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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
Read

Coca Cola League 2

Boston United

Last season 11th
Manager Steve Evans
In: Derek Lilley (Livingston, free), Andy Kirk (Hearts, free), Austin McCann (Hearts, free), Aaron Kerr (Walsall, free), Martin Carruthers (Macclesfield, free), Jason Lee (free).
Out: Graeme Jones (Bury, free), Ben Chapman, Stuart Balmer, Stuart Douglas, Mark Angel, Steve Croudson, Dene Cropper, Matt Hocking (all released).

A headline-catching move for Paul Gascoigne to play in League Two has given Boston an unusually high profile, but manager Steve Evans' recruitment policy bodes well.

No player scored more than six league goals last year, but that should change with the addition of Scottish strikers Derek Lilley and Andy Kirk and the much-travelled Martin Carruthers. If Chester's Daryl Clare does return to Boston, their attack will rival any in League Two.

Boston ended last season in fine form after Evans' reappointment and they could be outsiders to challenge for promotion.

Key man: Derek Lilley.

Bristol Rovers

Last season 15th
Manager Ian Atkins
In: James Hunt (Oxford, free), Craig Hinton (Kidderminster, free), Ali Gibb (Stockport, free), John Anderson (Hull, free), Steve Elliott (Blackpool, free), Stuart Campbell (Grimsby, free), Craig Disley (Mansfield, free) Jamie Forrester (Hull, free), Paul Trollope (Northampton, free), Robbie Ryan (Millwall, free), Jon Beswetherick (free).
Out: Danny Williams (Wrexham, free), Wayne Carlisle (Leyton Orient, free), Andy Rammell (Forest Green, free), Adam Barrett (Southend, free), Kevin Austin (Swansea, free), Paul Tait (Rochdale, free), Neil Arndale, Danny Boxall, Bo Henriksen, Graham Hyde, Anwar Uddin (all released).

The acrimonious end to Ian Atkins' time at Oxford could benefit Bristol Rovers. Atkins' former club were challenging for promotion and he has the pedigree to end years of underachievement at the Memorial Stadium.

He starts the season with a much-changed squad. Left back Robbie Ryan played in the FA Cup final three months ago and midfielders Paul Trollope, Craig Disley and Stuart Campbell should all be useful signings.

Rovers' prospects could depend on how long it takes a new team to gel and whether Jamie Forrester and Junior Agogo could form a prolific partnership.

Key man: Jamie Forrester.

Bury

Last season 12th
Manager Graham Barrow.
In: Dave Challinor (Stockport, free), Dwayne Mattis (Huddersfield, free), Jon Newby (Huddersfield, free), Graeme Jones (Boston, free), Brian Barry-Murphy (free).
Out: Gareth Seddon (Rushden, free), George Clegg, Paul O'Shaughnessy, Lewis Solly, Lee Connell (all released).

The return of the popular Jon Newby is a boost for Bury but another tough season seems in store for Graham Barrow's team.

Long-throw specialist Dave Challinor is another newcomer in a small squad lacking last year's top scorer Gareth Seddon.

Away form was a weakness last year and, while Bury will aim for mid-table, merely staying in the league would be an achievement for Barrow.

Key man: David Flitcroft.

Cambridge United

Last season 13th
Manager Herve Renard.
In: Matt Robinson (Ipswich, free), Jermaine Easter (Hartlepool, free), Ashley Nicholls (Darlington, free), Abdelhalim Elkholti (Yeovil, free), Sully Seychelles (Fontenay Le Compte, free).
Out: Terry Fleming (Grimsby, free), Mark Venus (Hibernian, coaching role), Alex Revell, Chris Clarke, Gilbert Pirlasnig, Brian Dutton, David Bridges, Martin Brennan (all released).

Cambridge's mid-table finish last year owed much to Dave Kitson's early-season goals (before his sale) and a revival after the arrival of former Cameroon coach Claude Le Roy.

