has been no different this summer with the loss of creative midfielder Jamie Devitt, who rejected the offer of a new deal to join Blackpool. Devitt will be sorely missed and increases the pressure on Pressley, who has struggled to win over the fans since his arrival in January. Striker Hallam Hope could also be set to leave and follow in the footsteps of winger Liam McCarron, with Leeds United paying an undisclosed fee for the teenager despite having made just four first team starts. Byron Webster and Nathaniel Knight-Percival are set to form a new centre-back partnership and bring plenty of experience with them. There is still plenty of work for Pressley to do in the transfer market although he has been boosted by the return of winger Nathan Thomas, on a season-long loan from Sheffield United.

Target


Play-offs. There is no doubt the Cumbrians should be aiming for the top seven this season. At the time of writing however this looks like a tall order.

Cheltenham Town

In


Charlie Raglan (Defender, Oxford United), Dan Bowry (Defender, Charlton Athletic), Archie Brennan (Midfielder, Youth), Rohan Ince (Midfielder, Brighton & Hove Albion), Reuben Reid (Attacker, Forest Green Rovers), Tahvon Campbell (Defender, Forest Green Rovers)

Out


Cameron Pring (sp) (Defender, Bristol City, Loan ended), Johnny Mullins (Defender, retired), Jordon Forster (sp) (Defender, Dundee), Matthew Bower (Defender, Bath Caty), Jacob Maddox (r) (Midfielder, Chelsea, Loan ended), Jordan Tillson (r) (Midfielder, Exeter City, Loan ended), Kevin Dawson (r) (Midfielder, Forest Green Rovers), Nigel Atangana (r) (Midfielder, Exeter City), Tom Smith (Midfielder, Bath City), Will Dawes (Midfielder, released), Billy Waters (r) Attacker, Northampton Town, Loan ended), Immanuelson Duku (Attacker, Torquay United), Liam McAlinden (Attacker, released), Rakish Bingham (sp) (Attacker, released), Tyrone Barnett (r) (Attacker, released)

There is a new sense of optimism around Whaddon Road this summer after a promising start to Michael Duff’s managerial career. He arrived with plenty of credit in the bank having won the Conference title with the club 20 years ago and provided some much-needed stability as the side slowly climbed away from the wrong end of League 2. Duff inherited a bloated squad and has cut the dead wood over the summer. Like many clubs at this level, they have found the summer transfer market more than a little tricky. He will need to replace the tenacity of Nigel Atangana and creativity of Kevin Dawson, who have both moved on to pastures new. Charlie Raglan’s loan move from Oxford United has been made permanent. It means Duff will have a settled defensive unit in front of goalkeeper Scott Flinders. The former Forest Green Rovers striking duo of Reuben Reid and Tahvon Campbell will have plenty to prove after signing this summer. The Robins will hope to make some crucial signings during August. It might lead to a slow start but having struggled since their return to the Football League, they will be looking to make an impact on the division under Duff.

Target


Top half. Duff will have learned a lot from last season and the Robins will be looking up rather than down this time around.

Colchester United

In


Dean Gerken (Goalkeeper, Ipswich Town), Danny Collinge (Defender, Free agent), Luke Ige (Defender, Aston Villa), Matthew Weaire (Defender, Brighton & Hove Albion), Omar Sowunmi (Defender, Yeovil Town), Jevani Brown (Midfielder, Cambridge United), Kwame Poku (Midfielder, Worthing), Luke Gambin (Midfielder, Luton Town), Michael Fernandes (Midfielder, Farnborough), Paris Cowan-Hall (Midfielder, Wycombe Wanderers)

Out


Dillon Barnes (sp) (Goalkeeper, Queens Park Rangers), Rene Gilmartin (sp) (Goalkeeper, Bristol City), Frankie Kent (r) (Defender, Peterborough United), Noah Chesmain (Defender, Maidstone United), Brennan Dickenson (r) (Midfielder, MK Dons), Abo Eisa (sp) (Midfielder, Shrewsbury Town, Loan ended), Ryan Gondoh (Midfielder, released), Sam Saunders (Midfielder, retired), Sammy Szmodics (k) (Midfielder, Bristol City), Mikael Mandron (sp) (Attacker, Gillingham)

Colchester United suffered a heartbreaking end to last season; having been just three minutes away from sealing a play-off place. A late equaliser from Newport County at Morecambe meant the U’s would miss out again as a season which promised much ended in disappointment. Some will point the finger at head coach John McGreal for failing to find the necessary consistency from his undoubtedly talented side. Another season of underachievement in unlikely to be tolerated despite seeing several influential players move on to pastures new this summer. The blow of losing the likes of centre-back Frankie Kent and midfield playmaker Sammy Szmodics to Peterborough United and Bristol City respectively has been softened by receiving transfer fees approaching £1million. That money has allowed McGreal to be aggressive in the transfer market and pull off something of a coup with the capture of midfield playmaker Jevani Brown from Cambridge United. Experienced goalkeeper Dean Gerken, centre-back Omar Sowunmi and winger Paris Cowan-Hall are also likely to go straight into the starting XI. The return of midfielder Harry Pell from injury is also a boost as the U’s head into the new season looking for a top three finish.

Target


Automatic promotion. It’s time for the U’s deliver after three seasons in League 2 and they certainly have one of the strongest squads in the division.

