League Two Preview: Gameweek 1

Paul Tisdale

Paul Tisdale

Here are this blog’s predictions for the opening round of games in League Two. Exeter City face Yeovil Town in an intriguing West Country derby, and at the opposite end of the country, Hartlepool will hope to build on last season’s great escape when they face Morecambe. Keith Curle returns to Mansfield as Carlisle United manager, with both clubs having finished just outside the relegation zone last season.

Exeter v Yeovil

Exeter City have to be considered favourites here. The Grecians have made some good signings this summer, as new goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik should give the team a bit of leadership at the back, which they may need to improve their poor defensive record of last season. Added to that, they have had a turnover of just 10 players, whereas fellow West Country side Yeovil have had a turnover of 32. The Glovers approach this season having just suffered back-to-back relegations, and it may take new manager Paul Sturrock some time to rebuild a sense of confidence and belief around the club. Paul Tisdale’s men are in a stronger position to hit the ground running.

Hartlepool v Morecambe

Many League Two pundits predict that Hartlepool will start well this season, yet the momentum they built up by making the great escape last term may have been disrupted by the arrival of 10 new players. A team in a better position to start well are Morecambe, who won 4 of their final 6 games last season, and have done good early transfer business this summer. Although the loss of top scorer Jack Redshaw was not ideal, new boys Peter Murphy, Aaron Wildig and Tom Barkuizen are likely to offer more of an attacking threat than the midfielders that served the club last season. This blog will back Morecambe to begin the season with a 6th away win of the calendar year.

Mansfield v Carlisle

Keith Curle returns to Field Mill, as both his Carlisle United side, and former club Mansfield, will hope for an improvement on the previous campaign. The Cumbrians finished 20th last year, and face the task of replacing goalscoring midfielder Kyle Dempsey, who departs for Huddersfield this summer. Mansfield, on the other hand, have made some exciting summer signings. In the striking department, new signings such as Chris Beardsley, Craig Westcarr and Matt Green should help the Stags improve on their measly goal return of 38 last term. Mansfield’s squad looks stronger than Carlisle’s on paper, and providing their new players gel quickly, which the prompt timing of Adam Murray’s transfer business should enable them to do, this blog will back the home side to pick up 3 points.