The French connection continues with Le Roy's former assistant Herve Renard in charge, but Kitson has never really been replaced.

For a new manager with a young squad, a top seven finish may be unrealistic.

Key man: Luke Guttridge.

Cheltenham Town

Last season 14th
Manager John Ward
In: Steve Guinan (Hereford, free), Ashley Vincent (Wolves, free), Scott Brown (Bristol City, free), Chris Murphy (Telford, free), JJ Melligan (Wolves, £25,000).
Out: Michael Duff (Burnley, £30,000) Ben Cleverley (Forest Green, free), Lee Howells, (Merthyr Tydfil), Bob Taylor, Steve Book, Paul Brayson, Luke Buttery, Craig Dobson, Richard Forsyth, Antony Griffin (all released).

Cheltenham conceded too many goals last season (71) and have since sold their best defender, Michael Duff, to Burnley.

But manager John Ward made a positive start at Whaddon Road and has gambled on non-league strikers Chris Murphy and Steve Guinan this summer.

The play-offs will be the objective for the Robins, though mid-table may be more likely.

Key man: Shane Duff.

Chester City

Last season 1st (Nationwide Conference)
Manager Mark Wright.
In: Sean Hessey (Kilmarnock, free), Stephen Vaughan (Liverpool, free), Stewart Drummond (Morecambe, free), Richard Hope (York, free), Andrew Watson (Farsley Celtic, free), Cortez Belle (Merthyr Tydfil, free), Michael Branch (Bradford, free), Chris MacKenzie (Telford, free), Darren Edmondson (York, free).
Out: Alex Smith (Wrexham, free), Scott Guyett (Yeovil, free), Michael Twiss (Morecambe, free), Chris Lane (Leigh RMI, free), Shaun Carey (Hornchurch, free), Carl Ruffer (Morecambe, free), Ian Foster, Jamie Heard, Andy Woods (all released).

Mark Wright's last spell in league management ended ignominiously, but Conference Champions Chester are among the favourites for promotion this season.

Owner Steve Vaughan has bankrolled a host of new signings but much rests on whether Chester keep Daryl Clare (29 goals in just 27 starts last year).

A play-off place, at the least, should be within their reach.

Key man: Daryl Clare.

Darlington

Last season 18th
Manager David Hodgson
In: Joe Kendrick (1860 Munich, free), Sam Russell (Middlesbrough, free), Steve Thomas (Wrexham, free)
Out: Barry Conlon (Notts County, free) Danny Mellanby (retired).

The Reynolds Arena is a testament to George Reynolds' ambition or ego, according to interpretation, but more investment in the team would have been beneficial instead.

The ever loyal David Hodgson returned for a third spell in charge to save them from relegation, but the loss of top scorer Barry Conlon leaves Darlington without much threat in attack.

And with the club in administration, Hodgson has not been able to strengthen so his job will once again be to keep the Quakers in the league.

Key man: Ian Clark.

Grimsby Town

Last season 21st (Division Two)
Manager Russell Slade.
In: Justin Whittle (Hull, free), Simon Ramsden (Sunderland, free), Andy Parkinson (Sheffield United, free), Terry Fleming (Cambridge, free), Ashley Sestanovich (Sheffield United, season-long loan), Thomas Pinault (Colchester, free), Michael Reddy (Sunderland, free), Anthony Williams (Hartlepool, free).
Out: Stuart Campbell (Bristol Rovers, free), Phil Jevons (Yeovil, free), Aidan Davison (Colchester, free), Liam Nimmo (released).

After Grimsby's second successive relegation, former Scarborough boss Russell Slade is their third manager in a matter of months.

The Mariners had the worst defensive record in Division Two last year so new signings Justin Whittle and Terry Fleming will have key roles at the back.

Andy Parkinson and Michael Reddy have the task of replacing Phil Jevons in attack and if Slade can forge a unit from his many new signings, Grimsby should challenge for a play-off place.

Key man: Justin Whittle.