Crawley Town

In


Michael Luyambula (Goalkeeper, Birmingham City, Season-long loan), George Forrest (Defender, AFC Hornchurch),Jordan Tunnicliffe (Defender, AFC Fylde), Beryly Lubala (Midfielder, Birmingham City), Jack Powell (Midfielder, Maidstone United), Nathan Ferguson (Midfielder, Dulwich Hamlet), Ashley Nadesan (Attacker, Fleetwood Town), Mason Bloomfield (Attacker, Norwich City, Season-long loan)

Out


Yusuf Mersin (Goalkeeper, Dover Athletic), Bondz N’Gala (sp) (Defender, released), Joe Maguire (r) Defender, Fleetwood Town, Loan ended), Luke Gambin (sp) (Midfielder, Luton Town, Loan ended), Matty Willock (r) (Midfielder, Manchester United, Loan ended), Ricardo German (sp) (Attacker, Hemel Hempstead Town, Loan)

Last season was something of a struggle for Crawley Town as head coach Gabrielle Cioffi got to grips with his first role in senior management. Finances are tight at the Broadfield Stadium and Cioffi’s eccentric managerial style wasn’t too dissimilar to that of Ziya Eren’s ownership. Nevertheless they avoided a relegation battle and will head into the new season with an air of unpredictability. The Red Devils have an unorthodox transfer policy; bringing in young players who have yet to prove themselves in the Football League. Centre-back Jordan Tunnicliffe arrives having impressed at AFC Fylde whilst midfielders Jack Powell and Nathan Ferguson spent last season at Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet respectively. Cioffi returned to former club Birmingham City to capture midfielder Beryly Lubala whilst their biggest coup of the summer so far is signing local boy Ashley Nadesan, with the striker having enjoyed an impressive loan spell at Carlisle United last season. The return of Captain Jimmy Smith from a long-term knee injury is a huge boost but last season’s leading goalscorer Ollie Palmer’s future remains in doubt having expressed his unhappiness at the club. Cioffi could still add to a squad that looks to have a good balance of experience and potential and they will be hoping to improve on last season’s showing.

Target


Top-half. Both Cioffi and the players will be looking to build on last season’s work and finish in the top half of the table this time around.

Crewe Alexandra

In


Oliver Lancashire (Defender, Swindon Town), Rio Adebisi (Defender, Youth), Connor Heath (Midfielder, Youth), Daniel Powell (Midfielder, Northampton Town)

Out


Ben Garratt (r) (Goalkeeper, released), Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (sp) (Defender, Motherwell, Loan ended), George Ray (r) Defender, Tranmere Rovers), Michael Raynes (Defender, Hartlepool United), Joe Lynch (Midfielder, released), Alex Nicholls (Attacker, released), Jordan Bowery (r) (Attacker, MK Dons)

Crewe Alexandra endured a frustrating end to last season as their inconsistency saw them miss out on a play-off place. Such a finish looked unlikely until the last couple of months of the season when manager David Artell finally got his young talented side to click but they left themselves with too much to do. Artell will be hoping to use that frustration as motivation this time around and go one better finish in the top seven. He will have to do without a trio of regulars from the last campaign with goalkeeper Ben Garratt, defender George Ray and striker Jordan Bowery rejecting new deals. Ray is likely to be the biggest miss and his replacement, centre-back Oliver Lancashire faces a challenge to fill his boots after signing from Swindon Town. The only other summer arrival so far is winger Dan Powell from Northampton Town but the Railwaymen are blessed with another glut of promising youngsters. Will Jaaskelainen will be challenging for the number one jersey whilst midfielders Callum Ainley, and Oliver Finney and winger Charlie Kirk will be looking to make an impact. Full-backs Perry Ng and Harry Pickering are ones to watch whilst Chris Porter will be hoping to better his tally of 15 goals this time around.

Target


Play-offs. It’s time for Artell and his squad of talented youngsters to find the consistency to challenge for a top seven finish.

Exeter City

In


Jonny Maxted (Goalkeeper, Accrington Stanley), Lewis Ward (Goalkeeper, Reading), Gary Warren (Defender, Yeovil Town), Noah Smerdon (Defender, Gloucester City), Robbie Cundy (Defender, Bristol City, Season-long loan), Tom Parkes (Defender, Exeter City), Nigel Atangana (Midfielder, Cheltenham Town), Alex Fisher (Attacker, Yeovil Town), Nicky Ajose (Attacker, Charlton Athletic)

Out


Christy Pym (r) (Goalkeeper, Peterborough United), Felix Norman (Goalkeeper, released), James Hamon (Goalkeeper, released), Alex Hartridge (Midfielder, Bath City, Loan), Jimmy Oates (sp) (Defender, released), Jordan Dyer (Defender, Tiverton Town, Loan), Luke Croll (sp) (Defender, released), Noah Smerdon (Defender, Tiverton Town, Loan), Troy Brown (sp) Defender, released), Hiram Boateng (k) (Midfielder, MK Dons), Max Smallcombe (Midfielder, released)

It was a frustrating end to last season for Exeter City as they missed out on a play-off place on the final day of the campaign. Matt Taylor was a shrewd appointment as manager following the departure of Paul Tisdale after 12 years at the helm. His knowledge of the club made for a far more comfortable transition than otherwise might have been the case. He has had to deal with the departures of several crucial players, most notably striker and leading goalscorer Jayden Stockley in January, and was arguably decisive as they missed out on a top seven finish. This summer has seen more players leave for pastures new; including goalkeeper Christy Pym and midfield playmaker Hiram Boateng and they leave big boots to fill. Lewis Ward and Jonny Maxted will fight it out for the number one jersey whilst Taylor has yet to replace the creativity lost in Boateng. Alex Fisher and Nicky Ajose will fresher up the attack and add something different to Ryan Bowman, who faced the unenviable task of replacing Stockley but finished last season strongly. A number of talented youngsters will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of midfielder Archie Collins, who became a regular starter in the second half of last season.

Target


Play-offs. If Taylor can fill the gap left by Boateng there’s no reason why the Grecians can’t go on better than last season.

Forest Green Rovers

In


Dominic Bernard (Defender, Birmingham City), Liam Kitching (Defender, Leeds United), Matt Mills (Defender, Pune City), Ebou Adams (Midfielder, Ebbsfleet United), James Morton (Midfielder, Bristol City, Season-Long loan), Kevin Dawson (Midfielder, Cheltenham Town), Aaron Collins (Attacker, Morecambe), Matt Stevens (Attacker, Peterborough United)

Out


James Montgomery (sp) Goalkeeper, AFC Flyde), Lewis Ward (sp) Goalkeeper, Reading, Loan ended), Gavin Gunning (r) Defender, Billericay Town), Haydn Hollis (r) (Defender, released), Lee Collins (sp) Defender, Yeovil Town), Paul Digby (sp) Defender, Stevenage), Scott Laird (Defender, released), Ben Liddle (Midfielder, Middlesbrough, Loan ended), Fabien Robert (Midfielder, released), Jordan Simpson (Midfielder, Bath City), Reece Brown (k) Midfielder, Huddersfield Town), Christian Doidge (r) Atttacker, Hibernian), Isaac Pearce (sp) Attacker, Weston-super-Mare), Reuben Reid (sp) Attacker, Cheltenham Town), Tahvon Campbell (Attacker, Forest Green Rovers)

