League Two 2011-12 club-by-club

Chesterfield celebrate the League Two title
Chesterfield won the League Two title last season by five points from second-placed Bury

BBC Sport's club-by-club guide to the 2011-12 League Two season:

AFC WIMBLEDON

Terry Brown
Terry Brown has guided AFC Wimbledon to three promotions

Manager: Terry Brown

Last season: 2nd (in the Blue Square Bet Premier - promoted via play-offs)

Strengths: Experienced and calm manager at the helm. In recent years promoted teams from the Conference have coped well in their first season in the Football League.

Weaknesses: It's their first time in the Football League so going from part-time to full-time for some players may be a difficult transition. They could do with a positive start.

Key man: Defender Sam Hatton was voted player of the year last season.

ACCRINGTON STANLEY

John Coleman
John Coleman is the third longest serving manager in England

Manager: John Coleman

Last season: 5th (beaten in play-off semi-finals)

Strengths: John Coleman and Jimmy Bell - one of the longest serving management duos in the country - are still going strong for a very good reason. With a reputation for finding unpolished gems, bringing them on and getting the best out of them, the pair will be unfazed by losing key players in the summer. They have also improved the club's finish in each of their 12 seasons at the helm and they will not want to end that record.

Weaknesses: Competing with other clubs in the division for players. Though the crippling financial problems are now behind the club, the budget is still among the smallest in the division. Injuries or suspensions could leave the squad alarmingly thin.

Key man: Messrs Coleman and Bell will always be key, but playing-wise it could be a massive season for Ian Craney. The midfielder's now in his third spell at the club and if he can recapture his previous form he could be the catalyst for a great campaign.

ALDERSHOT TOWN

Luke Guttridge
Guttridge was the goal-shy Shots' top scorer with eight goals last season

Manager: Dean Holdsworth

Last season: 14th

Strengths: In midfield, Holdsworth looks to have found a good balance of youth, experience, pace and guile. Last season's 10th-ranked defence largely remains intact as well.

Weaknesses: The Shots were the third lowest scorers in the division last season, and this season's strikers are unproven at Football League level.

Key man: Last season's top scorer Luke Guttridge provides tenacity, inspiration and goals from the centre of the park.

BARNET

Same Deering
Deering previously played for Chelsea and Charlton's youth team

Manager: Lawrie Sanchez

Last season: 22nd

Strengths: Strong team spirit and resilience, demonstrated by staying in the Football League last season against the odds.

Weaknesses: Barnet have a young, inexperienced squad which lacks depth in most positions. Their small budget means it is difficult to sign players, forcing them to look for free transfers and loan deals.

Key man: New midfield signing Sam Deering made quite an impression during his loan spell with the Bees last season.

BRADFORD CITY

Guy Branston
Bradford are the 15th club of experienced captain Branston's career

Manager: Peter Jackson

Last season: 18th

Strengths: The majority of their 10 new signings are young, hungry players. Gone are the old guard in what the club have described as a mini revolution. Bradford will possess plenty of pace, enthusiasm, fight and passion.

Weaknesses: While youth is their strength it could also be their weakness. A lot of the squad lack experience at Football League level and potentially could come unstuck against the wiser sides in the division.

Key man: Guy Branston, the new skipper at Valley Parade after his summer move from Torquay. His experience, leadership, intelligence and commanding presence will be vital in steering such a young squad to success.

BRISTOL ROVERS

Paul Buckle
Buckle left Torquay just two days after losing in the play-off final

Manager: Paul Buckle

Last season: 22nd (in League One, relegated)

Strengths: With a completely remodelled team it is difficult to be sure, but with a multitude of midfield and forward options available, scoring goals should not be a problem.

Weaknesses: With 15 new players and an exceptionally strong-looking squad, keeping everyone happy is going to take some skilful managing.

Key man: Buckle. If he can work the same magic at the Memorial Stadium that he did at Torquay, Rovers will fancy their chances of bouncing straight back to League One.