Kidderminster Harriers

Last season 16th
Manager Jan Molby
In: Reuben Hazell (Torquay, free), Daniel Lewis (Studley, free), Jamie Gleeson (Southampton, free), Ian Foster (Chester, free), Simon Brown (West Brom, free), Micky Mellon (Blackpool, free), Richie Appleby (Hull, free).
Out: Craig Hinton (Bristol Rovers, free), Matt Gadsby (Forest Green, free), John Williams (Bath City, free), Adam Murray (Mansfield, undisclosed), Dean Bennett (Wrexham, free), Mark Yates, Stuart Brock, Scott Stamps, Graham Ward, Kenny Coleman, Adam Willis, Sean Parrish (all released).

An end-of-season clear-out leaves Jan Molby with a dangerously small squad at Aggborough, though the arrivals of Micky Mellon and Richie Appleby compensate for the loss of Adam Murray and Dean Bennett .

Like his manager, forward Ian Foster is in his second spell at the club and there is a desperate need for someone to get 15 goals a season.

If that does not happen, Molby's good football may not be enough to prevent Kidderminster becoming involved in another relegation battle.

Key man: Ian Foster.

Leyton Orient

Last season 19th
Manager Martin Ling
In: Lee Steele (Oxford, free), Alan White (Colchester, free), Wayne Carlisle (Bristol Rovers, free), Michael Simpson (Wycombe, free).
Out: Simon Downer, Ciaran Toner, Matthew Joseph, Chris Tate, Matthew Brazier (all released).

After another season of underachievement at Brisbane Road, manager Martin Ling has raided rival clubs and added more experience to his squad.

Lee Steele should help relieve the goalscoring burden on new captain Gary Alexander while Michael Simpson's distribution in the centre of midfield will help.

A stronger squad should aim for mid-table this year.

Key man: Matt Lockwood.

Lincoln City

Last season 7th
Manager Keith Alexander
In: Dean West (Burnley, free), Paul Weller (Burnley, check)
Out: Mark Bailey (Macclesfield, free), Rory May (Tamworth free), Ben Sedgemore (Barnet, free), Richard Liburd, Scott Willis, Kevin George, Niall McNamara, Allan Pearce, David Wattley, Aron Wilford, Darren Horrigan (all released).

No longer a surprise package and with manager Keith Alexander hospitalised last season, Lincoln did superbly to reach the play-offs for a second successive year.

They have managed to keep the giant Ben Futcher, who contributed to an excellent defensive record last year, while bringing in the experienced Burnley duo of Paul Weller and Dean West.

If Gary Fletcher (16 goals last year) can continue to score and Lincoln can improve their home form after a mere nine wins at Sincil Bank, they could challenge.

Key man: Ben Futcher.

Macclesfield Town

Last season 20th
Manager Brian Horton
In: Tony Barras (Notts County, free), Thomas Rooney (Tranmere, free), Joey Jones (Everton, free), Mark Bailey (Lincoln, free), Michael Briscoe (Coventry, free), Neil Morgan (Nottingham Forest, free), Alan Fettis (Hull, free).
Out: David Smith, David Miskelly, Jason Van Blerk, Chris Priest, Karl Munroe, James Olsen, George Abbey (all released), Martin Carruthers (Boston, free).

Brian Horton ensured Macclesfield stayed in the league last year and the appointment of the canny veteran should mean their relegation battles are in the past.

Keeper Alan Fettis and centre back Tony Barras should shore up the defence while Horton's decision to let Martin Carruthers leave suggests the versatile Jon Parkin will be used alongside Matthew Tipton in attack.

Macclesfield are always among the favourites for the drop, but could be an outside bet for the play-offs.

Key man: Matthew Tipton.

