Coca Cola League 1

July 31, 2004
By Norman Hubbard
(Archive)

Barnsley

Last season 12th
Manager Paul Hart


In: Tony Vaughan (Mansfield, free), Tom Williams (Birmingham, free), Barry Conlon (Darlington, free), Matt Carbon (Walsall, free), Bobby Hassell (Mansfield, free), Nick Colgan (Hibernian, free), Stephen McPhail (Leeds, free), Folawiyo Onibuje (free), Paul Reid (Northampton, undisclosed).
Out: Garry Monk (Swansea, free), Marlon Beresford (Luton, free), Isaiah Rankin (Brentford, free), Adam Oldham, Alexander Neil, Tony Gallimore, Brian O'Callaghan, Craig Ireland, Daniel Alcock, Dean Gorre, Griff Jones, Peter Handyside, Steve Hayward (all released)

Another summer of upheaval at Oakwell, but Paul Hart's signings show Barnsley's ambition, with Stephen McPhail the most eye-catching arrival.

Expect good football but Barnsley, who had the joint worst scoring record at home, need to be more clinical. Michael Boulding, signed at the end of last season, summer arrival Barry Conlon and on-loan Manchester United forward Daniel Nardiello bear the responsibility for scoring more goals.

If they do, Hart's Barnsley could mount a promotion push.

Key man: Stephen McPhail.

Blackpool

Last season 14th
Manager Colin Hendry


In: Keigan Parker (St Johnstone, free), Paul Edwards (Wrexham, free), Rob Edwards (Preston, free)
Out: Steve Davis (York, free), Tommy Jaszczun (Northampton, free), Kirk Hilton (released), Phil Barnes (Sheffield United, free)

Habitual LDV Vans Trophy winners, but Blackpool must be looking to escape Division Two after the end of Steve McMahon's long spell in charge.

Colin Hendry is a newcomer to management, but keeping 27-goal forward (and Sheffield Wednesday target) Scott Taylor and signing Keigan Parker suggests the Seasiders could score plenty of goals.

Blackpool will be one of the better footballing teams in the division, but only won 16 league games last season; Hendry's job involves getting them to reproduce their cup form in League One.

Key man: Scott Taylor.

Bournemouth

Last season 9th
Manager Sean O'Driscoll


In: Dani Rodrigues (free)
Out: Warren Feeney (Stockport, tribunal)

Bournemouth were not the only club on a small budget to upset some of Division Two's bigger clubs last season, but that should not obscure Sean O'Driscoll's feat at the Fitness First Stadium.

But striker Warren Feeney's decision to swap Dorset for Stockport is a setback, especially as no team in the top 10 last year scored fewer goals. The long-serving Steve Fletcher, with just nine, could do better while new signing Dani Rodrigues has to hope his injury nightmare ends.

His namesake Carl broke into the Wales squad and is one of several players Bournemouth have done well to hang on to, but the play-offs could prove beyond a small squad again.

Key man: Carl Fletcher.

Bradford City

Last season 23rd (Division One)
Manager Colin Todd


In: -
Out: Mark Paston (Walsall, free), Michael Standing (Walsall, free), Paul Heckingbottom (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Michael Branch (Chester, undisclosed), Robert Wolleaston (Oxford, free), Danny Cadamarteri (Leeds, free), Gareth Edds (MK Dons, free), Alan Combe (Kilmarnock, free), Peter Folkes (Lincoln, free).

Bradford have lurched from crisis to crisis in recent years, but at least Bantams fans still have a club to support.

However, new manager Colin Todd has a threadbare squad. Promotion immediately appears extremely unlikely and another relegation battle rather more possible.

Though Dean Windass has stayed, there is a distinct shortage of goalscorers in Bradford's squad and their prospects may depend on who Todd, with his meagre budget, can sign.

Key man: David Wetherall.

Brentford

Last season 17th
Manager Martin Allen


In: Scott Fitzgerald (Colchester, free), Andy Myers (Colchester, free), Isaiah Rankin (Barnsley, free), Sam Sodje (Margate, free), Chris Hargreaves (Northampton, free), Deon Burton (Portsmouth, free), John Salako (Reading, free).
Out: Ibrahima Sonko (Reading, free), Danny Thomas, Dean Wells, Lee Fieldwick, Stephen Evans, Stephen Hughes, Alan Julian, Jay Smith (all released).

Manager Martin Allen's arrival from Barnet saved Brentford from relegation last season and his analysis of their problems - a lack of goals from the forwards - has resulted in two major signings.

