An in-depth guide to York City’s rivals during the 2014/15 Sky Bet League Two campaign:
Manager: James Beattie
Position last season: 15th
Ground: The Crown Ground Capacity: 5,057
Key man: Tom Aldred
Transfers: In - Adam Buxton (Wigan), Luke Simpson (Oldham); Out - Danny Webber, Laurence Wilson (Morecambe), Luke Clarke, George Miller, Peter Murphy (Wycombe), Ian Dunbavin
Chances: James Beattie earned widespread acclaim for steering Accrington to safety in his first full season as a boss; a remarkable achievement considering it took them 13 attempts to win a league game. The challenge is building on last season.
Manager: Neal Ardley
Position last season: 20th
Nickname: The Dons
Ground: Kingsmeadow Capacity: 4,720
Key man: Adebayo Akinfenwa
Transfers: In - Sean Rigg (Oxford), Mark Phillips (Southend), Adebayo Akinfenwa (Gillingham), Matt Tubbs (Bournemouth season-long loan), Dannie Bulman (Crawley), Adebayo Azeez (Charlton), James Shea (Harrow), Joe McDonnell (Basingstoke), Jack Smith (Millwall); Out – Aaron Morris (Gillingham), Seb Brown, Jack Midson (Eastleigh), Will Antwi, Callum Kennedy, Rhys Weston, Peter Sweeney, Luke Moore, Charlie Strutton, Jimmy Fenlon (Ross County)
Chances: Boss Neal Ardley has added some much-needed experience to his ranks and the goal threat of strike duo Adebayo Akinfenwa and Matt Tubbs should ensure they steer clear of a relegation scrap.
Manager: Gary Rowett
Position last season: 6th
Nickname: The Brewers
Ground: Pirelli Stadium Capacity: 6,912
Key man: Lucas Akins
Transfers: In – Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Preston), Lucas Akins (Stevenage), John Mousinho (Preston), George Taft (Leicester), Stuart Beavon (Preston season-long loan), Callum McFadzean (Sheffield United six-month loan), Jon McLaughlin (Bradford City), Connor Martin (Rochdale); Out - Zander Diamond (Northampton), Michael Symes, David Gray, Gary Alexander, Freddy Hall, Jack Dyer, Chris Hussey (Bury), Marcus Holness (Tranmere)
Chances: Burton continued to make progress last season as manager Gary Rowett sacrificed the free-scoring football that brought defeat in the play-off semi-finals in 2012/13 for a tighter defensive approach. Albion went a step further, but suffered Wembley heartache against Fleetwood.
Manager: David Flitcroft
Position last season: 12th
Nickname: The Shakers
Ground: JD Stadium Capacity: 11,840
Key man: Ryan Lowe
Transfers: In - Ryan Lowe (Tranmere), Nicky Adams (Rotherham), Danny Mayor (Sheffield Wednesday), Chris Hussey (Burton), Keil O'Brien (Chorley), Shwan Jalal (Bournemouth), Kelvin Etuhu (Barnsley); Out - Phil Picken (retired), Brian Jensen (Crawley), Trevor Carson (Cheltenham), Richard Hinds, Tommy Miller, Lewis Young, Robbie McIntyre,Tope Obadeyi, Ashley Grimes (Walsall)
Chances: Big things are expected of David Flitcroft’s squad and their ambitious project swayed both Nicky Adams and Ryan Lowe to return to Bury. The latter’s partnership with Daniel Nardiello suggests goals will be a formality.
Head Coach: Richard Money
Position last season: 2nd in Conference
Nickname: The U’s
Ground: Abbey Stadium Capacity: 10, 847
Key man: Luke Chadwick
Transfers: In - Johnny Hunt (Wrexham), Chris Dunn (Yeovil), Robbie Simpson (Leyton Orient), Luke Chadwick (MK Dons), Kwesi Appiah (Crystal Palace six-month loan), Harry Lennon (Charlton six-month loan); Out - Kevin Roberts (Halifax), Andy Pugh, Matthew Barnes-Homer, Sam Smith, Blaine Hudson, Scott Garner, Ashley Chambers (Dagenham), Rory McAuley (Dartford), Nathan Arnold (Grimsby season-long loan), Luke Berry (Barnsley)
Chances: There has been plenty for Cambridge fans to smile about ahead of their return to the Football League. The end of a nine-year wait for promotion has been followed by the return of winger Kwesi Appiah along with boyhood fan Luke Chadwick. Expect them to be too good for a relegation scrap.
