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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
League Two form guide


Nickname: The Bees
Ground: Underhill
Capacity: 5,500
Last season: 1st in Conference
Manager: Paul Fairclough (March 2004)

In: Ross Flitney (Fulham)

Out: Shane Gore (Stevenage)

BBC Sport verdict: Won the Conference by a distance last season and fully earned their new shot at the Football League.

Boss Paul Fairclough is a canny operator with great knowledge of the lower leagues and the goals of Guiliano Grazioli will be crucial to their hopes.

Key man: Giuliano Grazioli


Nickname: The Pilgrims
Ground: York Street
Capacity: 6,543
Last season: 16th
Manager: Steve Evans (March 2004)

In: Ben Futcher (Lincoln), Noel Whelan (Aberdeen), Gavin Johnson (Colchester, undisclosed), Ryan Doherty (Northampton, undisclosed), Ashley Edkins (Aston Villa, undisclosed), Chris Wright (Arsenal, undisclosed), Lee Canoville (Torquay), Stewart Talbot (Brentford), Julian Joachim (Leeds)

Out: Jermaine Easter (Stockport)

BBC Sport verdict: Pilgrims manager Steve Evans has had a busy summer adding to his squad and strikers Noel Whelan and Julian Joachim could prove a handful in League Two this season.

Should they fire, Boston are certainly capable of attaining a play-off place.

Key man: Julian Joachim


Nickname: Pirates
Ground: Memorial Stadium
Capacity: 11,976
Last season: 12th
Manager: Ian Atkins (April 2004)

In: Alex Jeannin (Exeter), Louie Soares (Reading), Chris Carruthers (Northampton), Scott Shearer (Coventry), Matt Somner (Cambridge, non-contract), Michael Husbands (Southend, non-contract)

Out: Scott Sinclair (Chelsea)
Sonny Parker, Dave Savage

BBC Sport verdict: Quite simply the draw specialists of the league last season, boss Ian Atkins will be looking for a few more three-point hauls this time around.

A couple of canny close-season signings could see the Pirates close the 12-point gap to the play-off places.

Key man: Junior Agogo


Nickname: Shakers
Ground: Gigg Lane
Capacity: 11,669
Last season: 17th
Manager: Graham Barrow (December 2003)

In: Craig Dootson (Stalybridge Celtic), Allan Smart (Milton Keynes Dons), Neil Edwards (Rochdale), Stuart Barlow (Stockport), John Fitzgerald (Blackburn), Jake Sedgemore (Shrewsbury), John Hardiker (Stockport)

Out: Colin Kazim-Richards (Brighton - tribunal), Glynn Garner (Leyton Orient), Chris Porter (Oldham - tribunal), Matt Barrass, John Cartledge

BBC Sport verdict: It has been a period of consolidation for the Shakers after a turbulent year of financial struggles, but many of their best players have committed themselves to Gigg Lane.

Graham Barrow will be hoping for another season of avoiding the relegation dogfight rather than looking upwards.

Key man: Dwayne Mattis


Nickname: The Cumbrians/Blues
Ground: Brunton Park
Capacity: 16,651
Last season: 3rd in Conference (promoted via play-offs)
Manager: Paul Simpson (August 2003)

In: Zigor Aranalde (Walsall), Raphael Nade (Woking, undisclosed), Jamie McClen (Newcastle, free)

Out: Craig Farrell, Brian Shelley, Kevin Henderson, Chris Beech, Carlos Roca, Tom Cowan

BBC Sport verdict: Bounced back into the Football League at the first attempt under the impressive management of Paul Simpson.

The player-boss will hope to add further to his squad before the season starts to ensure they do not slip back into the Conference.

Key man: Brendon McGill


Nickname: The Robins
Ground: Whaddon Road
Capacity: 7,407
Last season: 14th
Manager: John Ward (November 2003)

In: Craig Armstrong (Bradford)

Out: Martin Devaney (Watford), Graham Ward (Tamworth), Chris Murphy (Redditch), John Brough (Aldershot)

BBC Sport verdict: A quiet summer at Whaddon Road, boss John Ward sticking largely to the squad that saw the Robins finish comfortably in mid-table last season.