It has been a hard summer for Forest Green Rovers as they look to match the ambitions of owner Dale Vince. They missed out on promotion last season after losing out to Tranmere Rovers in a two-legged play-off semi-final. Less than a month later they were dealt another blow when plans for a new 5,000-seat wooden eco-stadium were rejected by Stroud District Council. The new season will mark ten years since Vince took over the small club from Nailsworth and he is in a rush to take them into the Championship. Manager Mark Cooper has built a talented squad and has added to it this summer with the captures of defender Liam Kitching from Leeds United and striker Aaron Collins, who impressed in a short spell at Morecambe. Kevin Dawson is a shrewd addition from neighbours Cheltenham Town and brings league experience to add to some impressive youngsters which include centre-back Nathan McGinley, midfielder Dayle Grubb and striker Junior Mondial. The Green Devils have recouped significant transfer fees which will help soften the blow in losing the creativity of midfielder Reece Brown and the goals of striker Christian Doidge. The latter didn’t seem happy to be at the club after returning following an aborted move to Bolton Wanderers.

Target


Automatic promotion. Given the extent of ambition at the New Lawn, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be challenging for the top three.

Grimsby Town

In


Liam Gibson (Defender, Newcastle United, Loan), Elliott Hewitt (Midfielder, Notts County), James Hanson (Attacker, AFC Wimbledon), Matt Green (Attacker, Salford City), Moses Ogbu (Attacker, Al-Ain)

Out


Alex Whitmore (r) Defender, AFC Fylde), Danny Collins (r) Defender, released), Reece Hall-Johnson (r) Defender, Northampton Town), Elliot Embleton (r) Midfielder, Sunderland, Loan ended), Joe Grayson (Midfielder, Blackburn Rovers, Loan ended), Martyn Woolford (sp) Midfielder, released), JJ Hooper (Attacker, Wrexham), Kristian Dennis (sp) Attacker, Notts County, Loan ended), Rumarn Burrell (Attacker, Middlesbrough), Wes Thomas (r) (Attacker, released)

Grimsby Town will be a little disappointed with last season’s showing, despite avoiding the relegation scare of the previous campaign. Having kept them in the Football League, manager Michael Jolley will have hoped for better than a lowly 17th placed finish last time around. He has started to shape his squad for an improved showing but still has plenty of work to do in the transfer market this summer. He has concentrated on adding some firepower with last season’s leading goalscorer Wes Thomas leaving after the pair fell out over his refusal to sign a new deal. James Hanson and Matt Green arrive at Blundell Park with plenty of pedigree and could form a classic big man, little man partnership. The return to fitness of Elliott Whitehouse after a long-term knee injury is a real boost and will soften the blow of losing midfield playmaker Elliott Embleton, whose loan move from Sunderland was ended early through injury. There was a sense of disappointment when promising young striker Rumarn Burrell was sold to Middlesbrough having made just four substitute appearances. The Mariners have one of the best goalkeepers in the division in James McKeown and if Jolley can make some shrewd additions to his squad in August, they can feel optimistic about the new campaign.

Target


Top-half. After three seasons of struggle following their return to the Football League, Jolley will be expected to deliver something better.

Leyton Orient

In


Jayden Sweeney (Defender, Youth), Brendon Shabani (Midfielder, Youth), Josh Wright (Midfielder, Leyton Orient), Conor Wilkinson (Attacker, Dagenham & Redbridge), Lee Angol (Attacker, Shrewsbury Town)

Out


Charlie Grainger (Goalkeeper, Dulwich Hamlet), Alex Lawless (r) Midfielder, Ebbsfleet United), Charlie Lee (r) Midfielder, released), Josh Koroma (k) Attacker, Huddersfield Town), Macauley Bonne (k) Attacker, Charlton Athletic)

Leyton Orient's delight in returning to the Football League soon turned to dismay following the tragic death of manager Justin Edinburgh. The 49-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest and his loss shocked the whole footballing world. He leaves a legacy of revitalizing a club which had fallen into non-league football and the O’s will be hoping to carry on his superb work as they return to League 2. The club have opted for continuity with Ross Embleton appointed interim head coach with Danny Webb and midfielder Jobi McAnuff helping to complete the managerial team. There have been two notable departures this summer with fees received for strikers Josh Koroma and Macauley Bonne, who have joined Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic respectively. Embleton also faces a battle to keep hold of centre-back Dan Happe. Midfielder Josh Wright has returned to Brisbane Road whilst undisclosed fees have been paid for strikers Conor Wilkinson and Lee Angol. They face a challenge to replace the 34 goals lost in Koroma and Bonne. Embleton is likely to stick with most of the squad which were crowned National League Champions and they will be hoping to consolidate their place back in the Football League as they try to recover from the devastating loss of Edinburgh.

Target


Survival. Avoiding a relegation battle and enjoying a comfortable return to League 2 will be the aim.

Macclesfield Town

In


Owen Evans (Goalkeeper, Wigan Athletic, Season-long loan), Eddie Clarke (Defender, Fleetwood Town, Season-long loan), Fiacre Kelleher (Defender, Oxford United), Fraser Horsfall (Defender, Kidderminster Harriers), Theo Vassell (Defender, Port Vale), Emmanuel Osadebe (Midfielder, Cambridge United), Jak McCourt (Midfielder, Swindon Town), Jacob Blyth (Attacker, Barrow AFC), Joe Ironside (Attacker, Kidderminster Harriers)

Out


Kieran O’Hara (r) Goalkeeper, Manchester United, Loan ended), Rhys Taylor (Goalkeeper, released), Callum Evans (sp) Defender, Port Vale), Jamie Grimes (sp) Defender, Ebbsfleet United), Jared Hodgkiss (r) Defender, released), Keith Lowe (sp) Defender, released), Stelios Demetriou (Defender, released), Zak Jules (sp) Defender, Walsall), Callum Maycock (sp) Midfielder, Coventry City, Loan ended), Danny Whitaker (sp) Midfielder, retired), Enoch Andoh (Midfielder, released), Koby Arthur (sp) Midfielder, released), Liandro Martis (Midfielder, released), Reece Cole (r) (Midfielder, Brentford, Loan ended), Ryan Lloyd (sp) Midfielder, Port Vale), Botti Biabi (Attacker, Swansea City, Loan ended), Harry Smith (k) (Attacker, Northampton Town, undisclosed fee), Scott Wilson (r) Attacker, Oldham Athletic), Shamir Mullings (Attacker, released), Tyrone Marsh (sp) Attacker, Boreham Wood)