Deon Burton should rectify that problem, but it remains to be seen if it will persuade left winger Stephen Hunt, top scorer last year, to stay or whether John Salako's introduction will pre-empt his sale.

Brentford should not flirt with relegation this season, but anything above mid-table will still be an achievement.

Key man: Deon Burton.

Bristol City

Last season 3rd
Manager Brian Tinnion


In: Stephen Gillespie (Liverpool, free), Paul Heffernan (Notts County, £125,000), Bradley Orr (Newcastle, free)
Out: Lee Matthews (Port Vale, free), Scott Brown (Cheltenham, free), Tony Rougier, Matthew Hill (both released), Lee Peacock (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Joe Burnell (Wycombe, free), Louis Carey (Coventry, free).

Bristol City were nearly men for Danny Wilson's four-year reign. Long-serving midfielder Brian Tinnion replaces him, charged with finally achieving promotion.

The departures of reliable defender Louis Carey and top scorer Lee Peacock don't help, but Paul Heffernan's 20 goals for relegated Notts County bode well for his chances in a better side.

More will be expected from fellow forwards Christian Roberts and Lee Miller but with Scott Murray back for a second stint on the right wing and captain Tom Doherty influential as ever in midfield, Tinnion has a strong squad to start his managerial career.

Key man: Scott Murray.

Chesterfield

Last season 20th
Manager Roy McFarland.


In: Wayne Allison (Sheffield United, free), Mark DeBolla (Charlton, free), Shane Nicholson (Tranmere, free), Alex Bailey (Arsenal, free)
Out: Stuart Howson (Accrington, free), Chris Brandon (Huddersfield, free), Glynn Hurst (Notts County, free), Gus Uhlenbeek (Wycombe, free), Mark Smith, David Reeves, Jamie Fullarton, Marvin Robinson, Matt O'Halloran (all released)

Chesterfield narrowly avoided relegation last year and another battle against the drop appears to beckon for manager McFarland.

Glynn Hurst's 13 goals were one reason they stayed up, but he is gone and veteran target man Wayne Allison leads the attack of Division Two's second lowest scorers.

Midfielder Chris Brandon will be missed and mid-table is the best Chesterfield can hope for.

Key man: Ian Evatt

Colchester United

Last season 11th
Manager Phil Parkinson


In: Stephen Hunt (Southampton, free), Liam Chilvers (Arsenal, free), George Elokobi (Dulwich, free), Aidan Davison (Grimsby, free), Kevin Watson (Reading, free), Wayne Brown (Watford, free)
Out: Scott Fitzgerald (Brentford, free), Andy Myers (Brentford, free), Scott McGleish (Northampton, free), Alan White (Leyton Orient, free), Simon Brown (Hibernian, free), Gavin Johnson (released), Richard McKinney (Walsall, free), Bobby Bowry, Sam Stockley, Thomas Pinault (all released)

An end-of-season clear-out suggests mid-table and a cup run was not enough for manager Phil Parkinson.

Kevin Watson brings leadership to the midfield and a handy habit of earning promotion while defender Wayne Brown has been signed after a loan spell, but there is a youthful look to the attack of Wayne Andrews and Craig Fagan.

Limited resources are one constraint on Parkinson, but after keeping Kemal Izzet and Andrews, his side could press for a top 10 finish.

Key man: Kevin Watson.

Doncaster Rovers

Last season 1st (Division Three)
Manager Dave Penney.


In: Jermaine McSporran (Walsall, free), James Coppinger (Exeter, undisclosed), Nick Fenton (Notts County, free), Nicholas Priet (Leicester, free), Guy Ipoua (free).
Out: Steve Burton (Scarborough, free), Adebayo Akinfenwa (Torquay, free), Robert Gill (Scarborough, free), Barry Richardson, Rob O'Brien (both released)

Doncaster made light work of Division Three last year, but should find League One a tougher proposition.

But Jermaine McSporran adds pace to an attack which includes last year's 20-goal top scorer Gregg Blundell and creative winger Michael McIndoe.

There are few changes elsewhere, meaning much of Penney's Conference team remain so it would be unrealistic to expect a second promotion push.

Key man: Michael McIndoe.

Hartlepool United

Last season 6th
Manager Neale Cooper


In: Jack Ross (Clyde, free)
Out: Jermaine Easter (Cambridge, free), Brian Ross, Mark Robinson, Anthony Williams, Scott Walker, Stephen Carson (all released)

The Second Division's surprise package last season, Hartlepool were tipped for relegation and ended in the play-offs and with the best away record.

Pools have kept all their key players and, most importantly, manager Neale Cooper, surely destined for a bigger club.