The consistency of the squad could pay dividends, but they may have to settle for another season of consolidation.

Key man: Shane Duff


Nickname: The Blues
Ground: Deva Stadium
Capacity: 6,000
Last season: 20th
Manager: Keith Curle (May 2005)

In: Marcus Richardson (Yeovil), Craig Dove (Rushden), Justin Walker (Cambridge Utd), David Artell (Mansfield, undisclosed), Luke Dimech (Mansfield), Abdelhalim El Kholti (Cambridge Utd), Tom Curtis (Mansfield), Gregg Blundell (Doncaster, 105,000)

Out: Paul Carden (Peterborough), Wayne Brown (Hereford)

BBC Sport verdict: Chester managed to survive last season despite an astonishing start that saw them lose manager Mark Wright just a day before they kicked off their League Two campaign.

After Ian Rush kept them up Keith Curle was handed the reins, and the ex-Mansfield boss has added depth to his squad with a series of summer purchases that should boost their hopes of an improved season.

Key man: Michael Branch


Nickname: The Quakers
Ground: The Arena
Capacity: 25,294
Last season: 8th
Manager: David Hodgson (October 2003)

In: Akpo Sodje (Huddersfield), Simon Johnson (Leeds), David Duke (Swindon), Sam Russell (Middlesbrough), Carlos Logan (Manchester City)

Out: Chris Hughes (Scarborough), Ian Clark (Scarborough), Bobby Petta (Bradford)

BBC Sport verdict: Having missed out on a play-off place on goal difference, David Hodgson will be hoping to go one better this time and he will keep faith with largely the same squad.

New boys Simon Johnson and Akpo Sodje will provide fierce competition up front and the Quakers could finally score the goals their build-up play deserves.

Key man: Alun Armstrong


Nickname: The Mariners
Ground: Blundell Park
Capacity: 10,033
Last season: 18th
Manager: Russell Slade (May 2004)

In: Jermaine Palmer (Stoke), John Lukic (Nottingham Forest), Gary Cohen (Gretna, loan), Terry Barwick (Scunthorpe), Paul Bolland (Notts County), Steve Mildenhall (Oldham), Tom Newey (Cambridge), Ciaran Toner (Lincoln), Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala (Nice), Gary Jones (Tranmere)

Out: Terry Fleming (Kidderminster), Terrell Forbes (Oldham), Jason Crowe (Northampton), Jermaine Palmer (Scarborough, loan)
Thomas Pinault

BBC Sport verdict: Last season's consolidation after two successive relegations was much-needed but Grimsby will need to kick on and challenge towards the top this time around.

Russell Slade has chopped and changed his squad for the second summer in a row but the Mariners desperately need more goals to move up the division.

Key man: Andy Parkinson


Nickname: The O's
Ground: Brisbane Road
Capacity: 5,000
Last season: 11th
Manager: Martin Ling (September 2003)

In: Glynn Garner (Bury), Shane Tudor (Cambridge), Joey Keith (Colchester), Joe Dolan (Millwall), Craig Easton (Livingston)

Out: Lee Harrison (Peterborough)
Mark Peters, Tom Youngs

BBC Sport verdict: The O's prepare for their 11th straight season in this division with renewed hope they are ready for a promotion push.

Lee Steele found the net on a regular basis in his first season at Brisbane Road and if he can avoid injury Martin Ling's side will be dangerous opponents.

Key man: Lee Steele


Nickname: The Red Imps
Ground: Sincil Bank
Capacity: 10,147
Last season: 6th
Manager: Keith Alexander (May 2002)

In: Paul Mayo (Watford), Omari Coleman (Watford), Steve Robinson (Swindon), Dean Keates (Kidderminster), Colin Cryan (Scarborough), Scott Kerr (Scarborough), Danny Bacon (Hucknall), Gary Birch (Kidderminster), Luke Foster, Nat Brown (Huddersfield), Marvin Robinson (Stockport), Maheta Molango (Brighton, season-long loan)

Out: Richard Butcher (Oldham), Ben Futcher (Boston), Simon Yeo (New Zealand Knights), Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Huddersfield), Peter Gain (Peterborough), Kevin Sandwith (Macclesfield), Ciaran Toner (Grimsby)
Martin Carruthers, Ritchie Hanlon

BBC Sport verdict: Three successive play-off failures have taken their toll and Lincoln's squad has undergone major surgery throughout the summer.

