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The top end of League Two promises to be the most exciting section of any EFL division this upcoming season, making the League Two promotion odds fascinating viewing. Notts County and Wrexham are expected to throw their names straight into the mix following promotion from the National League, Milton Keynes Dons have come down from League One in decent shape, while some huge budgets for the level remain from Salford City, Stockport County, Bradford City and Gillingham.
The likes of Mansfield Town, Sutton United and Doncaster Rovers are looking capable coming into what feels like one of the toughest leagues to call in Europe. The division could benefit from additional media coverage this season with Wrexham coming up, which should put the league in good shape ahead of the new Sky TV deal that kicks in from 2024/25.
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Stockport ready for strong competition
Wembley penalty shoot-out failure has Stockport County in League Two again this season after a very impressive 2022/23 campaign, their first after winning promotion from the National League. Dave Challinor’s men were comfortably amongst the best teams in the division for the second two-thirds of 2022/23, but in the end a slow start meant that they were unable to secure an automatic promotion berth.
The Hatters have completed one of the biggest coups of the summer so far by bringing Nick Powell to the club, and they have proven quality in all areas of the pitch in their ranks. There may not be a better full back combination in the fourth tier than Kyle Knoyle and Ibou Touray at Edgeley Park, while Will Collar, Callum Camps, Ryan Rydel and Paddy Madden could claim to be players playing in a league lower than their natural level.
They have a strong leader in Challinor who has outwitted the likes of Notts County and Wrexham in the recent past, it is a small surprise not to see them as no. 1 favourites in the League Two promotion odds. The Hatters were stronger defensively than in the attacking third last term, and the key to addressing that could be making sure that Powell is available as often as possible.
League Two Promotion Odds
MK Dons will keep a cool head
MK Dons went from a third-placed finish in League One in 2021/22 to suffering relegation to the fourth tier last term. Some nervy end of season displays meant they missed huge opportunities to save their skins and in the end, parted company with manager Mark Jackson soon after the campaign’s conclusion. Graham Alexander brings a less complicated style of play and experience at the level to the hot seat this term.
The Dons had an outstanding recruitment record up until last season, and have adapted their approach this time around to sign players who have a good chance of hitting the ground running in League Two. Craig MacGillivray, Cameron Norman, Alex Gilbey and MJ WIlliams represent really smart business and the likes of Mo Eisa and Jonathan Leko should be too hot to handle at times in the fourth tier.
This could be a club to check in on once again after the transfer window has closed because they have pulled strings in the loan market in the not too distant past, and though larger budgets stand in their way, the Dons could be creative enough to emerge from the pack in the League Two promotion odds.
They are currently available at a very juicy 9/2 to finish in the top three and going under the radar may suit what is still a fairly youthful group of players. Supporters’ frustration will remain for the way that last season panned but if Alexander can generate some positivity in the opening months and galvanise the club again, the sky is the limit for how high they can finish this term.
League Two Promotion Odds
Don’t sleep on Notts County
Notts County have not come up in Wrexham’s shadow and have already made five statement additions this summer. David McGoldrick was one of the best players in League One last season but has dropped down to the fourth tier to rejoin his boyhood. In combination with Macaulay Langstaff they could be deadly, with McGoldrick’s ability yet to wane significantly at the age of 35, as physical attributes have never been a big part of his game.
Will Randall and Dan Crowley are very exciting additions in wide and attacking areas, while Aidan Stone has arrived between the sticks from Port Vale. Luke Williams has instilled an incredible togetherness and mentality in the group, they were down and out on multiple occasions in their eventual promotion via the play-offs, but summoned the composure and belief to drag themselves over the line.
Tactically they are one of the more sophisticated sides in the division which made player retention a very important factor in preparing to go again in League Two. Keeping hold of the likes of Aaron Nemane and Langstaff, while Jodi Jones has signed permanently following a loan spell, will stand them in good stead to recover from the loss of Ruben Rodrigues to Oxford United.
9/4 is very short on a newly promoted club, in the League Two promotion odds, but this is no ordinary newly promoted club, firmly part of the data-revolution in the EFL, County will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of clubs like Plymouth Argyle, Luton Town and Brentford in the not too distant future. With two players rightfully in the top three favourites for the golden boot, the Magpies should be an epic follow over the next ten months or so.