Opponents will be more wary of facing Hartlepool and their chances of a top six finish this year could depend on how they cope with greater expectations. If Adam Boyd (12 goals in 10 starts last year) can continue his progress, they could cause more upsets.

Key man: Adam Boyd.

Huddersfield Town

Last season 4th (Division Three, play-off winners)
Manager Peter Jackson


In: Junior Mendes (Mansfield), Chris Brandon (Chesterfield)
Out: Tyrone Thompson (Scarborough, free), Iffy Onuora (Walsall, free), Dwayne Mattis (Bury, free), Jon Newby (Bury, free), Paul Scott, Ian Hughes (both released)

Peter Jackson transformed Huddersfield from a relegated rabble to play-off winners aided by a sprinkling of younger players.

Jon Stead is long gone, but the scouts could be watching John McAliskey and Nathan Clarke, while at the other end of the age spectrum striker Andy Booth, like Jackson, is enjoying a successful second stint at the McAlpine Stadium.

Midfielder Chris Brandon and striker Junior Mendes look astute acquisitions and Huddersfield should be able to survive comfortably.

Key man: Andy Booth.

Hull City

Last season 2nd (Division Three)
Manager Peter Taylor


In: Leon Cort (Southend, free), Michael Keane (Preston, £50,000), Roland Edge (Hibernian, free), Delroy Facey (West Brom, free), Sergio Leite (Charlton, free), Nick Barmby (Leeds, free), Aaron Wilbraham (Stockport, £100,000), Junior Lewis (Leicester, free)
Out: Justin Whittle (Grimsby, free), Adrian Caceres (Yeovil, free), Paul Musselwhite (Scunthorpe, free), Steve Burton (Kidderminster, free), Jamie Forrester (Bristol Rovers, free), Alan Fettis (Macclesfield, free), Andy Holt, Shaun Smith (both released)

Hull have the infrastructure, finance and ambition to play at a higher level and, after Peter Taylor finally ended their stint in Division Three, a second promotion is clearly the aim.

Top scorer Ben Burgess' cruciate injury will hamper them but Delroy Facey and Danny Allsopp offer a guarantee of goals and the signing of Nick Barmby is a coup for his hometown club.

Midfielders Junior Lewis, now playing under Taylor for the fifth time, and Michael Keane are also among the arrivals and, if they gel, Hull could compete for a top two finish.

Key man: Nick Barmby.

Luton Town

Last season 10th
Manager Mike Newell


In: Marlon Beresford (Barnsley, free)
Out: Adrian Forbes (Swansea, free), Matthew Spring (Leeds, free), Morten Hyldgaard (released), Emmerson Boyce (Crystal Palace, free)

Mike Newell made an encouraging start as Luton manager and managed to keep target man Steve Howard at Kenilworth Road this summer, despite interest from Sheffield Wednesday.

But Newell is yet to replace defender Emmerson Boyce and midfielder Matthew Spring and, after emerging from administration, his budget is limited.

Luton's home form took them close to the play-offs last year, but conceded too many goals (66), hence the arrival of keeper Marlon Beresford. The top six will probably prove beyond them again.

Key man: Marlon Beresford.

Milton Keynes Dons

Last season 24th (Division One)
Manager Stuart Murdoch.


In: Gareth Edds (Bradford, free), Steve Palmer (QPR, free), Julien Hornuss (Sedan Ardennes, free), Laurent Herve (unattached, free), Izale McLeod (Derby, free).
Out: Wayne Gray (Southend, free), Peter Hawkins (Rushden, free), Rob Gier (Rushden, free), Nico Herzig (SV Wacker Burghausen, undisclosed), Dean Holdsworth (Havant & Waterlooville, free), Warren Barton (retired), Lionel Morgan, Darren Holloway, Albert Jarrett, Jermaine Darlington, Michael Gordon (all released)

A rebranded team in a rebranded league, the Milton Keynes Dons' brave new world appears to offer little other than another relegation battle.

Key players were sold last season, big earners released in the summer and if the best of the young crop - Ben Chorley and Dean Lewington - continue to impress, they will surely be next to leave.

Melvin Kamara, with just two, is last season's leading scorer still at the club and, if new signings Izale McLeod and Allan Smart don't score, who will? Manager Stuart Murdoch has a thankless task, and it might get harder.

Key man: Steve Palmer.

Oldham Athletic

Last season 15th
Manager Brian Talbot


In: Mark Arber (Peterborough, free), Rodney Jack (Rushden, free), Mark Bonner (Cardiff, free), Jermaine Johnson (Bolton, free)
Out: Carlos Roca (Carlisle, free), Paul Murray (Beira Mar, free), Steve Corry (Kettering, free), John Sheridan (retired), Darren Sheridan (released)

Oldham spent last summer selling off their star players and 15th was a respectable finish for a depleted team.

