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Followers of my League Two tips were smiling last season as Exeter finished fifth for a payout on the 7/2 ante-post price for a top-seven finish.
The Grecians also finished second in the handicap table, just one point behind Devon rivals Plymouth, and that added further profits.
I’m going for a similar approach this season with two outsiders backed to finish in the top seven. The duo also provide an interest in the handicap market.
I agree with the verdict of the bookies across the board that Mansfield and Luton are the two leading title contenders but I can also leave both alone at the prices.
An even wider berth is required on third-favourites Coventry who, like Blackburn in League One, just can’t be trusted to get through a season with competent management off the field.
EFL newcomers Forest Green are my first fancy to make a real push for promotion in their debut League Two campaign.
The team from the village of Nailsworth in Gloucestershire with a ground at the top of a blooming big hill and sheep looking on from the surrounding fields shouldn’t be written off as a novelty act.
Chairman Dale Vince has invested heavily in the New Lawn outfit and it was no surprise last season that they finally departed the Vanarama National League after three consecutive play-off finishes.
Tranmere were beaten with ease in the play-off final at Wembley and boss Mark Cooper is a manager with plenty of EFL experience in charge of Peterborough, Swindon and Notts County.
He’s been busy adding to his squad over the off-season, although the biggest boost is getting captain Liam Noble to sign a new contract. That deal was penned after an entertaining transfer saga with Notts County that saw both clubs making official statements on the matter.
Luke James is a really interesting addition to the frontline. That’s providing he can rediscover the form that persuaded Peterborough to sign the striker from Hartlepool for a fee of around £500,000 just three years ago.
James, still just 22, will benefit from being a more central figure at Rovers than during his time with Posh.
Of course, it isn’t a given that clubs from non-league step up to the EFL with ease. However, Bristol Rovers did manage to secure back-to-back promotions in the 2015/16 campaign after winning the National League play-off final one year previously.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Forest Green ended up in the mix for a spot in League One and odds of 10/3 for a top-seven finish are much more appealing than Lincoln at even money in that market.
The Imps, last season’s National League title winners, are set to go well but the odds are too prohibitive to show an interest.
Rovers have experience of battling for promotion in each of the last three seasons and a young squad capable of further improvement. They are well worth an interest to end up in the play-offs at least and a 16-point deficit in the handicap to favourites Mansfield on the handicap also appeals.
I also have an inkling that Crewe are set for a campaign of vast improvement.
The Alex finished 17th last season after never threatening a promotion challenge following relegation from League One the previous season.
Boss Steve Davis paid for the struggles with his job and his replacement David Artell has impressed me so far in his first managerial role.
The 36-year-old, born in Rotherham but a full international for Gibraltar at the end of his playing career, has degrees in analytical science and forensic biology as well as a PGCE in biomedical science.
That is incredibly commendable, although his transformation of Crewe from a meek side lacking anything about them to a team that contained a constant threat in front of goal impressed me more.
Jordan Bowery and Chris Dagnall’s partnership in attack was key to the turnaround and both men remain at the club. That’s great news and the signing of former Sheffield United forward Chris Porter provides another serious goalscoring option.