Summary of last season – After previously achieving back to back promotions, last season the Wasps managed to retain their Championship status…just. Ending the season above Cowdenbeath on goal difference Alloa finished 8th, securing them another crack at the Championship this season.
Players in – Greig Spence (Striker, Raith Rovers), Liam Buchanan (Striker, East Fife), Adam Asghar (Midfielder, Motherwell), Mark Docherty (Defender, Stranraer), David Weatherston (Striker, Stirling Albion), John Gibson (Goalkeeper, Dundee)
Players out – Scott Bain (Dundee), Derek Riordan (Free), Andy Kirk (Free), Darren Young (Albion Rovers), Ross Caldwell (End of Loan), Liam Lindsay (End of Loan), Liam Caddis (End of Loan)
What they still need – It will always be the case that Alloa will work with a tight squad and this season is no different. Wasps fans will be pleased to see the core of the team kept together and in particular the back four. However they will want to see more striking options at the club given their lack of firepower last season with a target man a priority.
Key player(s) – To be honest you could pick any of the very solid back four that Alloa have but the standout and the most reliable is probably Ben Gordon. There is a reason that Alloa had such a decent defensive record last season and much of that was down to him. Further up the park it has to be said that Ryan McCord is a very underrated footballer. Someone who could probably make the leap to full-time football, McCord is a very talented and technically gifted player.
Opinion on Alloa – Given the strength of the Championship this year it will be an incredibly tough season for Alloa. One of the big problems they had last season was scoring goals and that might be an issue again this year. They have strengthened in the striking department but it remains to be seen if it will pay off. Despite keeping the majority of their squad together which will benefit the team it will be another tough campaign for Alloa. However they will be one of a number of teams that will really benefit financially from this Championship season.
Prediction for this season – 10th (sorry)
Review of last season – It took a playoff victory against Dunfermline but Cowdenbeath are still in the Championship. There is no doubt that one of the big highlights for Cowden fans last term was seeing the goalscoring exploits of Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart. The team managed to score a barrowload of goals last season but on the flip side they also managed to concede more than anyone else in the league. Still, survival in the Championship and a third consecutive season in the division can be classed as a successful year.
Players in – Robbie Thomson (Goalkeeper, Rochdale), Darren Brownlie (Defender, Partick Thistle), Iain Campbell (Defender, Forfar Athletic), Sean Higgins (Striker, Stenhousemuir).
Players out – Kane Hemmings (Barnsley), Greg Stewart (Dundee), Jamie Stevenson (Peterhead), Marc McKenzie (Albion Rovers), Seb Usai (Free), Jamie Pyper (Free), James Fowler (End of Loan), Rory McKeown (End of Loan), David Gold (End of Loan)
What they still need – This Cowdenbeath side still needs a bit of work. Defensively they are fairly sorted and have a reliable back line as well as some defensive elements in the midfield. However, going forward is a different story. There is still a real need for a couple of strikers and some kind of creative force in the midfield whether that be a playmaker in the middle or some genuine width in the team.
Key player(s) – Cowdenbeath did concede a huge number of goals last year but despite that, many of their key players are part of their defence. One of the big signings of the summer for the Blue Brazil is the capture of Darren Brownlie. He was on loan at Central Park last season and had a very impressive spell in the side. Fans will be delighted he is returning on a permanent basis. Another key defender in the Cowden side is captain John Armstrong. The long serving central defender is a huge player in the squad and has shown season after season how reliable he can be.
Opinion on Cowdenbeath – This will be a common theme amongst sides in the Championship this season but Cowdenbeath first and foremost will make a huge sum of money this year. Looking beyond a season of football this cash will be hugely important to the club in the future. As for the playing side of things then the first thing that must be said is that no side copes well with losing so many goals from the team. Replacing players like Hemmings and Stewart is a huge challenge and it might be the lack of goals that ultimately costs Cowdenbeath this year. This is a great season to look forward to for Cowden fans with some massive games and some big crowds expected. Meaning at the very least it will ensure a very memorable season for fans regardless of eventual league position.
Prediction for this season – 9th