But Brian Talbot's appointment appears to herald greater ambition and quick winger Rodney Jack has followed him from Rushden and Diamonds.

But a regular goalscorer is needed - with Chris Killen the most likely candidate - and Paul Murray's move to Portugal weakens the midfield, so they may have to settle for mid-table again.

Key man: Rodney Jack.

Peterborough United

Last season 18th
Manager Barry Fry


In: Leon Constantine (Southend, free), Andre Boucard (Reading, free),
Out: Mark Arber (Oldham, free), Mathew Gill (Notts County, free), Tom Williams (Barnsley, free), Bradley Thomas, Dennis Pearce (both released)

Peterborough have flirted with relegation for each of the past three seasons and old stagers Barry Fry and Bobby Gould are more popular with the media than the Posh support.

Fry has been unusually quiet in the transfer market this summer but Southend top-scorer Leon Constantine should fill the void left by Leon McKenzie's move to Norwich last year.

Peterborough's away form saved them last season and need more than five home wins this year if they are to dodge the drop again.

Key man: Leon Constantine.

Port Vale

Last season 7th
Manager Martin Foyle


In: Lee Matthews (Bristol City, free), Jeff Smith (Bolton, free), Dean Smith (Sheff Wed, free), Robin Hulbert (free).
Out: Steve McPhee (Beira Mar, free), Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (Stockport, free), Neil Brisco (Rochdale, free), Adrian Littlejohn, Dean Delaney, Liam Burns (all released)

Port Vale arguably over-achieved last year and Martin Foyle's job in his first full season in management is all the tougher for the loss of two key players.

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson has joined rivals Stockport while 27-goal Steve McPhee's move to Portugal means much rests on his replacement Lee Matthews, plus teenager Billy Paynter and Steve Brooker.

Dean Smith will bring leadership to the defence but another play-off push looks well beyond Vale.

Key man: Lee Matthews.

Sheffield Wednesday

Last season 16th
Manager Chris Turner


In: Steven MacLean (Rangers, undisclosed), David Lucas (Preston, £100,000), Paul Heckingbottom (Bradford, free), Jon-Paul McGovern (Livingston, free), Lee Bullen (Dunfermline, free), Lee Peacock (Bristol City, free), Glenn Whelan (Manchester City, free), Guy Branston (Rotherham, free), Patrick Collins (Sunderland, free), Chris Marsden (Busan Icons, free)
Out: Leigh Bromby (Sheffield United, free), Alan Quinn (Sheffield United, free), Dean Smith (Port Vale, free), Mark Robins (Burton, free), Brian Barry-Murphy, Chris Stringer, Derek Geary, Jon Beswetherick, Kevin Pressman, Paul McLaren, Robbie Mustoe, Steven Haslam, Terry Cooke (all released)

Sheffield Wednesday will hope last season was the nadir for a proud club. They finished as the division's lowest scorers and, but for a good start, might have been embroiled in a relegation struggle.

Enter strikers Lee Peacock and Steven McLean, who scored 41 goals at Bristol City and Scunthorpe respectively. Guy Branston will add muscle to the defence while lifelong Wednesday fan Chris Marsden provides much-needed leadership in the midfield.

Manager Chris Turner has kept his job and is under pressure to reverse Wednesday's long slide. A play-off place is the least that will be expected but a much-changed team need to discover a winning habit.

Key man: Chris Marsden.

Stockport County

Last season 19th
Manager Sammy McIlroy


In: Lee Mair (Dundee, free), Neil Cutler (Stoke, free), Warren Feeney (Bournemouth, tribunal), Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (Port Vale, free), Derek Geary (Sheffield Wednesday, free).
Out: Dave Challinor (Bury, free), Aaron Wilbraham (Hull City, £100,000), Kevin Ellison (released)

Sammy McIlroy made Stockport hard to beat on their travels last year and a poor home record was the reason they only avoided relegation by two points.

This year promises more. The combination of McIlroy's fellow Ulsterman Warren Feeney and fit-again Luke Beckett could be among the division's best strike partnerships, while Marc Bridge-Wilkinson brings welcome creativity to the midfield.

Carlton Palmer won few games, but left McIlroy several talented youngsters and Stockport could mount a challenge for a top six place.

Key man: Luke Beckett.

