The Non-League Football Paper

Missed us? Buy The NLP here!

Subscribers login | Free sample


Get our weekly Football email

The NLP predicts… Part Two

Following on with our season preview, NLP columnists Sam Elliott and Adam Virgo have their say on the National League…

Who’s going to be challenging for promotion?

With the play-offs now top seven, how long have I got? Title-wise, it’s Tranmere’s to take and they’ll see it like that on the quiet. Don’t totally rule out two of the promotion winners either, Fylde and Ebbsfleet, although Fylde are dependant who is banned and for how long for their betting idiocy. If Hartlepool start well, I would think they have half a chance but I really like the appointment of Steve Davis at Leyton Orient. Seems to me like there’s a new lease of life in East London.

Who could be a surprise package?

Wrexham. Dean Keates has had a great window. He’s signed captains and winners. The Lincoln City comparison is understandable but they’ll be happy with a high finish in the play-offs. I think Leyton Orient may fall under this category, too. Nearly 3,500 season ticket sales gives them a real head start. Tricky opener at Sutton United next week mind you.

Player to watch out for?

There’s a few. Morgan Ferrier at Dagenham has bundles of potential. Him, Oliver Hawkins, if they can keep the wanted man, and Michael Cheek could be some forward three. Andy Cook at Tranmere, providing Micky Mellon and he can work out whatever the issue is, will be desperate to prove a point after being frozen out last season. James Alabi and Cook with Norwood just off them could be explosive.

National League signing of the summer?

Bet hedging of course, but here’s four. The ones I think will really do well are Shaun Pearson – Grimsby to Wrexham, Tobi Sho-Silva, Bromley to Dover and Luke Coulson who is now at Ebbsfleet and who Eastleigh rated at over £1m a year ago (before letting him go for nearer £60,000). I also really like the look of Tranmere Rovers’ Jack Dunn. He’s one to watch.

FA Trophy winners?

Too hard to predict, the last three winners York City, FC Halifax and North Ferriby United tell us not to try guessing. How about Billericay Town? They’re spending £30,000 a week if not more on players and by the time the Trophy gets serious they’ll probably be well clear in the Bostik Premier. Leyton Orient’s fans deserve a day out at Wembley. York won it last year so why not the O’s?

Place you are most looking forward to going next season?

I’ve heard great things about Leyton Orient’s press box. Apparently, there’s an old school hack who still uses a typewriter! Some grounds I really want to try and visit this season for the first time are Matlock Town in the Evo-Stik NPL and also Salford City. I also need to get to Slough Town’s new stadium, especially as my dad lives up the road from it!

NLP columnist Adam Virgo banks on Michael Cheek to become the star signing in the National League

Who’s going to be challenging for promotion?

Tranmere start as the team to beat. They’ve got the majority of the squad from last year and added people like James Alabi who will add real presence up front. There’s a real depth in the squad too and lots of options – provided everyone stays injury free.

Dagenham will always be up there with John Still’s experience and if they keep hold of Oli Hawkins they have every chance with him and Michael Cheek up front.

Leyton Orient’s signings from League Two know how to get out of a league and Aldershot will be strong again. Their defence was excellent last year – the fact Gary Waddock has kept the majority of the squad is a bonus as well.

Who could be a surprise package?

Provided they don’t overspend like Eastleigh, then Ebbsfleet United. The quality and experience they have in midfield with Andy Drury, Luke Coulson, Jack Payne added to Danny Mills, Danny Kedwell and Aaron McLean means they have an excellent chance of making the play-offs.

Player to watch out for?

Ross Lafayette. The former Welling United and Luton Town striker has just joined Sutton. He was excellent at Dover last year. Assisted Ricky Miller with plenty of goals last season and, for me, he’s a good National League player with power and pace.

National League signing of the summer?

Michael Cheek at Dagenham & Redbridge. What more can I say than when I put him in my team of the year last season? He was excellent in a struggling Braintree team and scores goals. I really like him.

FA Trophy winners?

The last two winners had been relegated but I’m not saying my tip for Wembley glory will be. Gateshead are the ones for me.

Place you are most looking forward to going next season?

Leyton Orient. Always a good ground to play at and a good club in general. Thankfully one that is back on the mend again.

This article was brought to you by The Non-League Paper, the UK's best-selling football title on the newsstand, on-sale every Sunday.
To subscribe to The Non-League Paper CLICK HERE

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Liked this story? Share it!


Related Posts

[snack_ad id="6539132" type="1by1"]