Today’s clubs are Luton Town, Exeter City, Crawley Town and Morecambe. All four clubs have been fairly active in their transfers this summer and there really isn’t much that needs to be done on my part.
Goalkeeper(s)- Marek Stech
Defender(s)- Jack Stacey
Midfielder(s)- Kavan Cotter, Alan McCormack, Andrew Shinnie
Forward(s)- James Collins
Luton are one of the favourites for the league title this season in my opinion. A strike force of Danny Hylton and new signing James Collins is going to be daunting for any League Two defence. The pair scored 42 goals in the fourth division last year and if they can get even close to that in the same team this season, Luton fans will be in for an exciting season. Isaac Vassell isn’t a bad option to have as a third choice and shows the quality that Luton have in depth.
The hardest task for Nathan Jones this summer will be to replace goalscoring midfielder Cameron McGeehan (sold to Barnsley). We have already written an article on how Luton could replace the midfielder; you can find this by clicking on Luton at the top of the page. The options we outlined in that article were Nicky Adams (Carlisle United), David Wheeler (Exeter City) and Luke Berry (Cambridge United). All three options were intentionally selected from Luton’s league two rivals and all three would be very difficult, but excellent signings for the Hatters. There are options that lie outside this division though, as shown by Jones’ acquisition of Andrew Shinnie on loan from Birmingham. That is an outrageously good signing for a League Two club as the ex Rangers man is also a Scotland international. As this is only a loan deal, the club may still look for a midfielder to bring in as a longer term replacement.
Luton have a very solid defence and I expect Scott Cuthbert to have another good season at the back. Not much needs to be done to strengthen at Kenilworth Road, I can see a few squad players coming in but nothing too big now. They may wish to sign another striker to replace Craig Mackail-Smith who has been released. This is dependent on Nathan Jones’ confidence in ex Bournemouth attacker Josh McQuoid. The Hatters have had good luck in the past with loan signings. McGeehan himself originally joined on loan before making his move permanent and they will be hoping Shinnie is just as successful. With Jack Marriott and Jake Gray leaving Kenilworth Road this summer they may look to the loan market again, for a short term fix to get them into League One. Options for loan signings include Josh Barrett from Reading, the same club as summer signing Jack Stacey. Barrett is a midfielder who has captained Reading’s youth sides but did not feature at all for the senior side last season. However, he did make 3 championship appearances in the 2015-16 season.
Defender(s)- Dean Moxey, Luke Croll
Exeter fans shouldn’t be too bothered with their lack of signings this summer. They have brought fan favourite Dean Moxey (left back) back to the club and have strengthened their numbers at the back with the signing of former loanee Luke Croll from Crystal Palace. The club have so far managed to keep hold of a few players who fans may have been worried about leaving the club. David Wheeler remains at the club after his impressive 19 goals and 6 assists last campaign. Exeter have really started to build their club to the point where they can consistently compete in this division and hopefully push on to League One football. Joel Grant left the club to rivals Plymouth, but this isn’t that big of a deal as the winger only featured in half of the Devon sides games last season. He definitely isn’t a player that the club cannot replace. Exeter still possess one of the strongest midfields in the division and have a real chance at promotion this year.
The club may be looking for another addition up front, to cover for starlet Ollie Watkins and prolific goalscorer Reuben Reid. Both strikers got double figures last season and I would expect Watkins to continue to grow from strength to strength. Ryan Brunt has been pictured in pre-season training with the Grecians, prompting fans to think he may be due to sign for the club. This would be a good addition, as he would provide adequate back up to the attackers they already have. Nicky Maynard is currently a free agent and would be worth a look at from Paul Tisdale. He hasn’t had great seasons as of late, but if he was able to find the form from his Bristol City and Crewe days then he would likely be very prolific in League Two.
The main aim for Paul Tisdale should be to continue to build the club. Continuing to allow the growth of players, such as Ollie Watkins and Ethan Ampadu can only be a good thing. They could follow in the footsteps of Matt Grimes and make the club a tidy profit, or help them up the leagues. The club appear to be moving to a position where they don’t have to fall victim to the bigger clubs and are able to keep their prized assets. They should not ‘over-sign’ and should allow these academy graduates to play as much senior football as possible.
Defender(s)- Cedric Evina
Midfielder(s)- Dannie Bullman, Mark Randall, Moussa Sanoh
Forward(s)- Panutche Camara
Crawley may have lost star man and top scorer James Collins to Luton, but it has still been quite a good summer for the Red Devils. Their midfield has improved drastically with the signing of Mark Randall, who was instrumental in Newport’s great escape. As well as, the resigning of Dannie Bullman from AFC Wimbledon. Matt Harrold has signed a new contract with the club and fans will be hoping that he can stay fit this season, after only managing 11 games last time out. Dean Cox will have his first full season at the club and I expect him to find his old form from his Leyton Orient days this season. There are still many positives to take.
It is an exciting time to be a Crawley fan, with new manager Harry Kewell, all the club really need is a striker to get the goals that Collins used to get. The club could do a lot worse than the likes of Jonathan Obika and Tyler Walker. Obika rejected a contract from Swindon Town and is currently unattached. The ex Tottenham player may find that a step down to the lower league is what is needed to work his way back up. The striker is now 26 years old and needs a good season under his belt to start performing again. Becoming the main man at Crawley may be exactly what he needs. Tyler Walker spent time on loan at Stevenage and Port Vale last year and it looks like Nottingham Forest are willing to send the 20 year old out on loan again, with first team opportunities likely to be very limited in the Championship. Walker has been linked very heavily with Grimsby but should the Reds beat the Mariners to the deal, they may have found the man to replace Collins for one year at least.
Defender(s)- Patrick Brough
Forward(s)- Garry Thompson, Vadaine Oliver, Adam Campbell
Jim Bentley has a very small squad to work with at the Globe Arena this season. Captain Peter Murphy was forced to retire at the age of 27 last season due to a long term injury. This is an unfortunate blow for the Shrimps as Murphy is an excellent midfielder and it is horrible to see a player’s career ended so early. The club have made some reasonable acquisitions in the summer. Garry Thompson has returned to his first club now at the age of 36 and will offer relentless running and experience to the Morecambe side. Adam Campbell is a very fast attacker who will offer the team something very different and may be key in catching teams on the counter.
The club are in desperate need of improving their numbers, with only 4 registered defenders at the club. These are Aaron McGowan, Dean Winnard, Luke Conlan and Michael Rose; who recently signed a new contract. It could be a very busy summer for Jim Bentley trying to bring in a number of back up defenders to bolster his squads depth. as currently any injuries could be disastrous. Former Fulham defender, Matt Briggs was released by Colchester over the summer and would not be a bad option at left back. George Elokobi is also yet to sign a contract with the Essex club, but would be a very unlikely addition. Ben Nugent has played for the likes of Cardiff, Brentford and most recently Crewe and is currently without a club. Finally, Gavin Gunning is a free agent after his release from Grimsby and would be an acceptable squad player at the Lancashire club.
There are a number of other areas in which Morecambe need to improve but as it is likely that the majority of these will be whichever players they can afford from whoever is available, we feel it is best to leave it there.
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