Anthony Reeve previews the weekends action ahead of the 2014/15 Sky Bet League 2 season!
THIS weekend sees the first round of games in the 2014/15 Sky Bet League 2 season.
Accrington vs. Southend
Stanley kick-off against last seasons play off semi finalists, Southend United. Both teams had decent seasons in League Two last term with Accrington finishing 15th under former Sheffield United striker James Beattie as their manager. Southend had a much different season, finishing 5th before losing to Burton in the play offs. Southend will be looking to go one better this season after bringing in nine new players including Norwich loanee, Jacob Murphy. Accrington will be looking to consolidate in the league for another season, but could be dreaming of another play off run like two seasons ago.
Wimbledon vs. Shrewsbury
Wimbledon welcome recent relegated Shrewsbury with the Dons aiming to finishing in the top half of the table after finishing 20th in the last campaign. The Dons have brought in eleven new players including Adebayo Akinfenwa. Shrewsbury have had a massive shake up since relegation bringing in 20 players, including former Sunderland and Portsmouth winger Liam Lawrence and letting six go. The Shrews will be hoping for an instant return to League One.
Bury vs. Cheltenham
Bury have recently overcome financial problems and are raring to have a go at getting promoted after a positive finish to the end of last season. David Flitcroft has brought in 13 new players whilst letting eight go. Cheltenham will be looking to have another good season with nothing but the play offs in their sights. They have brought in eight new faces, including former Bury keeper, Trevor Carson.
Cambridge vs. Plymouth
Cambridge are back in the Football League after nine years away and after winning the FA Trophy and gaining promotion via the play-offs, Richard Money will be hoping they can replicate last seasons success. Helping them will be seven new signings but no Luke Berry who left for Barnsley a few weeks ago. Plymouth travel to Cambridgeshire looking towards a play off spot, John Sheridan has added 12 new faces to his team but will be with out captain Connor Hourihane who also left for Barnsley.
Carlisle vs. Luton
Two promotion favourites face each other in the first week. Carlisle who dropped down in April after disappointing season under Graham Kavanagh will be looking for an instant return, adding 14 news faces including former Rangers midfielder, Nacho Novo. Luton gained promotion as champions after 5 years out of the Football League and John Still will be hoping to gain back to back promotions as the Hatters bagged over 100 goals last season. The Hatters have made seven new signings but have lost Andre Grey who bagged the golden boot in the Conference last season to Brentford.
Dag & Red vs. Morecambe
Last season Dagenham reached 9th place in League Two, their highest since promotion a few season back. The daggers have added 12 new players hoping to finish two places higher and compete in the end of season play offs. This could be possible with the signing of veteran, Jaime Cureton. Morecambe will be hoping last season was a one off as the club finished 18th. The Scrimpers will be hoping to finish in the top half and not be worrying about another battle against relegation. Jim Bentley has added seven new players who he hopes will step up and make it a successful season for Morecambe fans.
Exeter vs. Portsmouth
Exeter welcome Portsmouth in the first south coast derby of the season. Exeter finished 16th last season whilst Pompey, now owned by the fans finished 13th. Exeter have brought in only Eliot Richards from recently relegated Bristol Rovers but they will be hoping this season will bring more success than last. Portsmouth have different ambitions and after bringing in eleven new players, Pompey’s main aim will be finishing in the top 7 looking for promotion into League one.
Newport vs. Wycombe
Newport welcome Wycombe, who survived on the last day of season last term in amazing circumstances and both teams will be hoping for better seasons after finishing 14th and 22nd respectively. Newport, who will be entering their second season come Saturday have brought in eight new players whilst the Chairboy’s have brought in nine new players. Both teams will be looking for a fast start come kick off.
Northampton vs. Mansfield
Last season both teams had mixed seasons, Northampton just surviving in the league finishing 21st and Mansfield having a successful season finishing 11th, both teams will be looking to build on that this season. Northampton have had a big change about, bringing in eleven new faces as they seek improvement. Mansfield on the other hand have brought in eight new faces, including Liam Hearn from Grimsby on a free. Both teams look strong to compete for a top half finish.
Oxford vs. Burton
Both these teams will be in around the play offs come May, so this could be a tasty tie to kick things off. Oxford finished 8th last season whilst Burton lost to Fleetwood in the play off final in May. Oxford have added five new faces whilst Burton have added ten new faces. This should be a cracking game for both set of fans with both teams having decent pre seasons.
Stevenage vs. Hartlepool
Stevenage welcome Hartlepool to Hertfordshire for another crunch game on day one. Stevenage had a bad season in League One last season, which saw them relegated by April, whilst Hartlepool started making ground in April and just narrowly avoided relegation. Stevenage will be looking to finish in the top three this season and have added 15 new players including non-league striker, Adam Marriott from Cambridge City who scored over 40 goals last season. Hartlepool have only added two new players but with their squad being rather young, the experience of last season may help them finish in the top half this season.
Tranmere vs. York
Finally, Tranmere, another relegated side from League One welcome Play Off semi finalists, York City in another big game in League Two. Both teams will be looking to be in the Play Offs come the end with York hoping to carry their end of season form into the current. York have added eight new players to their highly talented team whilst Tranmere, who gained some money from the Aaron Creswell transfer from Ipswich to West Ham in the summer have added eleven new players.