Manager: Graham Kavanagh
Position last season: 22nd in League One
Nickname: The Cumbrians
Ground: Brunton Park Capacity: 18,202
Key man: Billy Paynter
Transfers: In - Anthony Sweeney (Hartlepool), Danny Grainger (Dunfermline), Gary Dicker (Crawley), Billy Paynter (Doncaster), Troy Archibald-Henville (Swindon), Dan Hanford (Floriana), Danny Kearns (Peterborough); Out - Chris Chantler, Danny Livesey, Prince Buaben (Hearts), Liam Noble (Notts County), Lee Miller (Kilmarnock), Mike Edwards, Greg Fleming, Jack Lynch, Lewis Guy, Nacho Novo, Pascal Chimbonda, James Berrett (Yeovil)
Chances: Relegation has been a bitter pill for the club and led to a summer clear-out by manager Graham Kavanagh, who will embark on his first full season in charge after replacing Greg Abbott last September. A new-look side will bid to bounce straight back to League One, but a winning start is imperative.
Manager: Mark Yates
Position last season: 17th
Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Whaddon Road Capacity: 7,066
Key man: Byron Harrison
Transfers: In – Asa Hall (Shrewsbury), Lee Vaughan (Kidderminster), Paul Black (Mansfield), Andy Haworth (Notts County), Trevor Carson (Bury), Jack Deaman (Eastbourne), Matt Taylor (Bradford City), Koby Arthur (Birmingham six-month loan); Out – Scott Brown (Aberdeen), Jermaine McGlashan (Gillingham), Jamie Cureton (Dagenham), Sido Jombati (Wycombe), Ashley Vincent (Shrewsbury), Ed Williams, Sam Deering
Chances: The Robins fell way short of a third successive top-seven finish last season. Mark Yates will need his new-look XI to gel quickly if they are to finish in the top half.
Manager: Wayne Burnett
Position last season: 9th
Nickname: The Daggers
Ground: Victoria Road Capacity: 6,078
Key man: Abu Ogogo
Transfers: In – Liam O’Brien (Brentford), Ashley Chambers (Cambridge), Mark Cousins (Colchester), Nathan Green (Tonbridge Angels), Damien Batt (Oxford), Joss Labadie (Torquay), Matt Partridge (Reading), Jamie Cureton (Cheltenham), Ashley Hemmings (Walsall), George Porter (Burnley); Out: Chris Dickson, Chris Lewington (Colchester), Femi Ilesanmi (York), Alex Osborn, Matt Saunders, Luke Wilkinson (Luton), Jordan Seabright (Torquay)
Chances: Dagenham were among the favourites for relegation last season after surviving on the final day of the previous campaign but proved a surprise package in Wayne Burnett’s first full season in charge. Will be targeting another top-half finish.
Manager: Paul Tisdale
Position last season: 16th
Nickname: The Grecians
Ground: St James Park Capacity: 8,541
Key man: Matt Grimes
Transfers: In - Out - Jake Gosling (Bristol Rovers), Artur Krysiak, John O'Flynn, Sam Parkin, Alan Gow, Elliott Chamberlain, Jacob Jagger-Cane, Jacob Wannell, Matt Gill (Tranmere)
Chances: A transfer embargo after a PFA loan meant boss Paul Tisdale had no choice but to let some big earners leave and focus on the next generation.
Manager: Colin Cooper
Position last season: 19th
Ground: Victoria Park Capacity: 7,857
Key man: Luke James
Transfers: In - Matthew Bates (Bradford City), Stuart Parnaby (Middlesbrough); Out - Simon Walton (Stevenage), Andy Monkhouse (Bristol Rovers), Greg Rutherford, Zak Boagey, Anthony Sweeney (Carlisle)
Chances: Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper endured a tough baptism in his first season in charge at Victoria Park as his side only briefly threatened to mount a play-off challenge following relegation. Incoming pair Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby will provide fresh impetus, but further signings are required if Pools are to challenge for a top-seven finish.
