EFL fan Tom Love (@TomLove_18) has scoured the dozens of League Two specials markets and shared his best bets ahead of the 2019/20 big kick-off.
Stevenage to finish in the top-seven (4/1 Betfair)
I’m surprised to see Stevenage so undervalued in the promotion markets. Bookies clearly haven’t taken much money on Dino Maarmria and his troops as they’re rated as 18th best in the league, and I think that’s unfair.
Dino will obviously like to bulk out his squad a bit more before the end of the transfer window but the starting XI looks more than capable of making a competitive play-off tilt.
Paul Farnham is a good keeper at this level, the three centre-halves – Ben Nugent, Chris Stokes and last year’s Player of the Year Scott Cuthbert are strong options. They’re likely to play with two young wing backs, Luther Wildin on one side and Tyler Denton on the other, and they’ll have the requisite energy to get up and down the pitch.
Boro look strong in central midfield with Dean Parrett returning to partner Joel Byrom and Ben Kennedy. Up front Maarmria’s men have ex-Tamworth hit-man Danny Newton and the dangerous Kurtis Guthrie, with the pair expected to flourish in the goalscoring ranks. Emmanuel Sonupe is another attacking option to add pace, whilst youngster Arthur Iontton displayed a few impressive cameos towards the end of the campaign.
The coaching staff have been openly talking about promotion as the aim this season, as have the players. Maarmria, along with Mark Sampson, only have League One in their sights and I like their optimism. Asked about the aims of the club this season in his first interview with the club, Denton said promotion has to be the aim.
Sure they need a bit more depth, but those players will come you’d imagine. If the crux of that team can stay fit then I’d definitely rate them as a top-half team and quotes of 4/1 (Betfair) on Boro to finish in the top-seven appeal.
Crewe to be Top North-West Club (7/1 Bet365)
I’m sweet on Crewe to prove the bookmakers wrong and push for promotion this term. Like Stevenage, they’re rated firmly as a bottom-half side by those pricing them up. But I’d be much more optimistic about their chances.
It’s well documented that Gresty Road is a hotbed for young emerging talent, usually picking up the local players who just fail to make the grade at the Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Everton too. Even back in the day, the Crewe academy was a prevalent place to develop as a prospect.
The Railwaymen are patient with their players, and most importantly give them time to play games, and continuously help improve their qualities. The current crop boast Ryan Wintle, Perry Ng, Harry Pickering, James Jones, Callum Ainley, Charlie Kirk and Oliver Finney, all of whom are 23 or younger – the majority of those were in the starting XI last term and are more than capable of making their mark again this season.
Naturally, Crewe’s starlets will grow in confidence the more games they play, and they also have the benefit of having played with each other for a number of years in the youth ranks, so there’s no need to gel because they already have. Alan Hansen famously said ‘you can’t win anything with kids’ – the Alex will be keen to prove him wrong.
Crewe aren’t entirely made of youth products though; Chris Porter is a good striker at bringing others into play and an obvious aerial threat in the box – his know-how can blend nicely with the exuberance of the others around him. Meanwhile. Olly Lancashire at centre-half and Paul Green in central midfield means there’s an experienced spine. Nicky Hunt and Daniel Powell also know what it takes at this level.
The Cheshire club have had a strong pre-season, scoring at least five goals on three occasions and beating Burnley along the way.
Bet365 have a market which pits them against regional rivals including Morecambe, Macclesfield, Oldham and Salford and I think they should finish above the first three quite comfortably, and I personally have them on the same footing as Salford, so to see such a discrepancy between the Ammies (1/1) and Crewe (7/1) is an eye-opener and it has to be value – I’d have them half that price.