Macclesfield Town completed a remarkable escape from relegation on the final day of last season. Most of the credit for their survival should go to manager Sol Campbell, who arrived in November with the side in a desperate position on the pitch and in a state of chaos off it. Campbell has shown remarkable loyalty in remaining at the Moss Rose this summer despite continued disarray under majority shareholder Amar Alkadhi. Half-a-dozen fringe players have sued the club for unpaid wages whilst a number of crucial players who guided the club to safety have left for pastures new. They include loanees Kieran O’Hara and Reece Cole and strikers Harry Smith and Scott Wilson, who scored 20 goals between them. Stalwart Danny Whitaker has announced his retirement whilst creative midfielder Elliott Durrell has yet to sign a new deal. The precarious financial situation is illustrated in the one-year deals agreed with new signings. Midfielders Emmanuel Osadebe and Jak McCourt weren’t regulars with their previous clubs whilst strikers Jacob Blyth and Joe Ironside were both playing in non-league football last season. Campbell will be relieved to have re-signed defender Fiacre Kelleher on a permanent deal whilst retaining the services of full-back James Pearson, centre back Nathan Cameron and experienced midfielder Michael Rose.

Target


Survival. Campbell will be hoping to repeat last season’s achievement, but will be fighting against the odds once again.

Mansfield Town

In


Aidan Stone (Goalkeeper, Burnley), Dion Donohue (Midfielder, Portsmouth), Andy Cook (Attacker, Walsall), Jimmy Knowles (Attacker, Youth), Nicky Maynard (Attacker, Bury)

Out


Jordan Smith (sp) Goalkeeper, Nottingham Forest, Loan ended), Ben Turner (sp) Defender, released), David Mirfin (Defender, retired), Gethin Jones (r) Defender, Fleetwood Town, Loan ended), Henri Wilder (Defender, released), Jorge Grant (r) (Midfielder, Nottingham Forest, Loan ended), Will Atkinson (sp) Midfielder, released), Nicky Ajose (sp) Attacker, Charlton Athletic, Loan ended), Zayn Hakeem (Attacker, released)

Owner John Radford made a bold and brave decision to sack manager David Flitcroft and replace him with academy boss John Dempster at the end of last season. Flitcroft paid for his failure to take Mansfield Town up; having missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season before losing out to Newport County on penalties in a two-legged play-off semi-final. Radford has spent big in an attempt to get the Stags out of League 2 but promotion remains elusive. The appointment of Dempster is a departure following in the footsteps of Flitcroft and Steve Evans and might point to a tightening of the purse strings. It might not be quite so clear cut however with Dempster having paid a fee to bring in striker Andy Cook from Walsall whilst striker Nicky Maynard has also joined after a splendid campaign with Bury. The Stags certainly have plenty of firepower with Craig Davies and Danny Rose also in the squad. The only noteworthy departure is that of Nottingham Forest loan midfielder Jorge Grant but even he flattered to deceive in the second half of the campaign. One of the key factors in Dempster’s appointment is to oversee the transition of several promising youngsters into the first team. They will have plenty of experience to help them and it should see the club challenging for promotion once again.

Target


Automatic promotion. Dempster might be a rookie but he knows the club and has inherited a talented squad.

Morecambe

In


Adam Buxton (Defender, Tranmere Rovers), Tom Brewitt (Defender, AFC Fylde), John O’Sullivan (Midfielder, Blackpool), Cole Stockton (Attacker, Tranmere Rovers), Michael Howard (Attacker, Preston North End)

Out


Dawid Szczepaniak (Goalkeeper, released), James Sinclair (sp) Defender, released), Paul McKay (sp) Defender, Cardiff City, Loan ended), Zak Mills (r) (Defender, Oldham Athletic), Andy Fleming (sp) (Midfielder, retired), Ben Hedley (Midfielder, released), Piero Mingoia (r) (Midfielder, Accrington Stanley, Loan), Aaron Collins (r) Attacker, Forest Green Rovers), Adam Campbell, (Attacker, released), Liam Mandeville (r) (Attacker, Doncaster Rovers, Loan ended), Richie Bennett (r) (Attacker, Carlisle United, Loan ended), Sam Dalby (Attacker, Leeds United, Loan ended), Vadaine Oliver (sp) (Attacker, Northampton Town)

Jim Bentley continues his reign as the longest-serving manager in English football as he leads Morecambe into a new season for the ninth time. Last season saw him guide the Shrimps to safety again; this time avoiding a relegation battle to finish comfortably in 18th place. Some much-needed stability off the pitch certainly helped and they will be looking to take a positive second half of the season into the new campaign. Sadly as is usually the case they have been unable to keep hold of some their better players this summer. Bentley will be disappointed striker Aaron Collins didn’t show more loyalty having been given a chance to impress following his release by Wolves by rejecting a new deal to join Forest Green Rovers. Full-back Zak Mills opted for a move to Oldham Athletic whilst loanees Piero Mingoia and Richie Bennett decided against returning. Andy Fleming’s retirement due to injury at just 31 is also another blow. Several players have chosen to sign new deals however, including goalkeeper Mark Halstead, midfielder Aaron Wildig and strikers AJ Leitch-Smith and Kevin Ellison. The capture of midfield playmaker John O’Sullivan looks a shrewd addition. Bentley will need to do some further business in the transfer market but there is cause for optimism at the Globe Arena.

Target


Top half. Bentley is always working against the odds but a top-half finish is a challenging but realistic target for the Shrimps.

