Sky Bet League Two 2018/19 – your big season preview

The new Sky Bet League Two season kicks off this weekend but which teams and players should you watch out for?

MK Dons, a Championship club just a couple of years ago, will be competing in the fourth tier of English football for the first time in 10 years alongside the likes of Maccesfield and Tranmere, who were both promoted from the National League.

With the help of Sky Bet, we take a closer look at the potential promotion challengers, the players tipped to provide the firepower and the sides who could find themselves scrapping for survival…

Opening weekend fixtures (all 3pm kick-off)

  • Bury v Yeovil
  • Cheltenham v Crawley
  • Crewe v Morecambe
  • Exeter v Carlisle
  • Grimsby v Forest Green
  • Mansfield v Newport
  • Northampton v Lincoln
  • Notts County v Colchester
  • Oldham v MK Dons
  • Port Vale v Cambridge
  • Stevenage v Tranmere
  • Swindon v Macclesfield

4:16 Sky Bet League Two predictions Title contenders

MK Dons and Notts County are the joint favourites (at 6/1) with Sky Bet to win the League Two title and secure promotion this season. MK, now managed by former Exeter boss Paul Tisdale, were relegated from the third tier last campaign while County were beaten in the play-off semi-finals by eventual winners Coventry.

County were in contention for automatic promotion for large parts of last season but Kevin Nolan’s side eventually fell away from the top three and will be hoping to last the course this year

Lincoln (8/1), who also lost in the play-off semi-finals, are among the favourites alongside Mansfield (10/1), who were hotly-tipped last season but missed out on the top seven altogether, and relegated Northampton and Swindon (both 12/1).

Play-off hopefuls

Bury, who were relegated in dismal fashion from League One last season, are fancied to make the play-offs, being backed at 7/2 by Sky Bet to do so, while Colchester have the same value as the Shakers.

There are the usual amount of contenders further back with Cambridge and Port Vale (both 4/1) and Carlisle, Exeter and Oldham (all 9/2) among those hoping to sneak their way into contention.

Carlisle will be hoping to reach the play-offs again after finishing 10th last season, while Exeter begin life without Tisdale, who left after 12 years at the club having been beaten by Coventry in the play-off final at Wembley in May.

Oldham, meanwhile, had spent 21 straight seasons in the third tier before their relegation and haven’t played at this level since 1971. Frankie Bunn will take charge of the club following the departure of Richie Wellens.

League Two: Key transfers

  • George Williams: Fulham to Forest Green (free)
  • John Akinde: Barnet to Lincoln (undisclosed)
  • Tyler Walker: Nottingham Forest to Mansfield (loan)
  • Filipe Morais: Bolton to Crawley (free)
  • Immanuelson Duku: Hayes & Yeading to Cheltenham (undisclosed)

Potential strugglers

Morecambe survived on the final day of last season and they’re the favourites with Sky Bet at 11/4 to drop out of the Football League this season. Yeovil finished 19th last campaign and are backed to join them at 7/2.

Macclesfield, meanwhile, are back in League Two for the first time in six years and are 4/1 to make a swift return to the National League, although they can take some hope from Lincoln and Forest Green, who were both promoted last year and survived.

Crawley (13/2), Forest Green and Newport (7/1) and Stevenage (15/2) are all being tipped to struggle this season. Tranmere, who came up through the National League play-offs, are rated at 11/1 to be relegated.

4:34 UN recognition for Forest Green Top scorers

John Akinde struggled for goals with Barnet last season as they were relegated, but his move to Lincoln City is expected to reignite him into the player who scored 49 goals across 2015/16 and 2016/17.

He is joint favourite at 10/1 to win the League Two Golden Boot, alongside Kristian Dennis, who scored 19 times for relegated Chesterfield last season and has since joined Notts County.

Dennis’ team-mate Kane Hemmings and Kieran Agard of MK Dons are both 14/1 to be top scorer, while Mansfield pair Craig Davies and Tyler Walker, the latter of whom is on loan from Nottingham Forest, are both valued at 16/1.

Who are you tipping to shine – and struggle – this season in Sky Bet League Two? Post a comment below if you’re reading on or tweet us @SkyFootball.

Sky Bet odds correct at July 31 and subject to fluctuation.

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