Manager: John Still
Position last season: 1st in Conference
Nickname: The Hatters
Ground: Kenilworth Road Capacity: 10,226
Key man: Alex Lawless
Transfers: In - Ross Lafayette (Welling), Ricky Miller (Boston), Andy Drury (Crawley), Paul Connolly (Crawley), Luke Wilkinson (Dagenham), Paul Benson (Swindon); Out – Ronnie Henry (Stevenage), Andre Gray (Brentford)
Chances: Promoted teams often fare well in League Two and there is no reason why Luton will not continue that trend. Emulating the likes of Crawley and winning back-to-back promotions might be beyond the Hatters but do not rule out a play-off challenge. Crowds at Kenilworth Road will be among the biggest in the division.
Manager: Paul Cox
Position last season: 11th
Nickname: The Stags
Ground: One Call Stadium Capacity: 9,186
Key man: Sam Clucas
Transfers: In – Luke Jones (Stevenage), Liam Hearn (Grimsby), Alex Fisher (AC Monza), Amari'i Bell (Birmingham six-month loan), Fergus Bell (AC Monza), Simon Heslop (Stevenage), Sascha Studer (Winterthur); Out - Louis Briscoe, Ben Hutchinson, George Pilkington, Kieran Murtagh (Woking), Paul Black (Cheltenham), James Jennings (Forest Green), Godfrey Poku, Ian Deakin, Ross Dyer, Jake Speight, Lee Stevenson (Alfreton), Alan Marriott, Colin Daniel (Port Vale), Lindon Meikle (York), Anthony Howell (Alfreton)
Chances: Mansfield will be looking to build on a solid return to the Football League, finishing just two points adrift of eighth place. Leading scorer Matt Green was sorely missed, and never replaced, when he left for Birmingham last summer but Paul Cox looks to have addressed that with the signing of Alex Fisher.
Manager: Jim Bentley
Position last season: 18th
Nickname: The Shrimps
Ground: Globe Arena Capacity: 6,476
Key man: Jack Redshaw
Transfers: In – Jamie Devitt (Chesterfield), Ryan Edwards (Blackburn), Alan Goodall (Fleetwood), Laurence Wilson (Accrington), Paul Mullin (Huddersfield); Out – Chris McCready, Robbie Threlfall, Joe Mwasile, Joe McGee, Tony Diagne (Lincoln)
Chances: One of the division’s thinnest squads will again be tipped to struggle, even if Jim Bentley’s nous has steered them clear of danger in recent years. They could do with striker Jack Redshaw returning to the form he displayed before last summer’s hip injury, though.
Manager: Justin Edinburgh
Position last season: 14th
Nickname: The Exiles
Ground: Rodney Parade Capacity: 5,511
Key man: Chris Zebroski
Transfers: In - Darren Jones (Wimbledon), Yan Klukowski (Forest Green), Kevin Feely (Charlton), Mark Byrne (Barnet); Out - David Pipe (Forest Green), Ryan Burge, Harry Worley (Stevenage)
Chances: With their horrendous injury list behind them and the majority of a settled squad still at Rodney Parade, expect another comfortable season for Newport. Boss Justin Edinburgh will hope to avoid another severe fixture backlog at a ground they share with local rugby clubs.
Manager: Chris Wilder
Position last season: 21st
Nickname: The Cobblers
Ground: Sixfields Stadium Capacity: 7,653
Key man: Marc Richards
Transfers: In - Zander Diamond (Burton), Marc Richards (Chesterfield), Kaid Mohamed (Port Vale season-long loan), John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers), Daniel Alfei (Swansea - season-long loan), Evan Horwood (Tranmere), Jordan Archer (Tottenham, loan until January); Out – Matthew Harriott (Welling), Mathias Kouo-Doumbe
Chances: Northampton began last season as promotion hopefuls and still had one of League Two’s biggest playing budgets, but ended up escaping relegation on the final day. It can only get better for a club that massively under- achieved and boss Chris Wilder will demand much more from his players in his first full season in charge.