Swindon Town

Last season 5th
Manager Andy King


In: Jerel Ifil (Watford, £70,000), Lloyd Opara (Grays Athletic, free)
Out: Bart Griemink (Southend, free), Tommy Mooney (Oxford, free), Leigh Mills (Tottenham, tribunal), Jon Stevenson, Ben Martin (both released)

After impressive progress last year, Swindon manager Andy King has strengthened his defence with the signing of Watford defender Jerel Ifil.

Only the top two scored more goals than Swindon last year but the surprise move of 19-goal Tommy Mooney to Oxford means Rory Fallon - a useful substitute last year - will get the chance to partner Sam Parkin.

King has kept the rest of his squad together but a second play-off place may just elude Swindon.

Key man: Rory Fallon.

Torquay United

Last season 3rd (Division Three)
Manager Leroy Rosenior.


In: Adebayo Akinfenwa (Doncaster, free), Matt Villis (Plymouth, loan), Gareth Owen (Stoke, loan), Richard Bouton (free), Martin Phillips (free).
Out: David Graham (Wigan, £215,000), David Woozley (Oxford, free), Jimmy Benefield, Joseph Broad, Kevin Wills, Reuben Hazell (all released)

Getting Torquay promoted marked Leroy Rosenior out as a manager of considerable potential, but fulfilling it at Plainmoor will be difficult.

David Graham's 22 goals earned him a move to Wigan so Rosenior will look to Joe Osei-Kuffour (10) and newcomer Adebayo Akinfenwa for goals. On the wing, he has recruited Martin Phillips, tipped by Alan Ball to be Britain's first £10 million player but now at his third Devon club.

But without more significant additions to a small squad, keeping Torquay up could be harder than earning promotion was.

Key man: Alex Russell.

Tranmere Rovers

Last season 8th
Manager Brian Little.


In: Jason McAteer (Sunderland, free), Mark Rankine (Sheffield United, free), Calvin Zola (Newcastle, free), Michael Jackson (Preston, free), Theodore Whitmore (unattached)
Out: Sean Connelly (Rushden, free), Alex Hay (Rushden, free), Graham Allen (Rushden, free), Thomas Rooney (Macclesfield, free), Jamie McGuire, Shane Nicholson, Mickey Mellon (all released)

Had Brian Little been in charge of Tranmere from the start of last season, they would surely have finished higher. After a summer of intelligent signings, they start this campaign among the promotion favourites.

New captain Jason McAteer is the most prominent arrival while Michael Jackson should shore up a defence who conceded too many goals away from home.

Aided by the creativity of Paul Hall and Iain Hume, there should be no shortage of goalscorers with Eugene Dadi joined by fit-again Simon Haworth and newcomer Calvin Zola. With no obvious weaknesses, Tranmere could be hard to stop.

Key man: Michael Jackson.

Walsall

Last season 22nd (Division One) Player-
Manager Paul Merson.


In: Mark Paston (Bradford, free), Michael Standing (Bradford, free), Richard McKinney (Colchester, free), Iffy Onuora (Huddersfield, free), Mark Kinsella (West Brom, free).
Out: James Walker (West Ham, free), Jermaine McSporran (Doncaster, free), Matt Carbon (Barnsley, free), Lee Bradbury (Oxford, free), Karl Hawley, Craig Burley, Gavin Caines, Pedro Matias, Mario Lopez-Soler, Andy Petterson, Nick Smith (all released)

Paul Merson's first win in management coincided with relegation and the player-boss has a depleted squad at his disposal as he looks for an instant return to the higher division.

Top scorer Jorge Leitao managed just seven goals last season and, despite the arrival of the veteran Iffy Onuora, the Walsall squad is short of strikers while long-serving keeper Jimmy Walker will be missed. Mark Kinsella, however, looks an excellent signing and a potential captain.

Much rests on Merson - how he plays, how often he plays and how he adapts to management. His side may have to settle for a place in mid-table.

Key man: Paul Merson.

Wrexham

Last season 13th
Manager Denis Smith


In: Danny Williams (Bristol Rovers, free), Dean Bennett (Kidderminster, free), Alex Smith (Chester, free), Andy Holt (Hull, free).
Out: Shaun Holmes (Glentoran, free), Stephen Thomas (Darlington, free), Paul Edwards (Blackpool, free), Paul Barrett, Paul Whitfield (both released)

The veteran Denis Smith has guided Wrexham to promotion and then mid-table obscurity in the last two seasons and it is unrealistic to expect too much more this season.

Quick winger Carlos Edwards misses much of the year with injury, making his compatriot and striker Hector Sam's job harder.

Smith has strengthened his midfield and left flank this summer and a fully fit Chris Armstrong is important in attack.

Key man: Hector Sam.

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