Another season of challenging at the business end could prove beyond the Imps this time.

Key man: Gareth McAuley


Nickname: The Silkmen
Ground: Moss Rose
Capacity: 6,235
Last season: 5th
Manager: Brian Horton (March 2004)

In: Michael Symes (Bradford, loan), Kevin Sandwith (Lincoln), David Beresford (Tranmere), Martin Bullock (Blackpool), Kevin Townson (Rochdale), Allan Russell (St Mirren)

Out: Matt Tipton (Mansfield)
Matt Carragher, Joey Jones, Graham Potter, Tommy Rooney, Michael Welch, Steve Wilson, Steven Brackenridge

BBC Sport verdict: The Silkmen will fancy their chances of automatic promotion after going so close last time around under the shrewd guidance of Brian Horton.

If Jon Parkin's 22 league goals are repeated this season they have every chance of continuing what has been a remarkable turnaround at Moss Rose.

Key man: Jon Parkin


Nickname: The Stags
Ground: Field Mill
Capacity: 9,990
Last season: 13th
Manager: Carlton Palmer (November 2004)

In: Matt Tipton (Macclesfield), Jason Talbot (Bolton), Adam Birchall (Arsenal), Gus Uhlenbeek (Wycombe), Gavin Peers (Blackburn), Stephen Dawson (Leicester), Jon Olav Hjelde (Nott'm Forest)

Out: Colin Larkin (Chesterfield), Kevin Pilkington (Notts County), Luke Dimech (Chester), David Artell (Chester), Tom Curtis (Chester)
Scott McNiven, Alex Neil

BBC Sport verdict: The Stags had a difficult season after losing manager Keith Curle halfway through, frustrated by a lack of consistency.

But Carlton Palmer has added some useful experience to some talented young players and will be setting his sights on a top seven finish.

Key man: Matthew Tipton


Nickname: The Cobblers
Ground: Sixfields Stadium
Capacity: 7,653
Last season: 7th
Manager: Colin Calderwood (October 2003)

In: Eoin Jess (Nottm Forest), Chris Doig (Nottm Forest), Ian Taylor (Derby), Brett Johnson (Aldershot, undisclosed), Jason Crowe (Grimsby), Sean Dyche (Watford), Lawrie Dudfield (Southend, non-contract)

Out: Chris Willmott (Oxford), Ryan Doherty (Boston, undisclosed), Chris Carruthers (Bristol Rovers), Lee Williamson (Rotherham), Tommy Jaszczun (Rochdale)
Luke GrahamBBC Sport verdict: The Cobblers look a good bet to replicate last season's play-off place after a good summer of wheeling and dealing from Colin Calderwood.

The experience of Ian Taylor and Eoin Jess in midfield could give them the know-how to go the extra step.

Key man: Andy Kirk


Nickname: The Magpies
Ground: Meadow Lane
Capacity: 20,300
Last season: 19th
Manager: Gudjon Thordarson (May 2005)

In: Kevin Pilkington (Mansfield), Brian O'Callaghan (Worksop), Lewis McMahon (Sheff Wed), Andy White (Crewe), Dan Martin (Derby)

Out: Stefan Oakes (Wycombe), Paul Bolland (Grimsby), Shaun Harrad (Burton)

BBC Sport verdict: County could be set for a repeat of last season's struggles as Gudjon Thordarson attempts to stamp his own mark on the Meadow Lane squad.

The Icelander will need to improve their terrible home form if they are to steer clear of relegation.