Head Coach: Michael Appleton
Position last season: 8th
Nickname: The U’s
Ground: Kassam Stadium Capacity: 12,500
Key man: Jake Wright
Transfers: In - Danny Hylton (Rotherham), Michael Collins (Scunthorpe), George Long (Sheffield United six-month loan), Joe Riley (Bolton six-month loan), Carlton Morris (Norwich six-month loan); Out - Sean Rigg (Wimbledon), James Constable (Eastleigh), Deane Smalley (Plymouth), Scott Davies, Wayne Brown, Damien Batt (Dagenham), Dave Kitson (retired)
Chances: After seven defeats from eight games Gary Waddock’s ill-fated spell in the Kassam hotseat was cut short by Oxford’s new owners. New boss Michael Appleton will hope he is given the funds to invest in a squad which needs work, especially in the final third where they will miss James Constable.
Manager: John Sheridan
Position last season: 10th
Nickname: The Pilgrims
Ground: Home Park Capacity: 16,388
Key man: Luke McCormick
Transfers: In - Deane Smalley (Oxford), Lee Cox (Swindon), Peter Hartley (Stevenage), Carl McHugh (Bradford), Kelvin Mellor (Crewe), Reuben Reid (Yeovil), James Bittner (Salisbury), Oliver Norburn (Bristol Rovers), Anthony O'Connor (Blackburn loan until January); Out - Romuald Boco, Maxime Blanchard, Jake Cole (Woking), Neal Trotman, Luke Young, Isaac Vassell, Matt Parsons, Conor Hourihane (Barnsley), Durrell Berry, Jamie Richards (Linfield six-month loan), Andres Gurrieri, Guy Branston (retired)
Chances: Lost influential captain Conor Hourihane to Barnsley but John Sheridan’s signings have returned the feel-good factor to Home Park. Last season’s top scorer Reuben Reid is back, while Deane Smalley is reunited with his old Chesterfield boss.
Manager: Andy Awford
Position last season: 13th
Ground: Fratton Park Capacity: 20,700
Key man: Danny Hollands
Transfers: In - Danny Hollands (Charlton), Nigel Atangana (Havant & Waterlooville), Craig Westcarr (Walsall), Paul Jones (Crawley), James Dunne (Stevenage), Michael Poke (Torquay), Alex Wynter (Crystal Palace season-long loan), Miles Storey (Swindon season-long loan); Out - George Branford, Ashley Harris, Jake Jervis (Ross County), Yassin Moutaouakil, Marcos Painter, Therry Racon, Phil Smith (Aldershot), Liam Triggs, Josh Warren, Romain Padovani, Sonny Bradley (Crawley), Simon Ferry, John Sullivan
Chances: Last season’s promotion favourites somehow ended up in danger of a fourth relegation in five years. But Pompey ended the campaign in title-winning form and, with their cash problems behind them, surely this is the season the club will begin moving back in the right direction.
Manager: Micky Mellon
Position last season: 23rd in League One
Nickname: The Shrews
Ground: Greenhous Meadow Capacity: 9,875
Key man: Liam Lawrence
Transfers: In – Nat Knight-Percival (Peterborough), Ashley Vincent (Cheltenham), Scott Vernon (Aberdeen), Jayson Leutwiler (Middlesbrough), Mark Halstead (Blackpool), James Wesolowski (Oldham), James Collins (Hibernian), Mickey Demetriou (Kidderminster), Mark Ellis (Crewe), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Tranmere), Liam Lawrence (Barnsley), Cameron Gayle (West Brom), Andy Robinson (Tranmere), Jordan Clark (Barnsley), Andy Mangan (Forest Green); Out – Asa Hall (Cheltenham), Chris Weale, Joe Anyon, Joe Jacobson (Wycombe), Alex McQuade, Paul Parry, Luke Summerfield (York), Tom Bradshaw (Walsall), Jon Taylor (Peterborough), Tamika Mkandawire, Dave Winfield (York)
Chances: Shrewsbury have brought in more than a dozen new players following relegation in May as new manager Micky Mellon bids to win promotion back to League One in his first season in charge. Given the quality of signings, the Shrews will start among the favourites to get the job done.
