Top of the League One Pops
Whilst writing this article I gave myself one rule - no Wycombe players! I'm biased.
1. Adam COLLIN
The 26-year-old goalkeeper is now playing for his hometown club after learning his trade with Workington Reds. He joined West Cumbria`s finest after failing to make the grade at Newcastle United. The character he has shown to come back from that disappointment can be seen in his recent performances. The 6`3" glovesman is renowned for saving penalties and was part of the Carlisle side that won the Football League Trophy at Wembley last season. He has been linked with moves to Championship sides so United boss Greg Abbott will have been delighted to have signed him up for another two-years.
2. Darryl WESTLAKE
The 20-year-old right-back from Sutton Coldfield might be a young whippersnapper but his displays over the last two seasons have got the scouts' tongues wagging and bigger clubs dusting off their chequebooks. My fellow Chairboys will have to forget the surname, Ian is now in sunny Montreal and is no relation. His namesake is a real hot prospect. After seeing off the experienced Rhys Weston he will make the right-back berth his own this season. He has a great first touch and provides excellent delivery when attacking.
3. Mark McCHRYSTAL
The 27-year-old Irishman has been making a name for himself since crossing the Irish Sea to join Tranmere Rovers. Although born in Derry, he began his career with the lesser WWFC but returned to the Brandywell in 2003. Perhaps his most impressive trait is his indefatigability. He has often had to be patient whilst sitting on the bench and has twice left clubs due to non-payment of wages. McChrystal offers real flexibility too as he is left-footed and equally adept in the centre of defence or at left-back. He signed a new two-year deal with the Birkenhead club this summer.
4. Cliff BYRNE
The 29-year-old central defender is another Irishman, although this time from South of the border. The Dubliner began his career with Sunderland but left to join Scunthorpe United, initially on loan, in 2002. The deal was soon made permanent and he has been a virtual ever-present since. He is your archetypal, no-nonsense centre half. Think Paul McCarthy or Jason Cousins. Byrne has played an integral part in the Irons` success which includes three promotions in five seasons. He might miss the opener at Adams Park following back surgery in the summer.
5. Clarke CARLISLE
Preston North End
The experienced 31-year-old Preston born English central-defender really needs no introduction. He has spent the last four seasons with Burnley which included their short spell in the top flight. He is a renowned Christian, TV pundit, bright-spark and active in the PFA. He is also an outstanding athlete so it is surprising that Clarets` boss Eddie Howe has allowed him to join local rivals. It will certainly be their gain and his presence could prove decisive if they are to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt.
6. Stephen DAWSON
The 25-year-old Irishman (yes, there`s a theme developing!) could unkindly be described as a lower-league journeyman. After leaving Leicester City he spent three seasons at Mansfield Town before moving on to Bury. It was whilst with the Shakers that he found his best position as the engine in the middle of the park. He came of age as a midfield powerhouse and was named Captain. His impressive performances led to a whole clutch of clubs seeking his services before he was snapped up by Leyton Orient in 2010. He played a pivotal role in the O`s success last season and is still improving.
7. Donal McDERMOTT
The 21-year-old Irish midfielder is a product of the Manchester City youth department. He has spent the last two seasons out on loan with Chesterfield, Scunthorpe United and laterally AFC Bournemouth. It was with the Cherries where his potential shone like a beacon. He can play in a variety of attacking positions but posed the greatest threat from the middle of the park. He has a great first touch; is a superb passer and has a powerful shot on him too. His displays against Huddersfield Town in the play-off semi-finals were enough to persuade manager Lee Clark to sign him up, with the fee to be decided by tribunal.
8. Niall McGINN
The 24-year-old Irish winger has to be one of the signings of the summer. Whilst many are pre-occupied by the Bees capture of Clayton Donaldson it is the move for Celtic winger Niall McGinn on a season-long loan that could prove to be a masterstroke from rookie boss Uwe Rösler. It was Gordon Strachan who brought him to Celtic Park from Derry City. He can play on either wing although he favours the right side and is both fast and fearless. Essentially an old-fashioned winger who likes to run at his man, he will torment many defenders in League One this season.
9. Danny INGS
The 19-year-old Winchester-born striker is possibly THE one to watch in League One this season. Despite his tender age he has had to overcome a stuttering start to his career. After coming from the youth team at Dean Court he was awarded his first professional contract in 2009 but missed the second half of the season through injury. He was then loaned out to Dorchester Town at the beginning of last season. He certainly made up for lost time by bagging eight goals as the Cherries reached the play-off semi-finals. Already dubbed a "wunderkind" he has attracted interest from Fulham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace. A deadly finisher, this could be the season he will explode.
10. Jordan SLEW
The 18-year-old striker is a Steel City native whose surname is set to be used in many headlines this season. Having come through the Blades youth set-up he only made his debut last October. He scored twice in only five starts last season as the club crashed to relegation from the Championship. Despite plenty of interest from other clubs, he has signed an improved two-year contract and is ready to take League One by storm this season. He is a powerful front-man who also possesses real pace and could be compared to John Akinde.
11. Chris TAYLOR
The 24-year-old Oldham-born left-winger is a lifelong Latics fan. He progressed through the youth team and earned his first professional contract in 2005. He has shown for the club in the following half-a-dozen years and despite several offers has remained true to the club. He said: 'Everyone knows Oldham is where I want to be, I love playing for this club. All I want is to play for Oldham.' Manager Paul Dickov will want to keep him too if they are to avoid a repeat of their disappointing form in the second half of last season. In spite of that, the Strawberry-Blonde wing-man was still their top goalscorer with eleven goals.
Also keep an eye out for the following ex-Chairboys in League One next season.
The footballing beelzebub himself Graham Westley will be back again with his Stevenage side and their dark arts.
Terry Skiverton continues to plough the furrows as manager of Yeovil Town.
One-time trialist Alan Julian will keep goal for Stevenage and teams-up with midfielder John Mousinho.
Loan goalkeeper Iain Turner will return to Adams Park with Preston North End
Loan right-back Julian Kelly is now at Notts County.
Another loan full-back Stephen O`Halloran has signed for Carlisle United.
Yet another loan defender Scott Golbourne is plying his trade at Exeter City.
Former Player of the Season Craig Woodman can still be found putting in reliable displays for Brentford.
Midfielder Steven Gregory has joined AFC Bournemouth from league newboys AFC Wimbledon for an undisclosed fee.
Striker Alex Revell will face us again for the first time since joining Leyton Orient.
Loan striker Reuben Reid has taken a pay-cut to sign for Oldham Athletic.
I have also missed one individual out for obvious reasons.
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