Newport County

In


Tom King (Goalkeeper, Millwall), Daniel Leadbitter (Defender, Bristol Rovers), George Nurse (Defender, Bristol City, Season-long loan), Kyle Howkins (Defender, West Bromwich Albion), Lazar Stojsavljevic (Defender, Millwall), Marvel Ekpiteta (Defender, Hungerford Town), Ryan Haynes (Defender, Shrewsbury Town), Lewis Collins (Midfielder, Youth), Corey Whitely (Attacker, Ebbsfleet United), Tristan Abrahams (Attacker, Norwich City)

Out


Joe Day (k) (Goalkeeper, Cardiff City), Dan Butler (r) (Defender, Peterborough United), David Pipe (sp) (Defender, retired), Jay Foulston (Defender, Chippenham Town, Season-long loan), Regan Poole (r) (Defender, Manchester United, Loan ended), Tyler Forbes (Defender, released), Andrew Crofts (Midfielder, Yeovil Town), Tyreeq Bakinson (sp) Midfielder, Bristol City, Loan ended), Will Randall (Midfielder, Sutton United), Harry McKirdy (sp) (Attacker, Aston Villa, Loan ended)

Newport County enjoyed another successful season under manager Michael Flynn, albeit one which ultimately ended in disappointment with defeat in the play-off final at Wembley. Flynn has overachieved from the moment he was handed the job in March 2017 and it is no surprise to see him linked with the managerial vacancy at Swansea City this summer. The Exiles will be delighted he remains at Rodney Parade and they will be hoping he can lead them to promotion this time around. He has suffered a couple of blow with goalkeeper Joe Day and wing-back Dan Butler making moves to clubs in higher divisions. They were both standout performers and will take some replacing. Flynn looks to have made a shrewd acquisition in goalkeeper Tom King from Millwall whilst also making several additions in defence. He will be pleased to have held on to a potent strike force in Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond but will need to them to stay fit as they otherwise look a little short in attack. Flynn has brought stability to the fan-owned club and the financial rewards of the success he has achieved on the pitch has enabled him room to manoeuvre in the transfer market. A couple of additions in August could make all the difference as they look to reach League 1.

Target


Play-offs. Whilst automatic promotion might be beyond them there is no reason why they can’t finish in the top seven again this season.

Northampton Town

In


Steve Arnold (Goalkeeper, Shrewsbury Town), Charlie Goode (Defender, Scunthorpe United), Joe Martin (Defender, Stevenage), Reece Hall-Johnson (Defender, Grimsby Town), Scott Wharton (Defender, Blackburn Rovers, Season-long loan), Alan McCormack (Midfielder, Luton Town), Chris Lines (Midfielder, Bristol Rovers), Matty Warburton (Midfielder, Stockport County), Nicky Adams (Midfielder, Bury), Ryan Watson (Midfielder, MK Dons), Harry Smith (Attacker, Macclesfield Town), Vadaine Oliver (Attacker, Morecambe)

Out


Aaron Pierre (k) (Defender, Shrewsbury Town), Ash Taylor (r) (Defender, Aberdeen), David Buchanan (r) (Defender, Chesterfield), George Cox (sp) (Defender, Brighton & Hove Albion, Loan ended), Shay Facey (sp) (Defender, Walsall), Daniel Powell (r) (Midfielder, Crewe Alexandra), Jack Bridge (sp) (Midfielder, Carlisle United), Joe Powell (sp) (Midfielder, West Ham United), John-Joe O'Toole (r) (Midfielder, Burton Albion), Sam Foley (r) (Midfielder, released), Timi Elsnik (sp) (Midfielder, Derby County, Loan ended), Dean Bowditch (sp) (Attacker, released), Joe Iaciofano (Attacker, St Albans City), Marvin Sordell (sp) (Attacker, Burton Albion, Loan ended)

Northampton Town will be looking to make some progress following two disappointing campaigns. Keith Curle steadied the ship following relegation from League One under Dean Austin. Curle was a pragmatic appointment and much-needed after the gamble on Austin failed to come off. The former England international defender’s managerial style is certainly unorthodox and that has been all-too apparent this summer as he allowed several of last season’s first-team regulars to leave the club. Midfielder John-Joe O’Toole’s departure was no surprise but not offering midfielder Sam Foley will have raised some eyebrows. The biggest disappointment was defender Aaron Pierre’s move to Shrewsbury Town for an undisclosed fee. Whilst Charlie Goode’s loan move has been made permanent, Curle will still need to find a replacement for Pierre. The standout capture is undoubtedly winger Nicky Adams, who returns for his second spell at the Sixfields Stadium after winning promotion at Bury. Striker Harry Smith will have plenty to prove after signing for an undisclosed fee from Macclesfield Town. Midfielder Alan McCormick could be a shrewd addition if he can stay fit. Curle has now had the chance to build his own squad but his unique approach can often be as much a hindrance as a help.

Target


Play-offs. Curle will be expected to have his new-look side challenging for a play-off place and they should go close.

Oldham Athletic

In


Gary Woods (Goalkeeper, Hamilton Academical), Gregor Zabret (Goalkeeper, Swansea City, Season-long loan), Alex Iacovitti (Defender, Nottingham Forest), Zak Mills (Defender, Morecambe), Chris Eagles (Midfielder, Free agent), Désiré Segbé Azankpo (Attacker, FK Senica), Marvin Kokos (Attacker, Gazélec Ajaccio), Scott Wilson (Attacker, Macclesfield Town)

Out


Daniel Iversen (r) (Goalkeeper, Leicester City, Loan ended), Andy Taylor (Defender, released), George Edmundson (r) (Defender, Rangers), Peter Clarke (r) (Defender, released), Rob Hunt (r) (Defender, Swindon Town), Chinedu Uche (Midfielder, released), Dan Gardner (sp) (Midfielder, released), Jay Sheridan (Midfielder, released), Jose Baxter (r) (Midfielder, Plymouth Argyle), Callum Lang (r) Attacker, Wigan Athletic, Loan ended), Dapo Afolayan (sp) (Attacker, West Ham United, Loan ended), Zak Dearnley (sp) (Attacker, Manchester United, Loan ended)

Oldham Athletic remains a club in turmoil as Abdallah Lemsagam’s chaotic ownership continues unabated. The success story of last season was undoubtedly Pete Wild, whose two separate spells as caretaker boss saw Premier League Fulham beaten in the F.A. Cup and an unlikely late challenge for a play-off place. Ultimately they left themselves with too much to do and Wild followed in the footsteps of predecessor Paul Scholes in stepping down from his role and leaving the club at the end of the season. Lemsagam has appointed Laurent Banide as head coach this summer. The Frenchmen has no experience of English football and has spent the last decade managing in the Middle East. Allegations of Lemsagam’s meddling in team selection continue and several first-team regulars have been allowed to leave, including Captain Peter Clarke and midfielder Jose Baxter. Defender George Edmundson’s move to Rangers has seen the Latics recoup a fee around half a million. They have lost the goals of loan strikers Callum Lang and Sam Surridge, who were the only players to get into double figures and have returned to their parent clubs. Banide has made some new additions; including two goalkeepers but still has work to do in the transfer market before it shuts at the start of September.