Key man: Glynn Hurst


Nickname: The U's
Ground: The Kassam Stadium
Capacity: 12,450
Last season: 15th
Manager: Brian Talbot (May 2005)

In: Chris Willmott (Northampton), Stuart Gray (Rushden), Billy Turley (Rushden), Lee Mansell (Luton), Chris Hargreaves (Brentford)
Jude Stirling

Out: Tommy Mooney (Wycombe), Paul Wanless (Forest Green), Dave Mackay (Livingston), David Woozley (Crawley)
Danny Brown, Emiliano Diaz, Mateo Corbo, Amine Karam, Lucas Cominelli, Simon Cox, Alan Judge

BBC Sport verdict: Oxford under-achieved badly last season and changes in the managerial department did not help much, so consistency under Brian Talbot is a must.

They will miss the goals of Tommy Mooney and will be desperate to keep highly-rated 19-year-old striker Craig Davies, who could have a real impact.

Key man: Steve Basham


Nickname: Posh
Ground: London Road
Capacity: 15,300
Last season: 23rd League One (relegated)
Manager: Mark Wright (May 2005)

In: Lee Harrison (Leyton Orient), Peter Gain (Lincoln), Paul Carden (Chester), Dean Holden (Oldham), Trevor Benjamin (Coventry), Danny Crow (Norwich), James Quinn (Sheffield Wednesday)

Out: Curtis Woodhouse (Hull, 25,000), Danny Sonner (Port Vale), Craig Ireland (Falkirk)

BBC Sport verdict: Posh will have to start afresh after relegation and promotion at the first attempt looks unlikely, even with the appointment of Mark Wright as manager.

Wright has wasted little time adding experience to his squad in the shape of Peter Gain and Trevor Benjamin to try and steady the ship.

Key man: Danny Crow


Nickname: Dale
Ground: Spotland
Capacity: 10,208
Last season: 9th
Manager: Steve Parkin (December 2003)

In: Jon Boardman (Woking), Lee Cartwright (Stockport), Tommy Jaszczun (Northampton), Rory McArdle (Sheffield Wednesday, loan)

Out: Kevin Townson (Macclesfield), Leo Bertos, Wayne Evans (Kidderminster), Daryl Burgess (Kidderminster), Leighton McGivern, Neil Edwards (Bury)

BBC Sport verdict: Boss Steve Parkin turned their fortunes around last term and this might just be the season Rochdale climb out of the basement division.

Grant Holt hit the back of the net 24 times last time and the promising young striker will be crucial to Dale's play-off prospects.

Key man: Grant Holt


Nickname: Diamonds
Ground: Nene Park
Capacity: 6,441
Last season: 22nd
Manager: Barry Hunter (January 2005)

In: Jamie Young (Reading, loan), Dan Chillingworth (Cambridge), Greg Pearson (West Ham), Neil McCafferty (Charlton)
Andy Woodman

Out: Stuart Gray (Oxford), Billy Turley (Oxford), Craig Dove (Chester)
Andrew Sambrook, Robert Duffy, Sean Connelly, Adrian Littlejohn, Alex Hay and Lee Worgan

BBC Sport verdict: Having struggled in their first season back in League Two, the future looks decidedly bleak for the Diamonds despite the emerging managerial skills of Barry Hunter.

The loss of chairman Max Griggs last term was a blow to their funding and Rushden will do well to once again avoid the drop back into the Conference.

Key man: Andy Burgess


Nickname: The Shrews
Ground: Gay Meadow
Capacity: 8,000
Last season: 21st
Manager: Gary Peters (November 2004)

In: Jay Denny (Stoke), Ben Herd (Watford), Steven Hogg (Man Utd), Neil Ashton (Tranmere), Kevin Sharp (Scunthorpe), Mark Stallard (Barnsley), Neil Sorvel (Crewe), Glyn Thompson (Chesterfield)

Out: Sam Aiston (Tranmere), Jake Sedgemore (Bury), Luke Rodgers (Crewe)
Martyn O'Connor, Liam Murray, Scott Howie, Kevin Street, Ross Stephens, Mike Sheron and Trevor Challis

BBC Sport verdict: The Shrews survived the drop in their first season back in the Football League and boss Gary Peters has led a clearout to try and lift his side up the table this time around.

