The League Two season is now just over two weeks away and clubs will be desperate to welcome back fans to the terraces. Finally, after 18 months of turmoil, a sense of normality has returned and their finances will hopefully stabilise as the season progresses. There is a whole season of club football to look ahead too, and here is where we think the value lies in League Two.
Gary Neville’s Salford City side are the biggest spenders at this level but as they have found out over the last few years, that doesn’t always guarantee success. Gary Bowyer is a top level manager at this level and so their 6/1 price to win the league seems fair, but it always feels like the manager at the Peninsula Stadium is only a month or so away from the sack.
Bristol Rovers are second favourites but I still don’t back Joey Barton to lead them to promotion after a dismal spell last term that ended in relegation. Mansfield Town also have been big spenders without success but under Nigel Clough, who has recorded a 41% win percentage, this could well be the season they go up. 12/1 for them to win the league may be a step too far, but 3/1 for promotion seems worth backing, especially given the top three gain automatic promotion.
I also fancy the chances of Bradford City. Derek Adams got Morecambe up last season with a much weaker squad, and the fact that he has dropped back down in League Two is a huge sign of intent from the Bantams. Yann Songo’o has joined him from Morecambe, while Lee Angol comes in from Leyton Orient to add to a squad that looks like it could peak at the right time. They are my pick at 12/1.
Top Seven Finish
The teams above should all be in contention to make the play-offs as a minimum but the value isn’t truly there for them. Forest Green Rovers and former England under 16 manager Rob Edwards intrigue me this term, and if he gets things right they could finish in the top three so 11/8 for a top seven finish could be smart for an accumulator.
Further down the list, I am bullish on Carlisle United, having signed Zach Clough from Wigan Athletic and with Chris Beech at the helm, I fancy their chances. They may not trouble the top five, but at 2/1 they represent a decent shout to make it into the top seven in a league that looks as open as ever.
My pick however, at what looks like a brilliant price of 9/4 to finish into the top seven, is Walsall. Matthew Taylor, not to be confused with Exeter City manager Matt Taylor, is incredibly inexperienced but looks to be building a solid squad. With 12 new arrivals, they look solid across the board, but this could go one of two ways. I’m backing Taylor to be a roaring success at the Bescot.