Mansfield Town

Last season 5th
Manager Keith Curle
In: Adam Murray (Kidderminster, undisclosed), Derek Asamoah (Northampton, undisclosed).
Out: Andy White (Crewe, free) Jamie Clarke (Rochdale, free), Tony Vaughan (Barnsley, free), Craig Disley (Bristol Rovers, free), Chris Beardsley, Craig Mitchell, Iyseden Christie, Mark Hurst, Laurent D'Jaffo (all released), Liam Lawrence (Sunderland), Junior Mendes (Huddersfield, free).

Only a penalty shoot-out separated the Stags from a place in League One, but five regulars have left Field Mill this summer including the three top scorers.

So much rests on strikers Derek Asamoah and Colin Larkin unless Curle can manage to make more signings.

Only the top two scored more goals last year, but unless Mansfield can be as prolific again, the play-offs could prove beyond them.

Key man: Derek Asamoah.

Northampton Town

Last season 6th
Manager Colin Calderwood.
In: David Galbraith, Scott McGleish (Colchester, free), David Rowson (Partick, free), Tommy Jaszczun (Blackpool, free).
Out: Chris Hargreaves (Brentford, free), Paul Trollope (Bristol Rovers, free), Glyn Thompson, Greg Lincoln, Des Lyttle, John Taylor (all released), Derek Asamoah (Mansfield, undisclosed), Paul Reid (Barnsley, undisclosed).

Despite heavy spending last summer, Northampton were struggling until the appointment of Colin Calderwood, who took them to the play-offs.

They were tipped for automatic promotion last year and this time, despite the loss of defender Paul Reid, that should be a realistic aim.

If new signing Scott McGleish, Martin Smith and the unpredictable Marc Richards can produce more goals, they are potential champions.

Key man: Martin Smith.

Notts County

Last season 23rd (Division Two)
Manager Gary Mills.
In: Glynn Hurst (Chesterfield, free), Chris Palmer (Derby, free), Mathew Gill (Peterborough, free), Mike Whitlow (Sheffield United, free), Gavin Gordon (Cardiff, free)
Out: Paul Heffernan (Bristol City, £125,000), Tony Barras (Macclesfield, free), Nick Fenton (Doncaster, free), Ian Baraclough (Scunthorpe, free), Tony Hackworth, Kevin Nicholson, Simon Baldry, Frazer McHugh, Paul Riley, Jonathan Bewers, Mark Briggs, Stuart Garden.

After a disastrous season last year, it is no surprise to see a radically different squad assembled by manager Gary Mills.

Paul Heffernan's 20 goals in a relegated team earned him a move to Bristol City, so the onus is on new faces Gavin Gordon and Glynn Hurst for goals.

County's fortunes may depend upon how quickly Mills can forge a winning team so the experience of Mike Whitlow could be crucial, but they should challenge for a play-off place.

Key man: Mike Whitlow.

Oxford United

Last season 9th
Manager Graham Rix
In: Terry Parker (Portsmouth, free), Michael Alexis (extension), Mark E'Beyer (Wimbledon, free), Barry Quinn (Coventry, free), Danny Morgan (Wimbledon, free), Lee Bradbury (Walsall, free), Rob Wolleaston (Bradford, free), Chris Tardif (Portsmouth, free), David Mackay (Dundee, free), David Woozley (Torquay, free), Tommy Mooney (Swindon, free), Leo Roget (Rushden, free)
Out: Lee Steele (Leyton Orient, free), James Hunt (Bristol Rovers, free), Andy Crosby (Scunthorpe, free), Andy Woodman, Paul McCarthy, Matt Bound, Richard Walker, Manny Omoyinmi, Courtney Pitt (all released), Dean Whitehead (Sunderland, undecided fee)

Oxford's season went into meltdown when Ian Atkins announced he was leaving for Bristol City and, after a summer of 22 transfers, Graham Rix is at the helm now.

Six of the departures were first-team regulars and Rix's defence will be almost completely different with new arrival Leo Roget likely to be a pivotal figure.

The signing of Tommy Mooney raised expectations while many of the other newcomers have worked with Rix before. But, despite the evident ambition, promotion may be too much to expect from an unproven manager.

Key man: Tommy Mooney.

