Top of the League Two Pops
Whilst writing this article I gave myself one rule - no Wycombe players! I'm biased.
Here are the men I predict will be the stand-out performers in League 2 in 2010/11.
1. Owain Fôn Williams
The 23-year-old Welsh goalkeeper has aroused interest from the likes of Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Sunderland and West Ham United. He endured a tough time last season as the Hatters were doomed to relegation at an early stage as they battled to come out of administration. Under new manager Paul Simpson and behind a settled back-four he could prove again why he is so highly-rated.
2. Cian Hughton
The 21-year-old Irish right-back has grown immeasurably since leaving Spurs last summer. The son of Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton, he excelled for the struggling Imps last season and will be in demand when his contract at Sincil Bank ends next summer. He has also shown his versatility with appearances on both flanks and in midfield and will only get better with age.
3. Johnny Herd
The 20-year-old English left-back has certainly endured a tough introduction into English football. He has shown great pace and skill despite making less than 30 appearances for Southend. He shone despite his side suffering relegation alongside the Chairboys last season and with the club mired in administration. He also possesses a huge throw.
4. Darren Dennehy
The 21-year-old Irish central defender began his career with Everton and decided to move on to Cardiff City in the summer of 2008. He has spent time on loan at Hereford United and Gillingham before choosing to team up again with manager Mark Stimson at Barnet. The 6`5" defender is a real threat at set-pieces and can also play in midfield. He will make a name for himself at Underhill this season.
5. Ian Sharps
The experienced 29-year-old English central-defender is arguably the capture of the summer. The Shrews bagged him from Rotherham United where he was captain. He begins his 13th season in the game with Shrewsbury only his third club. He spent nine years at Tranmere Rovers and four years with the Millers. He is a typically committed centre-half and a real leader.
6. Michael Bostwick
The 22-year-old Londoner was an integral part of Borough`s Conference Championship winning side. He is a vital cog in the centre of midfield, similar in style to Tommy Doherty, and he rejected advances from League One sides in the summer to remain a part of Stevenage`s first season in the Football League. He won the FA Trophy two years in succession with Ebbsfleet and Stevenage.
7. Jimmy Ryan
The 21-year-old Irish midfielder is another successful example of Stanley manager John Coleman's minor miracle at the Crown Ground. Like Coleman, Ryan began his career in Liverpool before joining the Lancastrians in the summer of 2008. He shone in last season`s free-scoring side and will be a focal point of the midfield after Bobby Grant`s move to Scunthorpe United. He can also play wide on the right.
8. Nicky Wroe
The 24-year-old English midfielder has developed into an influential player at the heart of the Torquay United team. He began his career at Barnsley and after a year at York City he joined the Gulls in the summer of 2008. Wroe has helped the side win promotion to the Football League and then retain that hard-fought status last season. He scored an impressive 13 goals from the middle of the park last year.
9. Tadhg Purcell
The 25-year-old Irish striker was the shining light in Darlington`s disappointing campaign last season. He scored nine goals for the Quakers after being brought to the club by former Eire boss Steve Staunton. He made a name for himself during a three year spell at Shamrock Rovers before crossing the Irish sea. He joined Northampton Town in the summer, replacing departed top goalscorer Adebayo Akinfenwa.
10. Adam Le Fondre
The 23-year-old English striker needs no introduction. He was League Two`s leading goalscorer last season with 30 goals as Rotherham missed out on promotion in the play-off final. Alf, as he is known, began his career with Stockport County before joining Rochdale. He joined Rotherham last summer for a reported £100,000 and with interest from Championship sides Barnsley, Leeds United and Leicester City the Millers have placed a £3m price tag on his head.
11. Tom Bradshaw
The 18-year-old English striker burst onto the scene last year with Shrewsbury and is arguably the hottest property in League Two at the moment (Matt Phillips notwithstanding). He has scored three goals in his six first team appearances so far and that has already brought interest from Preston North End, West Ham United and Wolves. Despite his tender age he could set the division alight this season.
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