Matt Bloomfield column: Who to watch in 2012

Chris Powell
Chris Powell's Charlton are six points clear at the top of League One

The new year is upon us and it promises to be an exciting year for football supporters in the lower leagues.

It's the halfway point in the league season, and whilst many fans will be looking back at 2011 and assessing where things went right or wrong, it's a good opportunity to look forward to 2012.

There is fierce competition at the top of League One with the top five teams all having a great chance of gaining automatic promotion.

Charlton must have exceeded all expectations of their manager Chris Powell considering they signed so many players in the summer.

It usually takes time for such a new squad to gel together and you would imagine that they will only go from strength to strength.

If they do manage to achieve promotion, something that they certainly won't be taking for granted, then I can see Charlton really enjoying the rest of 2012 and progressing as a club.

They have got a young, vibrant squad with plenty of players who will be yearning to prove themselves at Championship level.

One team that I would predict good things for in 2012 is Bournemouth. They beat us 2-0 on Monday and whilst I must admit that it was a particularly disappointing day on our behalf, I really respect the way the Cherries played their football.

They have been through some tough times off the pitch recently, but they now have some financial backing and I really think that it could be a good year for them. Lee Bradbury is doing a great job.

Crawley currently lead the way in League Two and I wouldn't be surprised if by the end of 2012 they are challenging for the play-offs in League One.

They made some really good signings last year and if they get promoted this season it will enhance their chances of strengthening further during the summer.

If Fleetwood manage to get promoted out of the Blue Square Bet Premier this season, then I can see them "doing a Crawley" next term.

They are again a club who have some financial backing and they are definitely a club on the up. In Jamie Vardy they have a player who is attracting interest from clubs in the Championship who are reportedly willing to pay £1m for his services.

That is an incredible amount of money in today's market, but I can see him fulfilling that potential. He ran his socks off against us in the FA Cup and his movement and finish were that of a player who is destined for bigger things.

Another player who is destined for big things this year is Marcello Trotta, who is currently with us on loan from Fulham.

He is a young player who still has plenty to learn, but he is willing to listen and he works hard at his game.

He is a natural born goal-scorer who comes alive in the penalty box. There have been several players who have used a loan spell as a stepping stone to a top career and Marcello is certainly capable of following in their footsteps.

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