Sunday, June 24, 2018

League Two Preview: Newport, Mansfield return to Football League

SoccerNews in English Premier League 31 Jul 2013


Newport County begin life back in the Football League by welcoming Accrington Stanley to Rodney Parade.

After going out of business in 1989, the reformed club have slowly worked their way back up the English league system, and Justin Edinburgh’s side secured promotion with a victory over Wrexham in the Conference play-off final last term.

Accrington flirted with relegation for much of the previous season, and although they finished 18th, they were only three points clear of the bottom two. Manager James Beattie will be hoping to guide his side to victory in his debut game in the dugout.

Conference champions Mansfield Town travel to Scunthorpe United for their opening clash of the season. The pair were two divisions apart last year, but a torrid season for Alan Knill’s side saw them relegated on the final day of the season, despite wins in their final two matches.

Defeated play-off finalists Northampton Town will be aiming to put defeat to Bradford City behind them and build another good season under Aidy Boothroyd.

They travel to Bootham Crescent to face York City, a side they were unable to beat last season.

Cheltenham and Burton, both play-off semi-finalists, meet in their opening fixture at Whaddon Road.

Burton manager Gary Rowett has strengthened his squad with eight new players, including Rory Delap, but has seen star men Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma leave for Aberdeen and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.

Relegated Portsmouth find themselves in the bottom tier for the first time since 1980 and will hope to put back-to-back relegations, and years of financial peril, behind them.

Fans group Pompey Supporters’ Trust bought a controlling stake in the club in April and have put faith in former striker Guy Whittingham to help them back up the football ladder.

There have been 11 players arrive at Fratton Park ahead of the new season and they open with a home match against Oxford United.

Hartlepool United travel to Rochdale in the 137th encounter between the two clubs – the most played Football League fixture between current members.

There have been 10 new signings at Spotland as manager Keith Hill looks to plot the club’s way back to League One after relegation back to the fourth tier of English football in 2012.

Elsewhere on the opening day, Bury will entertain Chesterfield, Wycombe Wanderers face Morecambe at Adams Park and there is a south-west derby between Exeter City and Bristol Rovers.

Plymouth Argyle travel to Southend United, Graham Alexander’s Fleetwood host Dagenham & Redbridge and Torquay United face AFC Wimbledon at Plainmoor.


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