With a few weeks to go until kick off with our away trip to Macclesfield to start the new season I thought I would take a look at our opponents in League 2 and give my opinion on where we may finish. I have fed all the data I could find into a super computer (ahem me) and after a lot of thought I have decided to stick my neck out and go with what I think will happen.
It's not easy predicting final positions, after all who would have bet on Steveange getting back to back promotions last year or Chesterfield winning the League?. So for a bit of fun (yes I'm bored again, roll on tomorrow and that bacon burger that has been calling my name for months), here are where I think some of the teams competing with us this year will finish.
Tough one to call but I believe it will be between Crawley and Swindon to be honest. Crawley because they have spent money they probably don't have, and like Notts County before them will continue to throw money at it until they either go broke or that bastard Evans is arrested again, and Swindon because I believe last season was an utter freak. They fell into a bad run of form and couldn't get out of it. Play-off finalists the year before, they then lost two of their best players hit an awful run of form, and before they knew it they were down. They will have had the summer to re-group, confidence will return, and I expect them to bounce back as champions.
The remaining slots for automatic promotion I think will be between Southend, Gillingham and Rotherham. Southend I am reliably informed by my Southend supporting mate, are going to be a force to be reckoned with this year so Tommy mate here's to you having egg all over your face with love Anthony. Now then Gillingham came close last year and I expect them to be too strong for most sides in League 2 next year, having spent the summer without the disappointment of relegation, they will know what to expect from League 2 this year and will be up and running from the start. Rotherham, many expected them to go up last year, but I think the play-off defeat by us (ah the memories) took it's toll last year. They know what needs to be done to be in contention in this league and I expect them to get the job finally done.
Taking into account that there are three automatic promotion slots and I've already named five sides I think will be in contention for the automatic slots that leaves me with two more spaces. AFC Wimbledon I think will be in contention for a play-off spot this year. Having been cheated out of the title by Crwaley and their bastard manager, I think they will be very strong this year and on the back of finally getting their place back in the league, which was rightfully theirs anyway, I'm sure they will be out to shut a lot of people up and get into League 1 as soon as possible. Who have I forgot? Oh yeah us, right then where do I think we will finish? In the play-offs. The loss of Romain Vincelot and Danny Green will hit us hard as that's 22 out of the 52 goals we scored last year gone. However the stage is set for another Daggers hero to emerge with a returning Josh Scott, the emerging Alex Osborn and DJ Green and an unchanged back 5 back I think we will make the play-offs comfortably. Will we go back up? It's all about how you perform on the day as we well know.
There are five teams in this as far as I'm concerned, Barnet, Cheltenham, Macclesfied, Hereford and Plymouth. Barnet have flirted with relegation for what seems like forever and along with Macclesfield and Hereford I think they will finally run out of luck and two of these will drop out of the league. Some of you may be surprised by my inclusion of Plymouth but they are in an utter mess, players not getting paid for months, no money to spend, and with relegation hanging over them from last year I wouldn't be surprised to see them drop out of the League. No club is ever too big to go down and if they do I really fear for them as the conference is a very unforgiving league for teams who think they are bigger than they actually are.
So with less than two weeks to go, the home friendlies starting tomorrow with the full-first team squad, are you getting excited yet?. It's going to be a superb season of heartbreak, ecstasy and tears, let's hope we are on the right side of the tears come the 5th May this season.