We take another journey around League Two to find out what is making the headlines in the camps of each of our rivals for 2016/17.
Accrington will be looking for compensation from Doncaster Rovers after the League Two new boys moved to sign keeper Ben Etheridge. The 21-year-old only joined Stanley last summer from Derby County and made 24 appearances last season before opting to join Rovers. However, having been offered a new contract with Stanley and being under the age of 24, rules say that Doncaster will have to pay a fee for the shot-stopper.
Former Pools defender Michael Nelson has signed a new one-year deal with Barnet to take his stay with The Bees in to a second season. Now 36, Nelson made 32 appearances for the club last season after joining them from Cambridge United in the summer of 2015. “We want to improve on last year, get more points and see where it takes us,” said the centre-back, who played 306 times during a six-year stint at Pools between 2003 and 2009.
League Two new boys Blackpool continued their search for a new boss over the Bank Holiday weekend, with former Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday chief Dave Jones emerging as a front-runner. Jones is reported to have met with Seasiders’ owner Karl Oyston twice to discuss the possibility of succeeding Neil McDonald at Bloomfield Road. Local press are reporting that former Shrewsbury Town boss Micky Mellon is also on the shortlist for the job.
The U’s have announced plans to join forces with Newmarket Town in a bid to expand their community outreach programme. The non-league outfit have a state-of-the-art 3G pitch at their Town Ground and Cambridge United will form the opposition in a friendly to mark the opening of the facility in July. United will also use their round as a training venue for their Academy teams during the week as part of the link-up. “As the professional club in the area, to support and work in partnership with them will be fantastic,” explained Community Manager James Cutting.
Carlisle’s former Pools coach Colin West says it was the unity in The Cumbrians’ squad which saw them challenge for a place in the League Two play-offs last term. In the end, the Brunton Park outfit fell short of a top-seven finish but West insists that things look promising for the future. “The good thing is that we’re getting there and we’re going in the right direction,” he commented. “They went to war for each other and that means they’re always going to help each other out if the going does get tough.”
Cheltenham Town boss Gary Johnson is hoping to seal a deal to bring fans’ favourite Dillon Phillips back to the club after targeting two new goalkeepers this summer. Loan stars Phillips and shot-stopping team-mate Jon Flatt returned to their parents clubs at the end of last term but Johnson could now move to bring at least one of them back to Whaddon Road ahead of 2016/17. “We want to get either Dillon or Jon back on loan, but we have to be careful now, especially when it comes to a goalkeeper as we have to have reliable cover,” said Johnson, discussing the scrapping of the emergency loan system next season.
New Colchester United boss John McGreal is backing the club’s youngsters to help fire The U’s back to League One at the first attempt. After being promoted from Under-21s Coach, McGreal is well-placed to judge the talent coming through the ranks at Colchester and is happy to hand them their chance to shine at senior level. “A few of the lads who have played for the Under-21s have made it in to the First Team towards the back end of last season and have done particularly well,” he said.
New Crawley Town boss Dermot Drummy has landed three new signings in the past week, including former Pools loan man Jason Banton. Also incoming was 32-year-old keeper Glen Morris, while Josh Payne has joined the club after a successful season with non-league outfit Eastleigh. Fans have also been delighted with the news that midfield star Bobson Bawling has put pen to paper on a new deal, committing his future to The Red Devils.
Crewe boss Steve Davis has said that the signing of Ryan Lowe could prove crucial as they plot their return to League Two next term. The Railwaymen were relegated at the end of last season but the arrival of 37-year-old front man Lowe has brightened the mood at Gresty Road. “He’s still really fit, in good condition and looks after himself as best as anyone I’ve seen – he’s still got a lot to give,” Davis said of his new acquisition.
Darren Ferguson has revealed his delight after the Doncaster Rovers boss finalised a deal to sign Leyton Orient skipper Mathieu Baudry. The 28-year-old had been offered a new contract at Brisbane Road but opted to leave after making 157 appearances for The O’s. “He’s a very good centre-half who can play in a back two or three. He’s aggressive in the way he plays as well as being very good on the ball,” Ferguson commented.
Exeter City’s Director of Football Steve Perryman has admitted he is unsure when the club will make their next move in the transfer market this summer. Boss Paul Tisdale is on holiday currently after tying up deals to bring Robbie Simpson and Lloyd James to St James’ Park for 2016/17, while there are rumours that The Grecians are closing in on a third new face. “A day is a long time in football and you never know what the next phone call is,” Perryman admitted. “Maybe this is the dull spot now, having had a little bit of activity but who knows?”
Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst knows the club may face a battle to keep hold of some of their out-of-contract stars, despite winning promotion back to the Football League. Six of the squad which helped guide The Mariners to their triumph last term are yet to pen new deals, leading Hurst to accept they may be lured away by big-spending National League outfits. “There are some big teams who have the financial power to offer players extremely good wages and perhaps convince them to make a decision that doesn’t seem obvious to people who aren’t in the know,” mused Hurst.
Former Director of Football at Leyton Orient Mauro Milanese has lost his £100,000 wrongful dismissal case against the club. The former Italy international was appointed to the role in the summer of 2014 but left last January after The O’s said he was guilty of “gross misconduct”. Orient gave six reasons for his sacking and one was upheld by the judge in London last Thursday. The 44-year-old was told he was entitled to £8,300 in accrued salary and expenses.
Midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu has handed Luton Town a boost by putting pen to paper on a new contract at Kenilworth Road. The 23-year-old flourished under new Hatters boss Nathan Jones last term, returning from injury to star during the season run-in. “I see Pelly as an important player for me, as at his best he brings great energy and drive to the team,” explained boss Jones.
Mansfield winger Reggie Lambe is interesting several other clubs this summer but The Stags are hopeful he will remain at The One Call Stadium. Lambe has made 73 appearances for Town but he is out of contract and free to talk to other clubs. “Reggie’s been super for us in the time he’s been here so we’ve put something on the table for him and we’ll see if he accepts it, but we’ve got targets,” revealed boss Adam Murray.
Figures show that Morecambe made a loss of £829,832 during the 2014/15 financial year – doubling the deficit of the previous twelve months. Directors at The Globe Arena have admitted that the figure is “disappointing” and revealed they have a plan in place to reduce costs and break even by May 2017. The club has been up for sale since March and reports say that talks with a number of interested parties are ongoing.
Warren Feeney is hopeful of unveiling two new signings for Newport County this week to add to the arrival of defender Jamie Turley from Eastleigh. The Exiles boss is also still waiting for responses to some current players who have been offered new deals at Rodney Parade. “I am happy with how things are progressing,” he commented. “I’m looking at quality over quantity and the two that we’re very close with will strengthen the squad and make us better.”
New Notts County boss John Sheridan is targeting instant promotion after dropping down a division to take charge at Meadow Lane. Sheridan quit as boss of Oldham Athletic to take on the job with The Magpies and is now setting his sights on bringing the good times back to the club. “I think it’s a really attractive proposition for me to come and try to do what I’ve done of late, to try and get the club back where they belong,” he told the press at his unveiling on Tuesday.
Striker Reuben Reid says he is happy to put 2015/16 behind him after injuries restricted the part he played in Plymouth Argyle’s charge to the Play-Off Final. Reid made a late substitute appearance at The Pilgrims were beaten to promotion by AFC Wimbledon at Wembley on Monday and now he’s already concentrating on next term. “My season has been a write-off from the start,” he admitted. “I had surgery in the summer on my foot and, all season, I’ve been playing catch-up. I’m experienced enough that I won’t let it happen again.”
Pompey boss Paul Cook has insisted that he is ready to put a plan in place to allow the club to record better form on home soil during 2016/17. No club inside the top seven in League Two collected fewer points on their own patch than Portsmouth last term – and Cook is determined to solve that problem when the new season kicks-off. “At Fratton Park we want the ball in the box for longer – and the Fratton End sucking the ball in,” he explained. “We have to get more points.”
Teenage star Louis Yamfam has left Stevenage after the club agreed a fee with Charlton Athletic. The 18-year-old winger has come through the ranks at The Lamex Stadium but his performances for the club’s junior teams has led to speculation about his future. Now The Addicks, who were relegated in to League One last season, have met Boro’s asking price for the promising youngster who has now agreed terms on a move to The Valley.
Gareth Ainsworth has quashed speculation linking him with a move by saying he is fully-committed to his job as boss of Wycombe Wanderers. The former QPR midfielder has been rumoured to be in line for jobs at various other clubs during the close season but the popular Ainsworth has moved to reassured Chairboys supporters. “Of course I have ambitions to be the best I can be and manage at the highest possible level one day, but I am still young, I’m still learning every and I have a job to do at Wycombe,” he insisted.
Yeovil Town will travel almost 1,000 miles more to complete their League Two fixtures next season after the full line-up of teams for 2016/17 was confirmed. The Glovers will now have to cover 8,726 miles during the campaign with Pools and Carlisle United their longest trips. Chin up though, Town fans – the total mileage is still around 1,300 less than Pools will have to travel to play their games next season!