League Two Season Preview 2017-18

Four of League Two’s more glamorous clubs won promotion last year, leaving Luton as the odd one out. The Hatters share this season’s favourites tag with big-spending Mansfield, closely followed by relegated clubs Coventry and Swindon, who arrive as big fish in this pond. Below is our predicted league table and you can click on the green links below for an extensive Q&A with a supporter of the highlighted team.

Luton Town have replaced keeper Christian Walton well, added a midfield hard man in Alan McCormack while Andrew Shinnie will create for two of four able goalscorers. With League Two’s other big boys now out of the picture, this must be their time to shine. 1st

These are exciting times for Mansfield Town. New centre-back David Mirfin and midfielder Will Atkinson were competing for promotion to the Championship last season and most of their 13 additions are used to a higher level. If they integrate quickly, Steve Evans should win the eighth promotion of his career. 2nd

Coventry City have signed five recent League Two promotion winners, including club legend Michael Doyle, who with Liam Kelly will add midfield bite. If more defensive experience is added, Stuart Beavon and Marc McNulty could combine to fire the Sky Blues back up. 3rd

Swindon Town have appointed a proven manager in David Flitcroft while the likes of centre-back Chris Robertson and ball-winner James Dunne add much-needed experience in defensive areas. One or two quality attacking players are required, but a more pragmatic outlook gives the Robins the base for a sustained promotion push. 4th

While there has been a division of power off the field at Cambridge United, there will be plenty of power on it. The spine of centre-back Leon Legge, ball-winner Gary Deegan and target man Jabo Ibehre will be ready for any battle while new stopper Dimitar Mitov has positive reviews. This could be the year the U’s make inroads into the top seven. 5th

Stevenage continue to sign players with the hunger to buy into Sarll’s high-pressing methods. Winger Blair Turgott and striker Danny Newton add extra pace while left-back Joe Martin adds experience. On their day, Boro are one of the best teams in this league – they just need to have their day more often. 6th

Crewe Alexandra will be full of goals should Chris Dagnall and Jordan Bowery produce their expected form. The Alex look a defensively savvier outfit under David Artell so if centre-back Michael Raynes settles quickly and anchor man Danny Hollands can be replaced, they could be dark horses. 7th

Exeter City were one of the best attacking teams in the division last season and should excite the neutrals once again. Promotion prospects hinge on their replacement for Ollie Watkins and whether left-back Dean Moxey helps tighten the back-four. 8th

With centre-back Ian Evatt staying on and a proven target man in Chris O’Grady joining, Chesterfield should be strong in both boxes. Their midfield is less convincing though and with off-field problems lingering, promotion may have to wait another year. 9th

After Carlisle United blew their promotion chances due to poor 2017 form, they needed to act quicker this summer. While a midfield led by Nicky Adams and Mike Jones will be strong, Ibehre’s exit weakens their attack and Curle is left with largely the same defence that shipped 68 goals. 10th

There is reason to think Colchester’s squad has been weakened thus far, with centre-back George Elokobi and striker Chris Porter vacating positions that haven’t yet been addressed. Play-off prospects may look a little brighter if Kurtis Guthrie knuckles down and key players stay fit, but John McGreal must strike the balance between finesse and fight. 11th

Forest Green should play a bold brand of possession football as Christian Doidge should fire while new playmaker Reece Brown has the talent to light up the division. Centre-back Ethan Pinnock and forward Kaiyne Woolery won’t be easy to replace though, so a top half finish would represent a positive introduction to the Football League. 12th

Though Nolan had a good impact at Notts County last year, he is yet to impress with recruitment in his first summer in management. Little of the defence that leaked 76 last term has changed and more players with utility man Robert Milsom’s commitment level are required to navigate a play-off push. 13th

Lincoln City did themselves proud last year and midfielder Billy Knott along with Michael Bostwick boost an already industrious side. Limited experience at this level can be problematic for National League title-winners though, so the Imps may need a year to find their bearings before setting sights a little higher. 14th

With uncertainty at boardroom level and an inexperienced manager, Port Vale lack leadership off the field. Tom Pope will lead on it while winger Cristian Montano should assist the target man but of the four clubs coming down, the Valiants squad is in greatest need of surgery. 15th

Wycombe Wanderers‘ squad looks weaker than last season, especially with Jamaal Blackman’s loan expired and Aaron Pierre likely to depart. Adebayo Akinfenwa and Scott Kashket should score the bulk of their goals, but with width and variation lacking, this could be a year of regression. 16th

Summer business hands Grimsby Town a squad unnecessarily top-heavy with midfielders. Hopes are high for late developers Zak Mills and Jamey Osborne, but it’s surprising that more hasn’t been spent to fix an aging defence and uninspiring front line. 17th

Sean McConville should pose a threat from range for Accrington Stanley and Omar Beckles looks a composed centre-back. Shay McCartan and Marek Rodak may be missed though as John Coleman is once again asked to work miracles in the non-league market. 18th

Barnet’s January recruits contributed to a regression in form, so reluctance to sign an outfield player this summer seems questionable. We should expect good seasons from midfielders Curtis Weston and Jack Taylor, but without more investment, the club’s commitment to a more expansive style may be tested. 19th

Forward Billy Waters and keeper Scott Brown will be big losses for Cheltenham Town. They should have the work ethic to beat the drop but without a reliable striker at this level, they may lack the ruthlessness to do much more. 20th

While the post-survival optimism at Newport County is understandable, with three key defenders retained, a pinch of scepticism is advised. Michael Flynn was the man they needed last term but he faces a different set of challenges in his first full season in management. The squad’s limitations have shown and might again once the novelty of the great escape wears off. 21st

Crawley Town’s recruitment from Holland and non-league has been somewhat avant-garde. Enzio Boldewijn poses a threat but with James Collins leaving, the new players will need to acclimatize quickly. So will Harry Kewell, who begins senior management working with the same defence that shipped 71 goals last term. 22nd

Yeovil Town lack firepower at the top end of the pitch while at the other, centre-back Lacey is yet to be convincingly replaced. Midfielder Connor Smith is a decent signing but the lack of off-field leadership is a deep-running problem which may lead to the unfortunate drop. 23rd

There are some big characters at Morecambe, but financial struggles off the field and defensive struggles on it cannot be ignored. With centre-back Ryan Edwards leaving and other key men getting no younger, the Shrimps would do well to survive again. 24th