BURTON ALBION

Cleveland Taylor
Taylor scored four goals while on loan to Burton from Brentford in 2010

Manager: Paul Peschisolido

Last season: 19th

Strengths: Midfield. The Brewers have strength in depth and John McGrath and Adam Bolder are a formidable pairing in League Two.

Weaknesses: Goalscoring was a major problem last season and injuries up front could once again expose a lack of depth.

Key man: The return of Cleveland Taylor will both give width and provide a much-needed goal-scoring threat.

CHELTENHAM TOWN

Alan Bennett
Bennett made 17 league appearances for Wycombe last season

Manager: Mark Yates

Last season: 17th

Strengths: The squad is physically bigger than last year with nine new players and only one loanee, striker James Spencer from Huddersfield.

Weaknesses: One of the smaller budgets in League Two means there is an unproven element about some of the signings.

Key man: Alan Bennett. The centre-half has been named as team captain, and will try to shore up a defence that leaked 77 league goals last season.

CRAWLEY TOWN

Pablo Mills.
Mills was named in the Blue Square Bet Premier's team of the year

Manager: Steve Evans

Last season: 1st in Blue Square Bet Premier

Strengths: Despite the focus on their goalscoring exploits last season, the defence was outstanding too, only 11 goals conceded on the road being the foundation for their superb away form. Great spine with Michel Kuipers in goal, Pablo Mills and Kyle McFadzean in defence, and Dannie Bulman in midfield.

Weaknesses: It is hard to find any in last season's team and most of the squad have played in the Football League. The test will be whether Matt Tubbs can score goals at a higher level, and establishing the most effective combination to get the best out of him. Early concerns might be over the absence of Mills through injury.

Key man: Pablo Mills - looked a different class in the Blue Square Bet Premier, and brings leadership and a real calmness to the defence. His experience of this level will be key as the side makes the step up. Tyrone Barnett will be required to show the form he displayed for Macclesfield if he is to share the goalscoring duties.

CREWE ALEXANDRA

Dario Gradi
Dario Gradi, 70, is the Football League's oldest manager

Manager: Dario Gradi

Last season: 10th

Strengths: The continued success of the club's academy is forming the basis of a strong first team, with England Under-17 internationals Nick Powell and Max Clayton the latest to emerge at senior level.

Weaknesses: A run of 11 consecutive away defeats towards the end of last season cost Crewe a play-off place at the very least, so their form on the road must improve.

Key man: Shaun Miller, who netted 19 times in 2010/11, will need to better that figure next season following the departure of League Two's top-scorer Clayton Donaldson to Brentford.

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE

John Still
Still's cash-strapped club only got relegated on the last day of the season

Manager: John Still

Last season: 21st (in League One, relegated)

Strengths: Should be able to hold their own in this division after relegation.

Weaknesses: Lost a number of key men, including Danny Green and Romain Vincelot and it will be difficult to replace them with a similar quality.

Key man: The gaffer. He has been the fulcrum of the club and has taken them to new heights. He will need all his skills to unearth some more gems and sustain a decent challenge.

GILLINGHAM

Kedwell
Kedwell's 24 goals for AFC Wimbledon attracted the Gills to his talents

Manager: Andy Hessenthaler

Last season: 8th

Strengths: The midfield looks a much stronger proposition with the addition of former loanees Charlie Lee and Chris Whelpdale from Peterborough. The signing of Andy Frampton from Millwall gives the defence the natural leader they lacked last season.

Weaknesses: Gills lost last season's leading scorers Cody McDonald and Adebayo Akinfenwa over the summer. With one of the new men signed to replace them, Adam Birchall, already on the long-term injury list, the question is whether the team has the goals in it to mount a realistic promotion campaign.

Key man: Former AFC Wimbledon striker - and lifelong Gillingham fan - Danny Kedwell now has even more pressure on his shoulders to prove he's good enough to cut it in his first season in the Football League.

HEREFORD UNITED

Stefan Stam
Hereford kept five clean sheets in 10 games after Stam joined last season

Manager: Jamie Pitman

Last season: 21st

Strengths: They have kept the majority of last season's squad together, who were very solid towards the end of the last campaign.

