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Quarter Season Predictions 2016/17: League Two


Every year, hundreds of predictions are made about the football season ahead. Promotion and relegation candidates are pored over, and it's all a bit pointless because you have no idea what a team will perform like until they step onto the pitch.

Being a cautious type, I always refuse to predict future finishing positions until a quarter of the season has gone, because it is only by then that the lay of the footballing land becomes clearer. All this month, I will be running a series of predictive blogs for each of the top four football leagues, starting with League Two.

Starting off at the top, and it is looking increasingly hard to see beyond Plymouth Argyle finally making that next step up. It has been a five year stay in the fourth tier for the Pilgrims, of which they have spent and equal amount in the upper and lower echelons, and it is time, especially after 22 points from their first 10 games and a five point advantage at the time of writing, that they made good on their potential.

A lot of their success will be down to playmaker Graham Carey, a man with Europa League experience who, having dropped down to League Two from the Scottish Premier League (is this a drop?) has set about being arguably the best player in the division. He was their player of the season last year and leads the scoring so far in this. If he stays fit, Argyle can be champions.

Another big south coast club which ought to be able to fight their way out of League Two this season is Portsmouth. They dropped into this division in 2013, and it is time they managed to navigate their way out of it.

That said, Portsmouth's position is not due to historical size, but good management by Paul Cook in finally recognising some of the latent potential. They were beaten by Plymouth in the play-offs last year. I fancy them both to reach League One this time.

For the third automatic promotion place, I'm going for a side I tipped for last year (bear in mind, out of six teams to go up and down from League Two last season, I correctly predicted zero) - Carlisle United. They are unbeaten after 10 games, albeit having drawn seven. But if you can't win, make sure you draw, and Carlisle should be able to convert those one pointers to three eventually.

In the play-offs, Luton have shown the necessary battling qualities in the early stages, and have a reliable goalscorer in Danny Hylton - pure gold dust at this level.

At the bottom, it has been another nightmare start to the season for Newport County, who have already sacked manager Warren Feeney. I tipped them for the drop last year and they escaped, but this season there will be no escapology.

There is reason to believe Yeovil Town will, this campaign, return to their natural non-league home. Promotion to the Championship a few seasons ago destabilised the club, gave everyone nosebleeds. The fun ride is over.

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