League Two is always one of the most competitive and exciting divisions on display in England. What makes it unique is that four teams can win promotion up into the third tier - with three going up automatically. With there being so many spots it often makes the challenge at the top hugely exciting and this years line-up in the division suggests that they'll be more of the same.
Away from the promotion picture there's also the fight for survival which always tends to go down to the final day. Only two teams drop out the division but the penalty is severe, with the unfortunate sides falling in the National League. This years campaign has the potential to be a cracker and we've taken a look at what could unfold over the next 9 months. Read below to see our predictions on who will win automatic promotion, reach the play-offs and suffer relegation in the 18/19 League Two season.
We're expecting Kevin Nolan's Notts County to be right up at the top of the table come May. The Magpies were unfortunate not to win promotion last term after losing out in the play-offs to eventual winners Coventry City and they've been busy in their attempts to go one step better. Owner Alan Hardy has backed Nolan over the summer completing a host of impressive transfers which has seen the likes of Kristian Dennis, Kane Hemmings, Enzio Boldewijn and David Vaughan all make the move to Meadow Lane - adding some serious strength in depth to an already strong squad. They're just four of the eight signings made by Nolan over the last few months and if they can settle in quickly they'll be a real force to contend with. Since joining the club he's worked wonders with a pretty limited budget, so now with some heavy financial backing behind him we can see the Magpies taking the next step and winning promotion back into League One for the first time since 2015.
Another side with a fantastic chance of automatic promotion are Lincoln City, who come into the new League Two campaign fancied by many to challenge. The Imps made a fantastic return to the Football League last term which saw them finish in seventh position and secure a spot in the play-offs, only to be beaten by Exeter City. It was a great campaign for them which also saw them lift the Checkatrade Trophy and boss Danny Cowley will be hoping that his side can take the next step and make their first return to League One since 1999. The summer has been an extremely productive one despite losing two key midfield men in Elliott Whitehouse and Alex Woodyard who moved to Grimsby and Peterborough respectively. Cowley has been backed big in the transfer market once again making a host of signings to give them that extra bit of quality. The captures of the classy Bruno Andrade and Shay McCartan could prove to be huge and they also smashed their transfer record for the prolific John Akinde - so there's incredibly exciting times ahead for the Imps.
David Flitcroft's Mansfield Town come into the new campaign in very good shape and they'll be confident that they can finally secure that elusive promotion back into League One. The Stags have been outside the third tier since 2003 and some big sums have been spent over the last couple of years in order to try take them back there. Last summer saw some wholesale changes in terms of personnel but this year has been very much quality over quantity. The arrivals of Neal Bishop, Craig Davies, Matt Preston, Otis Kahn and Tyler Walker add a good mix of youth and experience at Field Mill & we can see them doing some real damage. Their match day 18 is as good as any in League Two and if Flitcroft can make a fast start then they will certainly be challenging Lincoln and Notts County at the top of the table.
Sky Bet League Two Promotion Forecast
LINCOLN & NOTTS COUNTY TO FINISH IN THE TOP TWO @ 28/1
The favourites to finish inside the top seven are recently relegated MK Dons, who return to League Two following a ten year absence. The Dons' relegation from the third tier last term came as a surprise to some and they'll need to dust themselves down quickly if they're to compete this year, in what looks an incredibly competitive League Two. The Dons have been busy trying to rectify their mistakes from last season which has seen them make some important changes at the club, none more so than convincing Paul Tisdale to end his 12 year stay at Exeter City to become their new manager. It looks like an excellent appointment on paper with the 45 year-old taking the Grecians into the play-off final in each of the last two seasons along with guiding them to League One back in 2009 and the MK Dons' supporters will be hoping for more of the same. The board have supported him in the transfer window by funding seven moves already - three of which have come from his former club in Ryan Harley, Jordan Moore-Taylor and Robbie Simpson. Playing alongside the likes of Lawson D'Ath, Chuks Aneke and Kieran Agard we can see them doing some real damage this season and they're bound to be there or nearabouts come May.
Our tip to finish in the top seven comes in the form of Bury, who were also relegated from League One last season. The Shakers were expected to be dangerous last term after making some impressive signings but for whatever reason it didn't work out - with them finishing bottom. Former striker Ryan Lowe has been called upon as the clubs new manager and he has a massive job on his hands turning their fortunes around this season, but he certainly has the personnel at his disposal to do so. He can call upon the likes of Tom Aldred, Stephen Dawson, Harry Bunn and Jermaine Beckford who we believe are excellent players at this level and he's also been backed in the transfer window to add to his options. He's gone for experience with Nicky Adams, Chris Stokes, Chris Dagnall and Byron Moore all coming into the club along with 6 others so we think they're in with a real shout - they're available at 13/8 to finish in the top 7 with SkyBet which looks like an excellent price.
Swindon Town also look set to be in store for a big year, with Phil Brown taking charge of his full season at the County Ground. The Robins finished in 9th position last term, just missing out on a spot in the play-offs and breaking into the top seven is bound to be the minimum aim for them this time around. Brown struggled to initially win over the supporters when he was first appointed as manager but his promotion winning experience could be crucial for the upcoming campaign. He's twice gone up via the play-offs with Hull City (2008) and Southend (2015) so he'll feel that he's more than capable of making it a hat-trick with the Robins. There's been some big player turnover during the summer but the incomings have certainly added some serious quality - with the likes of Jermaine McGlashan, Michael Doughty, Toumani Diagouraga, Jak McCourt and Luke McCormick all making the move to the south west which should make them a difficult side to face this season.
This looks like it's going to be a long, hard season for Yeovil Town. Darren Way's men finished down in 19th position in the 17/18 campaign and they have a real fight on their hands retaining their Football League status. The 38 year-old did a great job keeping them up on a very limited budget but this year will be much tougher following the departures of some key players, with forward Otis Kahn the main headline. He gave them some real cutting edge in attack and his absence will mean more is required from the likes of Francois Zoko and Alex Fisher. There has been a few additions to the squad though, with the likes of Carl Dickinson, Sessi D'Almeida and Reece Cole all making the move to Huish Park. One player who could be important for them is Norwich City loanee Diallang Jaiyesimi, who looks like Kahn's replacement on paper. The youngster spent last year on loan at Grimsby and despite struggling for starts he did impress, so with regular minutes under his belt he could provide the inspiration that Town need but it's going to a tough campaign for everyone involved.
We're expecting Macclesfield Town to be joining the Glovers in trouble at the wrong end of the table. The Silkmen only won promotion back into the Football League back in April after winning the National League title and they will have a bit of momentum behind them on their return to League Two, but their lack of quality is a big worry. They've lost the likes of Mitch Hancox and Kieran Kennedy who were big parts of their side last season along with manager John Askey who did an incredible job in winning the league title. He's made the move to Shrewsbury and since been replaced by Mark Yates - in which is his first Football League job since his stint at Crawley back in 2016. He has some task on his hands keeping them up and we can see them really finding life really difficult back in the EFL.
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