Manager: Phil Brown
Position last season: 5th
Nickname: The Shrimpers
Ground: Roots Hall Capacity: 12,392
Key man: Kevan Hurst
Transfers: In - Myles Weston (Gillingham), Lee Barnard (Southampton), David Worrall (Rotherham), Isaac Layne (Billericay), Shaquile Coulthirst (Tottenham season-long loan), Mads Ibenfeldt (Akandemisk); Out – Freddy Eastwood, Mark Phillips (Wimbledon), Anthony Straker (York), Marc Laird (Tranmere)
Chances: Southend will be bidding for another top-six finish in manager Phil Brown’s second full season in charge after losing in the play-off semi-finals to Burton in May. Half a dozen players departed in the summer but the bulk of the squad remains and Brown is expecting his side to challenge again at the top end of the table.
Manager: Graham Westley
Position last season: 24th in League One
Ground: Broadhall Way Capacity: 6,546
Key man: Simon Walton
Transfers: In - Dean Wells (Braintree), Calvin Zola (Aberdeen), Andy Bond (Colchester), Sam Beasant (Woking), Harry Worley (Newport), Ronnie Henry (Luton), Simon Walton (Hartlepool), Chris Whelpdale (Gillingham), Adam Marriott (Cambridge City), Charlie Lee (Gillingham), Chris Beardsley (Preston); Out – Luke Jones (Mansfield), Jimmy Smith (Crawley), Steve Arnold, Matt Ball, Jordan Burrow, Anthony Furlonge, Michael Thalassitis, Oumare Tounkara, Francois Zoko, Dani Lopez, Craig Reid, Lucas Akins (Burton), Peter Hartley (Plymouth), James Dunne (Portsmouth), Simon Heslop (Mansfield)
Chances: Graham Westley has cleared the decks following last season’s relegation and built a squad he hopes will be capable of repeating their 2011 promotion campaign. The Boro manager says his players ‘mean business’ and will be expecting a play-off place at the very least.
Manager: Rob Edwards
Position last season: 21st in League One
Ground: Prenton Park Capacity: 16,567
Key man: Jason Koumas
Transfers: In – Eliot Richards (Bristol Rovers), Matt Gill (Exeter), Michael Ihiekwe (Wolves), Kayode Odejayi (Rotherham), Marcus Holness (Burton), Marc Laird (Southend), Danny Woodards (Bristol Rovers), Clayton McDonald (non contract basis); Out – Jason Mooney (York), Ash Taylor (Aberdeen), Ryan Lowe (Bury), Ian Goodison, Callum Morris, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Shrewsbury), James Wallace (Sheffield United), Evan Horwood (Northampton)
Chances: Tranmere have been a team in transition, bringing in rookie manager Rob Edwards while losing Ryan Lowe, last year’s top scorer, as well as their captain James Wallace. An instant return to League One is therefore far from certain and much depends on how Edwards adapts to life in the hot-seat.
Manager: Gareth Ainsworth
Position last season: 22nd
Nickname: The Chairboys
Ground: Adams Park
Key man: Max Kretzschmar
Transfers: In – Sido Jombait (Cheltenham), Aaron Pierre (Brentford), Paul Hayes (Scunthorpe), Peter Murphy (Accrington), Alex Lynch (Peterborough), Joe Jacobson (Shrewsbury), Danny Lowe (Rotherham three-month loan), Nicky Walker (Rotherham three-month loan); Out – Leon Johnson, Lee Angol, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Jo Kuffour, Anthony Jeffrey, Dean Morgan, Jon-Paul Pittman, Matt Spring, Marvin McCoy (York)
Chances: Gareth Ainsworth responded to Wycombe’s great escape by bringing in a number of experienced campaigners. Paul Hayes has been tasked with solving their goalscoring problem. Youngsters Matt Ingram and Max Kretzschmar have to stay if they are to avoid another relegation battle.