Weaknesses: With Joe Colbeck being the only out-and-out wide player in the squad, a lack of width could prove problematic for Pitman's team.

Key man: Most would point to Stuart Fleetwood for his goals, but Stefan Stam at the back will be vital to United's chances.

MACCLESFIELD TOWN

Emile Sinclair
Emile Sinclair started his career at Nottingham Forest

Manager: Gary Simpson

Last season: 15th

Strengths: The club have had to overcome the deaths of Keith Alexander and Richard Butcher in the past couple of seasons, but it has developed a strong team spirit and unity at the Moss Rose.

Weaknesses: Last season's top two goalscorers, Tyrone Barnett and Hamza Bencherif, have both departed and their replacements so far are unproven at this level.

Key man: If Emile Sinclair can finally combine a finishing touch to his pace and trickery, his goals could be key to the Silkmen's season.

MORECAMBE

Phil Jevons
Injuries restricted Jevons to just 27 league starts last season

Manager: Jim Bentley

Last season: 20th

Strengths: The appointment of Jim Bentley has brought optimism back to the club after a season where everything went wrong on and off the pitch.

Weaknesses: The club conceded too many goals last season. It's definitely an area where Bentley will be looking to make improvements.

Key man: Phil Jevons scored lots of goals in his first season with the club, but struggled with injuries last season. Barry Roche is also one of the very best keepers in League Two.

NORTHAMPTON TOWN

Gary Johnson
Northampton only won two of their 13 games under Johnson last term

Manager: Gary Johnson

Last season: 16th

Strengths: A larger-than-life manager with a proven track record of getting his teams promotion. Also, a core of high-quality players, notably Michael Jacobs, John Johnson and Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Weaknesses: Gary Johnson has effectively built a new team during the summer months and it could take a little while for the team to gel.

Key man: Akinfenwa. The talismanic striker scored 39 goals during his previous stint at Sixfields, and his goals and assists should propel the Cobblers from last season's mid-table to promotion hopefuls.

OXFORD UNITED

Michael Duberry
Duberry played for St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League last term

Manager: Chris Wilder

Last season: 12th

Strengths: There is a real feel-good atmosphere around the club. Three of their nine summer recruits turned down deals with their League One clubs to join the U's and an unbeaten pre-season, including a 2-0 win over Birmingham, would indicate the new men have gelled quickly.

Weaknesses: Conceded too many goals last season, including a run of 23 games without a clean sheet. Wilder has brought in a host of new defenders but whether they can shore up United's defence remains to be seen.

Key man: Michael Duberry, one of the new defensive recruits. Oxford's success this season could depend on whether he can plug the leaky backline.

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE

Plymouth boss Peter Reid
Reid's side were docked 10 points last season after going into administration

Manager: Peter Reid

Last season: 23rd (in League One, relegated)

Strengths: With all that has gone on behind the scenes at the club, their strength may well be a "them against us" feeling of proving that a new-look squad assembled on a shoe-string can thrive in League Two.

Weaknesses: With so many of last season's squad leaving the club, Peter Reid has had little time to bring a side together - he is still looking for an experienced striker to lead the attack.

Key man: Carl Fletcher. One of the few players in Argyle's squad with a true pedigree, the former Wales and West Ham man will be looked upon as a key leader in a young Argyle squad.

PORT VALE

Micky Adams
Vale fell from 2nd to 11th after Adams left for Sheffield United

Manager: Micky Adams

Last season: 11th

Strengths: After a punishing pre-season schedule, Vale will be one of the fittest teams in League Two.

Weaknesses: After last season's capitulation from promotion certainties to mid-table also-rans, Vale's mental strength will be tested severely at the start of the campaign.

Key man: Vale's season fell apart when manager Micky Adams departed for Sheffield United in December - he gets the best out of his players and his return to the club could see Vale mount another promotion push.

ROTHERHAM UNITED

Andy Scott
Scott was appointed Rotherham manager in April

Manager: Andy Scott

Last season: 9th

Strengths: Manager Andy Scott has experience of promotion from this division during his spell at Brentford.

