Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A Look at the Opposition: Part 2

Here is part two of our 3 part series preview of City's League Two opponents this season.

Crewe Alexandra
MANAGER
Dario Gradi
PLAYERS IN
Alan Martin
PLAYERS OUT
Calvin Zola, Patrick Ada, Matt Mitchel-King, Joel Grant, Danny Blanchett, Lewis Short, Ashley Westwood, Bartlek Fogler, Pat Ada, Clayton Donaldson
Crewe came up short when it mattered last year in terms of the play offs. Sitting 3rd in early 2011, it looked as if the club could sustain a promotion challenge but a run of 11 games without an away point put paid to that – until their 5-1 win at Valley Parade! Having lost Clayton Donaldson they have some goals to replace but the likes of Shaun Miller are more than capable of meeting the challenge. Gradi is well known for using his youngsters well and expect them to be mid table/challenging for the plly offs.
Dagenham and Redbridge
MANAGER
John Still
PLAYERS IN
Medy Elito, Rob Edmans, Jake Reed, Brian Woodall, James Shea, Sam Williams, Luke Howell, Richard Rose, Sam Williams
PLAYERS OUT
Phil Ifill, Bas Savage, Graeme Montgomery, Tommy Tejan-Sie, Danny Green, Darren Currie, Will Antwi, Romain Vincelot, Tony Roberts
The minnows from Essex performed admirably in League One last year where they were comfortably the smallest club in the league. Notable results against Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday were great for the club, who weren’t far off surviving last year. However, they have lost some influential players including Danny Green, Tony Roberts and Romain Vincelot who was the subject of a bid from Bradford City. John Still, who was linked with the City job, knows the non league scene like the back of his hand and expect him to find a few diamonds. They will hope to be challenging towards the top again.
Gillingham
MANAGER
Andy Hessenthaler
PLAYERS IN
Matt Fish, Chris Whelpdale, Ross Flitney, Andy Frampton, Lewis Montrose, Danny Kedwell, Charlie Lee, Adam Birchall, Paulo Gazzaniga
PLAYERS OUT
Alan Julian, John Nutter, Mark Bentley, Josh Gowling, Tony Sinclair, Lance Cronin, Mark McCammon, Andy White, Andy Barcham, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Chris Palmer
Having missed out on promotion last season, Hessenthaler has had his playing budget cut drastically which has seen him lose some key players, such as Andy Barcham and Adebayo Akinfenwa. However, the signings of Chris Whelpdale and Andy Frampton are both impressive and signing Danny Kedwell from AFC Wimbledon could be a masterstroke if he can carry on his goal scoring exploits from last season.
Hereford United
MANAGER
Jamie Pitman
PLAYERS IN
Delroy Facey, Stefan Stam, Harry Pell, Yoann Arquin
PLAYERS OUT
Janos Kovacs (Transfer Listed), Sean Canham (Transfer Listed), Richard Rose, Sam Gwyne, Ryan Valentine, Daniel Stratford, Sam Malsom, Adrian Patulea, Aidan Thomas
The man who started last season as physio but ended it as manager did a stellar job as he managed to stave off relegation for The Bulls. In fact since Pitman took over, the form they showed if replicated over the season would have seen them finish high mid-table. Stefan Stam is a solid addition at the back but they still lack goals in the team. Stuart Fleetwood will always get goals but he lacks any real support up front, although Delroy Facey will get his obligatory 8-12 goals. No doubt with a couple chucked in against City. Don’t expect a lot from Hereford but unlikely that they will be scrapping at the very bottom.
Macclesfield Town
MANAGER
Gary Simpson
PLAYERS IN
Jon Bateson, Scott Kay, Tom Fisher, Ben Tomlinson,  Waide Fairhurst.
PLAYERS OUT
Matt Lowe, Rickly Sappleton, Jason Beardsley, Paul Bolland, Hamza Bencherif, Izak Reid, Tyrone Barnett
Macclesfield are always tipped for relegation at this time of year, yet for the last couple of seasons they haven’t really been troubled by relegation fears. Gary Simpson has managed to keep the Silkmen in the league with relative ease, despite working on a tiny budget. However, losing both Tyrone Bennet and Hamza Bencherif  is a big blow to his plans. Bringing in Ben Tomlinson, who scored 29 goals in the same league as Ross Hannah last season, is a gamble that could pay off as easily as it could fail. Waide Fairhurst has scored goals at this level before, which should be enough to see Macc safe for another year, but they could well be closer to the bottom this year.
Morecambe
MANAGER
Jim Bentley
PLAYERS IN
Kevin Elison, Izak Reid, Lewis Alessandra, Gary McDonald, Nicky Fenton
PLAYERS OUT
Scott Brown, Gavin Clarke, Stuart Hendrie, Andy Holdsworth, Chris Shuker, Laurie Walker, Neil Wainwright, Chris Wraighte, Tony Capaldi, Paul Mullin, Craig Stanley, Adam Rundle
Sammy McIlroy left Morecambe this summer having struggled to repeat the successes of the 2009/2010 season. Morecambe were in much trouble at points this season but managed to maintain their league status with a late run of form. Many players have been moved out of Morecambe with fewer coming in, new manager Bentley preferring to have a smaller, tight knit squad. A big test for Bentley, with this being his first foray into management, he will be given ample time and support at Morecambe where he is a club legend.
Northampton Town
MANAGER
Gary Johnson
PLAYERS IN
Byron Webster, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi, Jake Robinson, Ben Tozer, Paul Turnbull, Arron Davies, Nick McKoy, Lewis Young, Freddy Hall, Sam Walker,  Ashley Corker, Lumbardh Salihu, Marin Pozgain
PLAYERS OUT
Guillem Bauza, Liam Davis, Dean Beckwith, Courtney Herbert,  Paul Rodgers, Marcus Hall, Francis Laurent, Abdul Osman, Ryan Gilligan, Alex Konstantinou, Seb Harris, Leon McKenzie, Chris Dunn, Billy McKay
Gary Johnson was brought in last year with Northampton struggling horrendously. And although he struggled to get points at first, he did enough to keep Northampton up. He has overseen a lot of changes this summer and Northampton seem to be confident in their attack, but worried about their defensive capabilities. Northampton should be improved this year, but probably only to play off contenders.
Oxford United
MANAGER
Chris Wilder
PLAYERS IN
Tony Capaldi, Ryan James, Andy Whing, Jon-Paul Pittman, Deane Smalley, Michael Duberry, Peter Leven, Wayne Brown,  Liam Davis
PLAYERS OUT
Jack Midson, Djoumin Sangare, Mitchell Hanson, Simon Eastwood,
Sam Deering
Chris Wilder oversaw a successful return to league football for Oxford last season as the team fell just short of the play offs. Having spent numerous years in the non league, Oxford have now built on a solid first season with some impressive signings. Deane Smalley performed well for championship winning Chesterfield last year and Peter Leven has been an excellent performer in League One for the last few years. With Craddock and Constable up front still, expect Oxford to be up there this year.


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