Target


Survival. Rookie Banide will have to learn quickly to get to grips with League 2 and a struggle appears to be on the cards.

Plymouth Argyle

In


Alex Palmer (Goalkeeper, West Bromwich Albion, Season-long loan), Callum McFadzean (Defender, Bury), Joe Edwards (Defender, Walsall), Will Aimson (Defender, Bury), Adam Randell (Midfielder, Youth), Byron Moore (Midfielder, Bury), Danny Mayor (Midfielder, Bury), Tom Purrington (Midfielder, Youth), Alex Fletcher (Attacker, Youth), Dominic Telford (Attacker, Bury), Klaidi Lolos (Attacker, Youth)

Out


Kyle Letheren (sp) (Goalkeeper, Salford City), Matt Macey (sp) (Goalkeeper, Arsenal, Loan ended), Harry Hodges (Defender, released), Jordan Bentley (Defender, released), Lloyd Jones (Defender, Luton Town, Loan ended), Oscar Threlkeld (sp) (Defender, Waasland-Beveren, Loan ended), Ryan Edwards (r) Defender, Blackpool), Ryan Law (Defender, Truro City, Loan), David Fox (r) Midfielder, released), Graham Carey (k) (Midfielder, CSKA Sofia), Jamie Ness (sp) (Midfielder, Dundee), Lionel Ainsworth (Midfielder, released), Paul Anderson (Midfielder, released), Ruben Lameiras (k) (Midfielder, FC Famalicao), Yann Songo'o (r) (Midfielder, Scunthorpe United), Alex Battle (Attacker, released), Dan Rooney (Attacker, released), Freddie Ladapo (k) (Attacker, Rotherham United)

It was a desperate end to the season for Plymouth Argyle, whose second-half slump saw them relegated from League One on the final day of the season. They were just three minutes away from safety but a winner from Southend United at home to Sunderland saw them slip through the trap door on goal difference. The penultimate weekend had seen them thrashed at Accrington Stanley and led to the acrimonious departure of Derek Adams. It was a sad end to an otherwise successful four-year reign at Home Park. Ryan Lowe escaped the chaos at imploding Bury to take over as manager this summer but has had to deal with the departure of several influential players. The biggest loss is undoubtedly midfielder playmaker Graham Carey, who opted for a move to CSKA Sofia. Defender Ryan Edwards headed for Blackpool whilst Portugese midfielder Ruben Lameiras returned home to FC Famalicao. Striker and leading goalscorer Freddie Ladapo signed for Rotherham United for an undisclosed fee. Lowe will be able to use some of that money to rebuild the squad and it is perhaps no surprise he has returned to former club Bury for their standout performer Danny Mayor, beating off Ipswich Town for his signature. Another four former Shakers have made the move down to Devon as Lowe faces a busy August in the transfer market.

Target


Play-offs. Automatic promotion seems a little unrealistic given the wholesale changes this summer but Lowe should have them fighting for a top-seven finish.

Port Vale

In


Adam Crookes (Defender, Nottingham Forest), Callum Evans (Defender, Macclesfield Town), Kieran Kennedy (Defender, Wrexham), Ryan Campbell-Gordon (Defender, Youth), David Amoo (Midfielder, Cambridge United), Joe Berks (Midfielder, youth), Rhys Browne (Midfielder, Yeovil Town), Ryan Lloyd (Midfielder, Macclesfield Town), Scott Burgess (Midfielder, Bury), Lucas Green-Birch (Attacker, youth), Mark Cullen (Attacker, Blackpool), Richie Bennett (Attacker, Carlisle United)

Out


Sam Hornby (Goalkeeper, Bradford City), Kyle Howkins (Defender, West Bromwich Albion, Loan ended), Mitchell Clark (r) Defender, Aston Villa, Loan ended), Theo Vassell (sp) Defender, Macclesfield Town), Antony Kay (sp) (Midfielder, released), Harry Benns (Midfielder, released), Luke Hannant (r) (Midfielder, Cambridge United), Michael Tonge (Midfielder, released), Mike Calveley (Midfielder, released), Toby Edser (Midfielder, Nottingham Forest, Loan ended), Danny Elliott (Attacker, released), Dan Turner (Attacker, released), Dior Angus (Attacker, Barrow AFC), Mark Harris (Attacker, Cardiff City, Loan ended), Ricky Miller (sp) (Attacker, released)

There is a renewed sense of optimism at Vale Park following the takeover of Carol and Kevin Shanahan in May. Their purchase from the despised Norman Smurthwaite has seen a huge take-up in season tickets as fans return to Vale Park with hopes of better times around the corner. They have endured three years of struggle, including successive seasons flirting with relegation from the Football League. John Askey inherited the task of keeping the Valiants heads above water in February and they finished eight points clear of the drop zone. It was enough for the new owners to offer him a new deal this summer and he has been busy strengthening his squad in the summer. Strikers Mark Cullen and Richie Bennett have arrived to take some of the pressure off talisman Tom Pope whilst winger David Amoo will be hoping to find some more consistency after joining from Cambridge United. Another positive move has seen full-back Adam Crookes loan from Nottingham Forest made permanent. The only real loss is that of midfielder Luke Hannatt, who opted for a switch to Cambridge United. Striker Ricky Miller’s departure after a troubled year comes as little surprise. Askey will be hoping to use the forthcoming season to build his own side and try and recreate the unlikely success he had at Macclesfield Town.

Target


Top half. The club needs some much-needed stability and a season of consolidation.