Rochdale

Last season 21st
Manager Steve Parkin
In: Neil Brisco (Port Vale, free), Jamie Clarke (Mansfield, free), Chris Armstrong (Leeds, free), Paul Tait (Bristol Rovers, free), Ashley Probets (Arsenal, free)
Out: Neil Redfearn (Scarborough, free), Michael Simpkins (Burton Albion, free), Matt Doughty (Accrington, free), Lee McEvilly (Accrington, free), Rory Patterson, Simon Grand, Shaun Smith, Stephen Hill, Sean McClare, Chris Beech (all released)

Having discovered that the grass wasn't greener elsewhere, Steve Parkin is back at Spotland, where he came close to promotion.

But his new team are relegation favourites and the release of so many players to non-league clubs helps explain why.

However, Paul Tait and Neil Brisco should strengthen the spine of the Dale team and if Pat McCourt and Kevin Townson can realise their potential, Parkin could steer them to mid-table safety.

Key man: Neil Brisco.

Rushden & Diamonds

Last season 22nd (Division Two)
Manager Ernie Tippett
In: Sean Connelly (Tranmere, free), Alex Hay (Tranmere, free) Gareth Seddon (Bury, free), Rob Gier (Wimbledon, free), Peter Hawkins (Wimbledon, free), Graham Allen (Tranmere, free), Kevin Braniff (Millwall, loan), Craig Dove (Middlesbrough, free), Phil Gulliver (Middlesbrough, free).
Out: Rodney Jack (Oldham, free), Stuart Wardley, Paul Kitson, Leo Roget (Oxford, free), Andy Edwards (Southend, free), Ritchie Hanlon (Stevenage, free), Stephen Gahan, Owen Story (both released)

Rushden & Diamonds paid the price for letting key players Onandi Lowe, Paul Hall and Paul Underwood go towards the end of last season as mid-table rapidly became relegation.

Manager Ernie Tippett has recruited a completely new defence this summer from Tranmere and Wimbledon and expect Graham Allen to play a significant role.

Gareth Seddon and on-loan Kevin Braniff will be in a new-look attack and the success of the signings will determine if a play-off place is a possibility for the Diamonds.

Key man: Graham Allen.

Scunthorpe United

Last season 22nd
Manager Brian Laws.
In: Andy Crosby (Oxford, free), Paul Musselwhite (Hull, free), Ian Baraclough (Notts County, free)
Out: Paul Groves (York, free), Alex Calvo-Garcia (retired), Ian Kilford (released)

Steven McLean scored 25 goals last season and Scunthorpe still only finished one place above the relegation zone so it is vital Brian Laws finds a replacement for the on-loan forward.

Laws - back in charge after a farcically brief absence - has added the experienced duo of Ian Baraclough and Andy Crosby to his defence.

Winger Peter Beagrie still has his tricks if not the somersaulting celebrations but Laws needs to strengthen if Scunthorpe are to avoid another relegation battle.

Key man: Andy Crosby.

Shrewsbury Town

Last season 3rd (Nationwide Conference)
Manager Jimmy Quinn
In: John Grant (Telford, free), Stuart Whitehead (Telford, free), Ben Smith (Hereford, free)
Out: Ian Dunbavin (Halifax, free).

Jimmy Quinn ensured Shrewsbury's absence from the league was as brief as possible and a winning habit has helped previous Conference sides charge through this division.

Quinn has brought in three players from Conference rivals, but much of his squad already have experience in the Football League.

Keeping the highly-rated centre forward Luke Rodgers has contributed to Shrewsbury's success and Quinn's team could finish in the top half.

Key man: Luke Rodgers.