Mark Stallard is a proven goalscorer in the lower leagues and will be expected to fill the goalscoring boots of Luke Rodgers.

Key man: Steven Hogg


Nickname: The Hatters
Ground: Edgeley Park
Capacity: 11,500
Last season: 24th League One (relegated)
Manager: Chris Turner (December 2004)

In: Rob Clare (Blackpool), Jermaine Easter (Boston), Mark Robinson (Hereford), Tes Bramble (Southend), Ross Greenwood (Sheffield Wednesday)
Ludovic Dje, Danny Boshell, Michel Wolski

Out: Mat Bailey (Crewe), Jim Goodwin (Scunthorpe), Lee Cartwright (Rochdale), Stuart Barlow (Bury), John Hardiker (Bury), Danny Jackman (Gillingham), Marvin Robinson (Lincoln),
Chris Armstrong

BBC Sport verdict: After a horrific season last time things can only get better for Stockport and the club is now in the hands of the Supporters Trust.

Tes Bramble is an exciting signing for the Hatters but a push for the play-offs may prove to be beyond Chris Turner's side.

Key man: Tes Bramble


Nickname: The Gulls
Ground: Plainmoor
Capacity: 6,200
Last season: 21st League One (relegated)
Manager: Leroy Rosenior (July 2002)

In: Darren Garner (Rotherham), Matt Hewlett (Swindon), James Bittner (Exeter), Matt Villis (Plymouth), Mamadou Sow (Villenonble), James Sharp (Falkirk), Malike Sako (Delemont FC), Alan Connell (Bournemouth, undisclosed)

Out: Alex Russell (Bristol City), Lee Canoville (Boston), Adebayo Akinfenwa (Swansea, 110,000)
Paul Jarvie, Zema Abbey

BBC Sport verdict: The Gulls were unlucky to be relegated on the last day of the season and they will want an immediate return to League One.

The loss of Adebayo Akinfenwa to Swansea is a blow but Leon Constantine could step up to the plate to fire their promotion push.

Key man: Leon Constantine


Nickname: Red Dragons
Ground: Racecourse Ground
Capacity: 15,500
Last season: 22nd League One (relegated)
Manager: Denis Smith (October 2001)

In: Jon Walters (Hull), David Bayliss (Luton), Lee Roche (Burnley), Michael Ingham (Sunderland), Lee McEvilly (Accrington)

Out: Juan Ugarte (Crewe) Carlos Edwards (Luton), Hector Sam (Port Vale), Craig Morgan (MK Dons, tribunal), Chris Llewellyn (Hartlepool, undisclosed), Ryan Harrison (Forest Green), Karl Munroe (Altrincham)
Scott Green, Andy Dibble, Chris Armstrong

BBC Sport verdict: Wrexham lost their League One status largely due to a 10-point deduction for going into administration and they will fancy their chances of bouncing straight back.

Prolific striker Juan Ugarte's exit was perhaps inevitable but Jon Walters and Lee McEvilly could fill their boots in the Football League's basement division.

Key man: Lee Roche


Nickname: The Chairboys
Ground: Causeway Stadium
Capacity: 10,000
Last season: 10th
Manager: John Gorman (November 2004)

In: Mike Williamson (Southampton), Charlie Griffin (Forest Green), Stefan Oakes (Notts County), Tommy Mooney (Oxford), Will Antwi (Aldershot), Kevin Betsy (Oldham), Chris Carruthers (Northampton)

Out: Gus Uhlenbeek (Mansfield), Adrian Caceres
Steve Claridge

BBC Sport verdict: Boss John Gorman has used his contacts in the game to preside over a summer signing spree at the Causeway Stadium as Wycombe aim to push for promotion back to League One.

Strikers Nathan Tyson and Tommy Mooney could form a deadly strike duo and if they click Wycombe could be in for a fabulous season.

Key man: Nathan Tyson

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