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The early pace setters in League Two

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Eight games in to the new League Two season and the early signs are there for who may have a chance of achieving promotion to League One. Admittedly, it’s not an easy prediction to make so early on on the campaign, but the sides that have began the stronger and most consistent already have an important head start on those that haven’t.


Relegated Leyton Orient lead the way having suffered just one, albeit a heavy one, defeat this season. Ian Hendon’s side have gone from strength to strength in these early stages and, although there’s a long way to go, the O’s look like certain promotion contenders.

The same can be said for the pre-season favourites Portsmouth. Paul Cook’s side are 2nd in League Two and are the only side that remain unbeaten. Despite a slight blip early in September which included blowing a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at home with Morecambe, the south coast club have strength in depth in their squad, and given the signings that arrived in the summer, I’m sure they’ll certainly be up there come the end of the season.

Plymouth have began the season positively. After losing in last season’s play-off semi-final, the Pilgrims, now under new management in former Ross County manager Derek Adams, will be looking to go one better this season, and the early season form the Devon club have shown emulates that.

Like Plymouth, Wycombe lost out in last season’s playoffs, but the Chairboys went one step further, losing in the final on penalties to Southend. Gareth Ainsworth’s side have been strong in the early stages of this season too, losing just once, despite not playing the best football that his squad has yet to offer, and if they can continue then they’ll be near the top towards the end of the season.

Oxford had a disappointing season last time around, but having lost just once from their previous fifteen games, Michael Appleton’s side have turned their fortunes around and look to have stepped in the right direction. The defeat at Northampton aside, the U’s have played positive attacking football, and have some decent summer signings in their ranks, all causing problems for any opposition they’ve come against, and if they’re able to complete this across the course of the season, then I’m sure the U’s could well be celebrating promotion.



So they’re the early season pace setters, but Accrington Stanley have began their campaign extremely well having gone six games unbeaten. Mansfield too have started strongly, beating Nottinghamshire rivals Notts County amongst others, whilst Morecambe have played some good football, scoring plenty of goals too as they occupy a play-off spot.

Other sides like Luton Town have began the season poorly, as have recently relegated Crawley Town, Notts County and Yeovil, all of which are struggling at the wrong end of the table. That said, there is a long way to go and there’s plenty of time to turn things around, but for now at least, Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers and Oxford United are certainly the league’s early season pace setters for promotion.


About Dale Ventham

Dale Ventham is an editor at The Sports Lowdown. He writes on the lower leagues of English football and Speedway in particular.

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