Southend United

Last season 17th
Manager Steve Tilson.
In: Andy Edwards (Rushden, free), Nicky Nicolau (Arsenal, free), Wayne Gray (Wimbledon, free), Adam Barrett (Bristol Rovers, free), Bart Griemink (Swindon, free), Lewis Hunt (Derby, free), Carl Pettefer (Exeter, free), Lawrie Dudfield (Northampton, free), Spencer Prior (Cardiff, free).
Out: Leon Constantine (Peterborough, free), Neil Jenkins (Crawley, free), Jamie Stuart (Hornchurch, free), David McSweeney (Crawley, free), Leon Cort (Hull, free), Mark Warren (Fisher, free), Steven Clarkson (Hornchurch, free), Leke Odunsi (retired), Jamie Fullerton, Ryan Robinson, Carl Emberson (all released).

Another disappointing season for Southend has been followed by another summer of change with the two Leons - Cort and Constantine - the most significant departures.

The latter scored 25 goals last year, so Lawrie Dudfield, who needs to finally realise his potential, and Wayne Gray have to ensure he is not missed. The returning Spencer Prior should take Cort's role in an otherwise fragile defence.

Southend reserved their best form for the LDV Vans Trophy last year. If they do so again, another finish in the bottom half of the table seems likely.

Key man: Lawrie Dudfield.

Swansea City

Last season 10th
Manager Kenny Jackett
In: Kevin Austin (Bristol Rovers, free), Gary Fisken (Watford, free), Adrian Forbes (Luton, free), Garry Monk (Barnsley, free), Sam Ricketts (Telford, free).
Out: Roger Freestone, Layton Maxwell, Richard Jones, Karl Connolly, Jonathan Coates, Michael Howard, Kevin Nugent, Stuart Roberts (all released)

Swansea flattered to deceive last season, but looked play-off candidates for much of the season even if Lee Trundle's trickery rather overshadowed the rest of the team.

Now Kenny Jackett has the task of going one better. The addition of quick winger Adrian Forbes to a decent midfield bodes well and a top seven play should be within their grasp.

But Trundle needs more support in attack and, after conceding 61 goals, Swansea need to be a bit tighter defensively after the release of long-serving keeper Roger Freestone.

Key man: Paul Connor.

Wycombe Wanderers

Last season 24th (Division Two)
Manager Tony Adams.
In: Mike Williamson (Southampton, season-long loan), Joe Burnell (Bristol City, free), Shahed Ahmed (Wimbledon, free), Gary Silk (Portsmouth, loan), Gus Uhlenbeek (Chesterfield, free), Clint Easton (Norwich, free), Stuart Nethercott (Millwall, free).
Out: Dannie Bulman (Stevenage, free), Steve Brown, Darren Currie, Michael Simpson, Andy Thomson, Chris Vinnicombe, Scott Marshall, Charlie Mapes, Richard Harris, Lewis Cook (all released)

Tony Adams hardly made an auspicious start to his managerial career as Wycombe never looked anything other than relegation certainties last year.

Winger Darren Currie is the most prominent of several senior players to leave this summer while the arrivals of defenders Joe Burnell, Stuart Nethercott, Mike Williamson and Gus Uhlenbeek are a consequence of conceding 75 goals last year.

But Wycombe need to improve on an awful away record and find a regular goalscorer if they are to even challenge for a place in the top seven.

Key man: Joe Burnell.

Yeovil Town

Last season 8th
Manager Gary Johnson.
In: Scott Guyett (Chester, free), Phil Jevons (Grimsby, free), Michael Rosen (Hereford, free), Adrian Caceres (Hull City, free)
Out: Adam Stansfield (Hereford, free), Nick Crittenden (Aldershot, free), Lee Elam, Jamie Gosling, Ryan Northmoor, Kirk Jackson (all released), Jake Edwards (Exeter, free).

That Yeovil's first season in the Football League was not seen as an unqualified success is an indication of high expectations at Huish Park.

But the arrival of Phil Jevons to add a cutting edge to the attack should prompt a new promotion push from Gary Johnson's team.

Johnson has not been forced to sell young talents like keeper Chris Weale and midfielder Gavin Williams and Yeovil should be in the top seven this year.

Key man: Phil Jevons.

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