The race for the Skrill Conference Premier title will be stronger then ever this season not least with the introduction of a Dutch legend to the league. Here we predict the runners and the riders will be ahead of the new season.
A lot of people are talking up BARNET as potential champions this season mainly because of Edger David as manager of the Bees but for me they will sadly not be champions this season. I think no matter who is in charge it will be tough to change a losing mentality into a winning one in a short space of time. They come up against a CHESTER side who will be on a winning mentality after promotion from the Blue Square North last season.
But the Blues are not a contender for me this season. Despite gaining three successive promotions from the Northern Premier League First Division to the Conference Premier, I think that Neil Young’s side will struggle to achieve that fourth successive promotion as champions. However I do think that they will finish comfortably in the top half of the table in their return to the Conference.
Chester’s biggest rivals, one of last season challengers and play off runners up WREXHAM will be up there again this season. Will it be third time lucky for the Red Dragons? Personally I would like to see them achieve promotion. But, I think Andy Morrell needs to look at his strikers, yes having himself and Brett Ormarod formerly of Southampton and Preston North End, may bring experience to the team but age isn’t on their side and I think that Wrexham maybe well suited if they were to bring in a younger striker with the legs to chase down any long ball and to run at the defenders.
Wrexham in fact beat my title favorites in the play-offs last season in KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS. The Harriers story is well known, having appeared on the Daily Mail website last season and only finished two points off champions Mansfield.
Kiddy boss Steve Burr has managed to keep hold of star striker Michael Gash, whose goals no doubt lead them to their second place finish. While the pain of going so close last season will spur the Harriers.
LUTON TOWN will be looking forward to a better season then last season as they finished 7th in the table. Under John Still I believe they have a manager who can lead them back into the Football League and I believe that this will be this season.
If they could transfer their success in last season’s FA Cup run, where they went to round five which included beating Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road, then Still’s men could put them into the Football League as last season they seemed to sacrifice a play-off spot for the FA Cup run just as Wigan Athletic did as they lost their Premier League status.
One of the team Wigan beat in their cup run was MACCLESFEILD TOWN. The Silkmen have a had a strange summer with the club becoming owned by Cheshire East Council, which means the community own the Cheshire based club.
Also once again the Silkmen are under new management as John Askey will take over from Steve King, who was given the boot toward the end of the previous season. However for me I don’t think it will be promotion for Macc. But, I do think they will make the play offs.
CAMBRIDGE UNITED could well be the surprise package for this season as they have looked to have spent big. Boss Richard Money has brought in Adam Cunnington, who finished second top scorer last season in the Blue Square Premier. While they have also brought in on loan goalkeeper Chris Maxwell from former Conference Premier Champions Fleetwood Town, whom he joined last season from Wrexham and went back on loan last season to the Racecourse ground and was in goal for the FA Trophy final and the Blue Square Premier Play-Off Final.
However for the Us they will make the play-offs but I don’t think they have enough to win the conference premier play offs for me. Despite the singings I think it could take them a while to gel and it could be a while to this happen and they won’t be able to do what Kidderminster did last season and lose a number of games at the start of the season and be able to make it to the play offs.
DARTFORD will be hoping for another great season in the Skrill Conference Premier next season. Their debut season was a success and they finished just outside of the play offs and were in the mix for the majority of the season.
Maybe with minor tweaks here and there and winning games where they drew or lost them then they could push into the play offs.
GRIMSBY TOWNare the final team for me to look and think they will be promotion contenders. Since there fall out of the Football League they always seem to be there or there about. But this season I think that they will be play-off contenders and will miss out again this season.
Top 5 for me
1 Kidderminster Harriers
2 Luton Town
4 Cambridge United