Salford City

In


Kyle Letheren (Goalkeeper, Plymouth Argyle), Dan Jones (Defender, Barrow AFC), Oscar Threlkeld (Defender, Waasland-Beveren), Joey Jones (Midfielder, Eastleigh), Martin Smith (Midfielder, Swindon Town), Richie Towell (Midfielder, Brighton & Hove Albion)

Out


James Jones (Defender, Chester, Season-Long Loan), Josh Askew (Defender, Curzon Ashton, Season-Long loan), Tyler Hornby-Forbes (Defender, Newport County, Loan ended), Augustin Mafuta (sp) (Midfielder, Hartlepool United), Devonte Redmond (sp) (Midfielder, Wrexham), Anthony Dudley (Attacker, Chester), Matt Green (sp) (Attacker, Grimsby Town)

Salford City’s stellar rise up the English pyramid shows no signs of stopping as they taste league football for the first time in their history. Whether you’re seduced by the romanticism of the Ammies story rather depends on your perspective and the financial muscle provided by Manchester United’s Class of ’92 proved too much for their National League rivals, albeit with promotion sealed by beating AFC Flyde in a play-off final at Wembley. It was personal triumph for manager Graham Alexander, who took the step down into Football League in the hope of climbing straight back up. The association with some the Red Devils stars makes the club darlings of the media and the spotlight will be on them as they take their first steps in the league. Alexander has added to his squad with defender Oscar Threlkeld and midfielder Richie Towell the stand-out signings; both of whom could have found clubs in League One. Striker Matt Green’s move to Grimsby Town was something of a surprise but otherwise Alexander has largely stuck with the same squad which won promotion. The squad is packed with players who have Football League experience, including the likes of striker and leading goalscorer Adam Rooney. They will head into the new season undaunted as they target a fifth promotion in six years.

Target


Play-offs. There is no shortage of ambition at Moor Lane and they certainly have momentum with them.

Scunthorpe United

In


Jake Eastwood (Goalkeeper, Sheffield United, Season-long loan), Andy Butler (Defender, Doncaster Rovers), Kgosi Nlthe (Defender, Rochdale), Alex Gilliead (Midfielder, Shrewsbury Town), Regan Slater (Midfielder, Sheffield United, Season-long loan), Yann Songo’o (Midfielder, Plymouth Argyle)

Out


Jak Alnwick (r) (Goalkeeper, Rangers, Loan ended), Jonathan Flatt (Goalkeeper, released), Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (r) (Defender, Manchester United, Loan ended), Charlie Goode (sp) (Defender, Northampton Town), Tom Pearce (sp) (Defender, Leeds United, Loan ended), Tony McMahon (sp) (Defender, Oxford United, Loan ended), Byron Webster (sp) (Midfielder, released), Funso Ojo (r) (Midfielder, Aberdeen), Josh Morris (sp) (Midfielder, Fleetwood Town), George Thomas (r) (Attacker, Leicester City, Loan ended)

Scunthorpe United suffered a dreadful second-half to last season which resulted in relegation from League One. Owner Peter Swann has to take much of the responsibility with a trigger-happy approach to managers which saw him sack both Nicky Daws and Stuart McCall whilst appointing Andy Dawson as caretaker on two occasions. The lack of continuity ultimately proved costly with the side winning just one of its final 14 games to fall through the trap door. Swann will be hoping to have made the right appointment this summer with Paul Hurst handed the poisoned chalice having endured a nightmare reign at Ipswich Town. Hurst has started to rebuild the squad with several loanees having left at the end of last season. He won’t have wanted to lose midfielders Funso Ojo and Josh Morris, who opted for moves to pastures new but will be pleased to have kept hold of the likes of midfielder Adam Hammill and strikers Kevin van Veen and Lee Novak, who ought to stand-out in League 2. The capture of experienced defender Andy Butler from Doncaster Rovers looks a shrewd one but Hurst still has work to do in the transfer market if he is to have the Iron pushing for an immediate return to League 1 this season.

Target


Play-offs. Hurst needs to bring some stability to Glanford Park but will be expected to have his side pushing for a top-seven finish.

Stevenage

In


Jamie Fielding (Defender, Hastings United), Chris Stokes (Defender, Bury), Paul Digby (Defender, Forest Green Rovers), Tyler Denton (Defender, Leeds United), Charlie Carter (Midfielder, Chesterfield), Dean Parrett (Midfielder, Gillingham), Jason Cowley (Attacker, Bromsgrove Sporting)

Out


Oliver Byrne (Goalkeeper, released), Will Appleyard (Goalkeeper, FC Halifax Town), Joe Martin (sp) (Defender, Northampton Town), Johnny Hunt (sp) (Defender, Hamilton Academical), Luke Wilkinson (sp) (Defender, Yeovil Town), Ronnie Henry (sp) (Defender, Billericay Town), Donovan Makoma (Midfielder, released), Ilias Chair (k) (Midfielder, Queen’s Park Rangers, Loan ended), Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Midfielder, released), James Ball (sp) (Midfielder, Ebbsfleet United), Mark McKee (Midfielder, released), Michael Timlin (r) (Midfielder, released), Moses Makasi (sp) (Midfielder, West Ham United, Loan ended), Alex Revell (r) (Attacker, retired), Joe White (Attacker, Biggleswade Town, Loan)

Last season was one of consolidation for Stevenage in Dino Maamria’s first year as manager. They briefly flirted with the play-offs towards the end of the campaign; due largely to the influence of Queens Park Rangers loan midfielder Ilias Chair, whose performances were heads and shoulders above most players in League 2. He couldn’t do it all himself however and Boro’ missed out on a play-off place by a single point. Owner Phil Wallace has cut a frustrated figure in recent years with the club seemingly treading water in League 2. He has offered up shares in an attempt to grow the club and return to League 1. Midfielder Michael Timlin’s release this summer was something of a surprise having been a regular last season whilst they will miss the presence of striker Alex Revell, who has announced his retirement. The mercurial talent of Chair will be almost impossible to replace and Dean Parrett faces that unenviable task having returned from AFC Wimbledon. Maamria will be hoping to get the best out of striker Danny Newton, whose season was hampered by injury. Luther James-Wildin had an outstanding first season at right wing-back and has been attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal. The Tunisian has returned to non-league football for the capture of prolific striker Jason Cowley from Bromsgrove Sporting and will be hoping to following in the footsteps of Newton and Matt Godden.

