Last season Stockport County and Lincoln City were the two unfortunate teams that dropped out of the Football League and are starting the new season facing the prospect of playing the likes of Alfreton Town in the Blue Square Conference. Once again there looks to be a fierce fight at the bottom of the 92 to try to avoid relegation this year.
Every season Macclesfield Town seem to defy the odds and the pre-season predictions to remain in the league despite having a small fan base and very limited budget. However this year they have lost their goal scorer in Tyronne Barnett who has left for Crawley and they will need to find someone who can replace his goals if they want to survive.
Another team who should fear for their future as a league club are Plymouth Argyle. The Pilgrims could be in real trouble during the upcoming campaign with a season of turmoil predicted on and off the pitch. If they go into administration again and suffer a points deduction, as they did last year, I can see them finishing near the bottom of the pile. Although I think their fans will be just happy to see their club survive with all that is going on off the pitch.
Other teams that will need to look over their shoulder for the new campaign include Barnet who are one of the perennial strugglers in League Two and only stayed up with a win on the last day of last season after looking doomed with only a few games to go. Under new manager Lawrie Sanchez they look to be a better prospect this season and Izale McLeod’s goals could fire them to safety and ensure the side stay in the league again.
Morecombe are among the favourites for the drop and look a good bet to lose their league status. After sacking Sammy McIIroy just before the end of the season they appointed the in-experienced Jim Bentley as player-manager who will need to fix last season’s leaky defence and find someone who can score enough goals to keep the Layers up. Consolidation will be the aim but it could be a tricky objective.
At the end of last season the future for Cheltenham Town was not looking good after losing top goal scorer Wesley Thomas and losing eight of their last twelve games. However a few decent looking summer signigns have given their fans renewed optimism and although they will probably be in the bottom half, they should have enough to survive.
Hereford with Jamie Pitman at the helm have strengthened the existing side and they should be capable of a mid-table finish. However after only winning two of their last 13 games they will need to improve dramatically to continue their stay in the football league.
Burton Albion only just avoided relegation back to the non-league last season and it appears that another season of struggle could be in store for the Brewers. Paul Pechisolido has been able to use his contacts to bring in some much need quality but they could be still in for another long campaign.
Everybody involved in the football community were delighted to see AFC Wimbledon back in the football league. They have finished in the top-half of the table in every season they have played but this could be the year they finish in the lower half of the table. Anything above the relegation zone will be considered a success for the Dons and I think although they could struggle, they have enough momentum and class to survive.