This Saturday will see the start of the National League season with 23 clubs looking to get promoted to the Football League. Sutton United made automatic promotion there’s last campaign with Hartlepool joining them in the Football League.
This campaign will be as competitive as always with some clubs now going from part time to full time football. Wrexham will rank as one of the favourites to get promoted, but with this league nothing is certain.
Sutton were considered as complete outsiders before a ball was kick last season. So could that be a good omen for the unfancied clubs or will a Torquay or Notts County prevail.
Twenty three sides all with one goal in mind
Danny Searles side secured a mid-table finish last season and has been active in the transfer market. A host of younger players have been added to the squad, although some big name players have left. Craig Tanner, Joel Noubble, Josh Rees and Ricky Miller will be tough to replace.
Phil Parkinson has to be one of the best managers in the National League. The part timers always struggle but this campaign could be different. Striker Marcus Dinanga and defender Kennedy Digie have been signed along with Ben Pringle.
A new season and another new manager in the Bees dugout. Nothing changes down in Hertfordshire. The new man in charge this campaign is former Liverpool and Leeds winger Harry Kewell. The Australian has signed up experienced Adam Marriott and Jamie Turley.
It will be a big job for Kewell to keep Barnet in the league with a significant victory would be avoiding relegation.
Is this the year for Chesterfield
Luke Garrard would have been devastated to loose key player Kabby Tshimanga to Chesterfield. Losing a player of this calibre will be hard to replace for the Wood. The lack of goals will be a major concern for Garrad this campaign. Garrard has raided Wealdstone to snap up defenders Connor Smith and Jacob Mendy, but its up front that is a serious concern.
Andy Woodman oversaw a terrific end to the season with Bromley making the play-offs, before losing out to Hartlepool. Keeping Michael Cheek was a must for Bromley after 23 goals last season. Woodman has also snapped up the experienced figure of Joe Partington.
Expectations will once again be high for the Spireites. The club have made some big signings in the summer. Experienced keeper Scott Loach has been added to the squad along with Calvin Miller and Jeff King. Along with Tshimanga into the mix then this side should go very close.
Dagenham & Redbridge
Holding on to vital players like Angelo Balanta and striker Paul McCallum has been key for Daryl McMahon. Barnet forward Josh Walker has ventured east to improve the Daggers fire power.
How will Dover react with 12 points deduction
A club that refused to play league games last season for fear of their future will begin their campaign on -12 points. That will put them right up against it from the off. It will be a massive task to overturn that 12 points deduction. Bringing Ricky Miller back to the club will please fans. However, even the loyalist of Dover fans can only fear the worst this campaign.
Manager Ben Strevens has made some good young additions ahead of the new campaign. Holding on to the excellent Ben House was a must for the Hampshire club who are heavily reliant on his goals.
Losing a trio of quality players in the form of Jeff King, Jake Hyde and Nathan Clarke is a tough pill to swallow. Manager Pete Wild knows how to build squads on a tight budget and the next few months will tough on the gaffer.
The Mariners return back to the National League after a five season stint in League Two. A string of new summer signings have arrived with Shaun Pearson the pick of them. A solid squad with a man who knows this division- Paul Hurst at the helm look good for the play-offs.
Another season in the league for County
King’s Lynn Town
Manager Ian Culverhouse gave youngsters their chances last season as the campaign played out. Culverhouse has raided Peterborough for Junior Morais and Pierce Bird from Notts County. Town have decided to make the move to full time to be more competitive.
Under Alan Devonshire his experience and know how at this level will always be a huge advantage. Adding Kane Ferdinand from Woking will add steel to the midfield. The loss of striker Danilo Orsi is a big blow for the club along with Josh Coley- both going to the Football League.
How County react to last seasons extra time defeat in the play-off semi-finals will be key to their season. The return of Callum Roberts from injury plus the signing of Kyle Cameron is a big plus point. Joel Taylor has also joined the Nottingham outfit who look to have the squad to compete heavily once again.
The appointment of former AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley is a significant boost to the club. Lois Maynard on loan from Stockport looks a tasty signing. With the ever green Adam Rooney still plying his trade with the Midlander’s, expect improvement this season.
A rocky journey for Phil Brown
Eleven years ago Phil Brown was a Premier League manager with Hull, now he is managing a side related from the Football League. Brown has added to his young side with some experienced heads. Josh Coulson, Rhys Murphy-, Abu Ogogo and James Dunne have all signed on the dotted line. They need a decent start otherwise it could be a lengthy stay in the league for the Shrimpers.
Manager Simon Rusk has already brought in Mark Beard as his assistant manager. Ben Whitefield has joined from Torquay United. Scott Quigley joins after his scoring exploits from Barrow. Elliot Newby is another new name to the Lancashire side who should challenge once again.
Assuming the Gulls have got over their penalty shootout heartache in the promotion final, they could go close. With Gary Johnson in charge you feel he is the man who can get them to go one better. Johnson has lost key players, but he has a habit of rebuilding sides quickly and efficiently.
Will big spenders Wrexham prevail thias season
Manager Stuart Maynard’s target this season must surely be extending the Stones stay in the National League to a third season. New arrivals Charlie Cooper, Josh Umerah and Andy Eleftheriou have joined. The Stones will be one of many clubs who will relish fans back inside the ground.
The Terras look to be facing a tough challenge ahead of them again this season. Weymouth struggled for goals last campaign with manager Brian Stock focusing on this area. Tom Bearwish, Bradley Ash and Brandon Goodship return with hopefully goals in them.
Building towards full-time football has always been top of Woking manager Alan Dowson’s agenda. A host of new faces have joined the Cards with the likes of Rohan Ince, Joe McNerney, Tom Champion and Inih Effiong added. Having the advantage of a full time outfit will benefit Dowse with the side not expected to struggle this time around.
New Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney mean business. Appointing former Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson was always their number one target. With a strong budget and an ambitious plan on and off the field, Wrexham will be the side to beat. Signing League Two top scorer Paul Mullin from Cambridge is a real statement of intent.
Darren Sarll has added to his side this campaign by bringing in Chesterfield keeper Grant Smith. Experienced defender Mark Little is another good addition. Losing top scorer Rhys Murphy to Southend was a bitter blow. They desperately need to replace him quickly otherwise they will struggle for goals this term.