Target


Play-offs. Having gone so close last time out, Maamria will be expected to deliver a top-seven finish this time around.

Swindon Town

In


Archie Matthews (Goalkeeper, Youth), Rob Hunt (Defender, Oldham Athletic), Mathieu Baudry (Defender, MK Dons), Tyler Reid (Defender, Swansea City), Zeki Fryers (Defender, Barnsley), Daniel Ballard (Defender, Arsenal, Season-long loan), Luke Haines (Defender, Youth), Adam May (Midfielder, Portsmouth, Season-long loan), Jacob Bancroft (Midfielder, Youth), Jordan Lyden (Midfielder, Aston Villa), Ralph Graham (Midfielder, Youth), Jerry Yates (Attacker, Rotherham United, Season-long loan)

Out


Lawrence Vigouroux (sp) (Goalkeeper, released), Ali Koiki (r) (Defender, Burnley, Loan ended), Chris Robertson (Defender, released), Kyle Knoyle (r) (Defender, Cambridge United), Luke Woolfenden (r) (Defender, Ipswich Town, Loan ended), Oliver Lancashire (r) (Defender, Crewe Alexandra), Canice Carroll (sp) (Midfielder, Brentford, Loan ended), Jacob Bancroft (Midfielder, Salisbury, Loan), Jak McCourt (sp) (Midfielder, Macclesfield Town), James Dunne (sp) (Midfielder, released), Jordan Edwards (Midfielder, released), Jordan Young (Midfielder, released), Kyle Bennett (r) (Midfielder, Bristol Rovers, Loan ended), Martin Smith (Midfielder, Salford City), Matty Taylor (r) (Midfielder, retired), Ben House (Attacker, Reading, Loan ended), Marc Richards (sp) (Attacker, released), Sol Pryce (Attacker, released), Theo Robinson (r) (Attacker, Southend United, Loan ended)

It was another tale of mediocrity for Swindon Town as they spent last season treading water in League 2. The last four years have been a struggle for the Wiltshire club with Richie Wellens facing the unenviable task of turning the Robins fortunes around. He was blighted by the same inconsistency as his predecessors and will hoping to make significant changes to the culture at the County Ground this summer. Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux appeared to be a disruptive influence and has been allowed to leave. He is one of a whole host of departures as Wellens clears out the dead wood in an attempt to build a side capable of making a concerted challenge for the play-offs this time around. A positive first step has been the capture of striker Jerry Yates on a season-long loan from Rotherham United. A glut of youngsters have also signed deals to add to an under-achieving squad and Wellens will be hoping to finally get the best out of strikers Kaiyne Woolery and Keshi Anderson. Midfield playmaker Michael Doughty outscored all of the strikers last season whilst also providing the creativity and retaining his services for another three years is a crucial part of the jigsaw for Wellens.

Target


Play-offs. Swindon Town are one of the bigger clubs in the division and should be in the fight for a top-seven finish.

Walsall

In


Jack Rose (Goalkeeper, Southampton, Season-long loan), Cameron Pring (Defender, Bristol City, Season-long loan), Gary Liddle (Defender, Carlisle United), James Clarke (Defender, Bristol Rovers), Mat Sadler (Defender, Shrewsbury Town), Shay Facey (Defender, Northampton Town), Zak Jules (Defender, Walsall) , Danny Guthrie (Midfielder, Free agent), Jack Kiersey (Midfielder, Everton), James Hardy (Midfielder, AFC Fylde), Rory Holden (Midfielder, Bristol City, Season-long loan), Stuart Sinclair (Midfielder, Bristol Rovers), Wes McDonald (Midfielder, Free agent), Elijah Adebayo (Attacker, Fulham)

Out


Chris Dunn (Goalkeeper, released), Connor Johnson (Defender, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Loan ended), Jack Fitzwater (sp) (Defender, West Bromwich Albion, Loan ended), Joe Edwards (r) (Defender, Plymouth Argyle), Jon Guthrie (r) (Defender, released), Luke Leahy (r) (Defender, Bristol Rovers), Nicky Devlin (r) (Defender, Livingston), Scott Laird (Defender, Forest Green Rovers, Loan ended), Corey Blackett-Taylor (Midfielder, Aston Villa, Loan ended), George Dobson (k) (Midfielder, Sunderland), Isaiah Osbourne (r) (Midfielder, released), Jordon Sangha (Midfielder, released), Kieron Morris (sp) (Midfielder, released), Matt Jarvis (sp) (Midfielder, Norwich City, Loan ended), Omar Mussa (Midfielder, released), Tobias Hayles-Docherty (Midfielder, released), Zeli Ismail (r) (Midfielder, Bradford City), Andy Cook (r) (Attacker, Mansfield Town), Aramide Oteh (sp) (Attacker, Queens Park Rangers, Loan ended), Cameron Peters (Attacker, released), Dylan Parker (Attacker, Leamington)

Walsall spent the last decade fighting against the odds in League 1 but finally succumbed to relegation following a dreadful second-half to last season. 12 defeats in 16 league matches following the turn of the year saw manager Dean Keates lose his job and the five remaining games weren’t enough for caretaker Martin O’Connor to save them from the drop. The club acted swiftly this summer to appoint Darrell Clarke and he certainly has the pedigree following a successful spell at Bristol Rovers. Clarke faces a huge rebuilding job this summer with several influential players leaving the club. Defender Joe Edwards has headed to Plymouth Argyle whilst striker Andy Cook has signed for Mansfield Town after a disappointing year at the Bescot Stadium. The loss of midfield playmaker George Dobson to Sunderland is a real blow whilst striker Morgan Ferrier is expected to follow, having already seen a bid rejected for his services. It could see the Saddlers start the new season without a single player who started their final game of last season. Clarke will be busy in the transfer market until it closes at the start of September. He has brought in tried and tested players in defenders James Clarke and Mat Sadler and midfielders Danny Guthrie and Stuart Sinclair. They will need to find some firepower if they are to avoid a struggle this season.

Target


Top-half. Clarke’s first task is to bring some stability to the club and if he can do that they should have a comfortable season.