Weaknesses: Lost Ryan Taylor to Championship side Bristol City. Eight new signings in the summer might take some time to gel.

Key man: Ben Pringle, the former Derby midfielder, looks to be Andy Scott's bargain buy after an impressive pre-season.

SHREWSBURY TOWN

Graham Turner
Turner first managed the Shrews between 1978 and 1984

Manager: Graham Turner

Last season: 4th (lost in play-off semi-final)

Strengths: Powerful attacking options, bolstered by new signings Marvin Morgan from Aldershot and Terry Gornell from Accrington alongside James Collins and Tom Bradshaw.

Weaknesses: Having to face high internal and external expectations: Shrewsbury are seen as a monied club, and a big scalp for the opposition.

Key man: Central defender and team captain Ian Sharps - an influential figure on and off the pitch.

SOUTHEND UNITED

Paul Sturrock
Paul Sturrock took charge at Roots Hall in July 2010

Manager: Paul Sturrock

Last season: 13th

Strengths: Southend's strength lies in the fact they have had a less chaotic pre-season to prepare for the new campaign. Financial issues meant the Blues registered 17 new players in the week leading up to last season. Preparations were far from perfect and some signings were made hurriedly. This year has been a lot calmer with Paul Sturrock able to take a more considered view on the players he wants. This will serve them well for the long season ahead.

Weaknesses: Squad depth. Looking from the outside, there is little doubt Southend's first choice team is more than capable of mounting a promotion challenge. Problems will come when injuries and suspensions kick in and the question is whether the Blues have the strength in depth to cover.

Key man: Neil Harris. A native of Essex and a boyhood Southend United fan, he has been linked with a move from Millwall for several seasons and it finally came to fruition this summer. He was still scoring goals at Championship level so he could well terrorise League Two defences.

SWINDON TOWN

Paolo Di Canio
Di Canio has brought in 11 players so far this summer

Manager: Paolo di Canio

Last season: 24th (in League One, relegated)

Strengths: The team look defensively secure after the recent arrivals of Joe Devera and Alberto Comazzi, who look good at the heart of the back-line.

Weaknesses: Di Canio has bought a brand new side and that may take time to gel.

Key man: Matt Ritchie was Town's player of the season in League One. His creativity and ability to score goals from midfield could be crucial.

TORQUAY UNITED

Eunan O'Kane
O'Kane hit seven league goals in his first full season of professional football

Manager: Martin Ling

Last season: 7th (defeated in play-off final)

Strengths: Torquay's defence was one of the strongest in the league last season - expect more of the same with the acquisition of Brian Saah, although Guy Branston (who moved to Bradford) will be missed.

Weaknesses: The Gulls have only one striker, Billy Kee, returning from last season. It means new faces including Taiwo Atieno and Rene Howe will have to prove early on that they can find the back of the net.

Key man: Eunan O'Kane. The Northern Irish youngster established himself as one of the best up-and-coming attacking midfielders in League Two last season. The Gulls will rely on him more to create chances and come up with his fair share of goals as well.

Contributors: BBC London's Ankur Desai, BBC Radio Lancashire's Andy Bayes, BBC Surrey's Gavin Denison, BBC Radio Leeds' Gareth Jones, BBC Radio Bristol's Ed Hadwin, BBC Radio Derby's Charles Collins, BBC Gloucestershire's Ian Randall, BBC Sussex's John Barnett, BBC Radio Stoke's Phil Cartwright, BBC Radio Kent's Matt Cole, BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens, BBC Radio Manchester's Nathan Middleton, BBC Radio Northampton's Tim Oglethorpe, BBC Sport's Emlyn Begley, BBC South West's Brent Pilnick, BBC Radio Sheffield's Jamie Campbell, BBC Radio Shropshire's James Bond, BBC Essex's Glenn Speller, BBC Wiltshire's Chris Wise.

Compiled by BBC Sport's Thomas McDonald

Top Stories