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A Look At The New Clubs In League 1 (pt.II)

9 June 2014

We run our eye over the sides that are making the leap up from the league below...

In the final piece of a two-part series, we take a closer look at the seven new teams that will be joining League One in the 2014-15 season.

Here we will check out the three sides that were promoted from the Sky Bet League Two last year.

Scunthorpe United

Manager: After replacing Brian Laws as Scunthorpe’s caretaker manager in November last year, Russ Wilcox was installed as the Iron’s permanent boss a month later and quickly became a revelation in the Glanford Park hot seat. 

Wilcox took charge with the club positioned in 12th place in the table but quickly masterminded a sensational resurrection, managing to stay unbeaten for his first 28 games in charge. Indeed, Scunthorpe’s only league defeat under Wilcox last season came against Exeter on the penultimate weekend of the season. Ironically, the maiden loss would be enough to secure automatic promotion for the Iron.

Last Season: Following their relegation from League One the season before, Scunthorpe enjoyed a solid, if not spectacular, start to the new season, losing just one of their first ten games and finding themselves in the play-offs at the start of October.

However, things began to quickly turn sour for manager Brian Laws as they lost three of their next five league matches and swiftly fell down the table. A defeat to arch rivals Grimsby Town in the first round of the FA Cup was enough for Peter Swann to remove Laws as manager and replace him with his assistant Russ Wilcox. 

It would prove to be a masterstroke from the chairman as the Iron won seven of Wilcox’s first nine games in League Two, quickly manoeuvring themselves to the summit of the division. 

Five consecutive league draws between January and February would prove to be the only real blip in the Iron’s season under Wilcox as they were eventually promoted in second place after a 2-2 draw with York on the final day of the season.

Key Player: Despite securing the marquee signing of Paddy Madden in the January transfer window, former Wolves striker Sam Winnall would steal the majority of the attacking limelight for Scunthorpe last season. 

The 23-year-old would go on to become the division’s top scorer last season, scoring 23 times in his first season for the club and the Iron now face a battle to keep hold of their hotshot striker over the summer. 

Last meeting against the O’s: Friday 29th March, 2013. (League One): Scunthorpe 2 – 1 Leyton Orient

Rochdale

Manager: After initially leaving the club in 2011 to join Barnsley, Keith Hill returned to Rochdale in January 2013, replacing John Coleman as manager.

After a solid start to his second spell at Spotland which saw the side finish 12th in the 2012-13 season, Hill guided the Dale to automatic promotion from League Two in his first full season back in charge.

Last season: Despite a comprehensive 3-0 win against Hartlepool on the opening day of the season, Rochdale’s 2013-14 season would get off to a shaky start as they failed to win in their next four games.
However, a 100 per cent record in September quickly saw the side begin to rise the table and the Dale continued their upward momentum, finding themselves in the thick of the promotion shake-up by the end of December.

Despite losing to Scunthorpe on New Year’s Day, Keith Hill’s side would go on to lose just one of their next ten games and were located comfortably within League Two’s automatic promotion places with two months of the season remaining.

A four-game winning run at the end of March saw the side fly to the top of the table, nine points clear of fourth placed Fleetwood with just six games left. However, back-to-back defeats to Mansfield and Southend in April meant that the nine point gap was quickly closed to just three, making for a very nervy end to the season.

But Hill’s men returned to form at just the right time, winning their next two games on the spin and gaining automatic promotion against Cheltenham with one week of the season remaining. 

Despite going into the final game of the season top of the table, Rochdale were unable to secure a fairy-tale title-winning end to the season as they lost 2-1 to Newport County on the last day and eventually finished third. 

Key Player: After initially leaving the club without making an appearance at the age of 19, Scott Hogan returned to Rochdale in the summer of 2013 after a successful stint in non-league.

The 22-year-old quickly showed the Dale faithful what they had been missing as he found the back of the net 17 times last season and finished as League Two’s second top scorer.

Last meeting against the O’s: Saturday 5th May, 2012. (League One): Leyton Orient 2 – 1 Rochdale


Chesterfield

Manager: Former Accrington Stanley manager Paul Cook joined Chesterfield in October 2012, leading the Spireites to an 8th place finish, just two points away from the play-offs, during his first season in charge. 
And after putting his own stamp on the side over the summer of 2013, Cook was able to mastermind a League Two title-winning campaign in his first full season as manager of the club.

Last season: hesterfield’s 2013-14 campaign got off to a flying start as the Spireites won seven of their first nine games, remaining unbeaten in the process and cementing themselves at the top of League Two by the end of September.

However, a first defeat of the season against Mansfield would spark a drastic downturn in fortunes as the side went without a win for the next six matches.
 
The Spireites would begin to regain some consistency for the remainder of the year and although they were unable to recapture their sensational early season form, Paul Cook’s side still found themselves top of the pile as they entered the new year. 

One loss from their first eight games in 2014 ensured that they would cement their place at the summit of the division by the end of February. The Spireites were also able to secure an early season trip to Wembley at the beginning of the year as they beat Fleetwood in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final.

It seemed as if the trip to the national stadium may have been playing on the team’s minds as Paul Cook’s men picked up just one win from their first seven games in March. However, despite eventually losing at Wembley to Peterborough, the Spireites would remain unbeaten for the last six games of the season, eventually sealing the League Two title on the final day of the season.

Key Player: Chesterfield looked to have secured one of the signings of the summer in League Two last season as they snapped up maverick midfielder Gary Roberts on a free transfer.

The winger did not fail to live up to the hype as he racked up ten assists and nine goals in just 27 appearances last season. The 30-year-old has a wealth of experience at League One level having previously plied his trade for Huddersfield and Swindon and should slip back into life in England’s third tier with ease. 

Last meeting against the O’s: Saturday 14th January, 2012. (League One): Leyton Orient 1 – 1 Chesterfield

Fleetwood Town

Manager: After a brief spell as caretaker manager of Preston North End in December 2011, Graham Alexander took up his first permanent managerial job at Fleetwood one year later.

Taking over from Micky Mellon, Alexander led the Cod Army to a 13th place finish in the club’s first spell in the Football League, before gaining promotion through the play-offs at Wembley last year in his first full season in charge.

Last season: Fleetwood got their season off to a very strong start as they won six of their first eight league games and found themselves firmly in the League Two automatic promotion places by the beginning of October.

The Cod Army’s consistent form would continue up until Christmas, with the side losing three times on the bounce over the festive period and dropping down to eighth place.

An unbeaten January, which saw the side win four consecutive games in the league, got Graham Alexander’s men back on track as they returned into serious contention for automatic promotion.

Defeat in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final against Chesterfield coincided with a mid-season wobble where the Cod Army won just once in seven games in League Two.

The side would continue to stutter in the final months of the season, failing to put together any real string of wins, and their inconsistent form eventually resulted in a fourth place finish and a spot in the play-offs.

A 1-0 aggregate win over York City in the play-off semi-finals was followed up by another 1-0 success against Burton Albion at Wembley, promoting Fleetwood to League One for the first time in the club’s history.

Key Player: 22-year-old Antoni Sarcevic enjoyed an extremely impressive debut season with Fleetwood last season as he scored 14 times from midfield for the Cod Army in 2013-14 and finished as the side’s top scorer.

Sarcavic scored the 75th minute winner at Wembley in the play-off final which secured promotion for the side and the former Chester man will now be looking to continue his fine form from last season in League One.

Last meeting against the O’s:
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