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Albion Rovers

Summary of last season – Last year the name Albion Rovers was heard throughout British football as the club embarked on an historic Scottish Cup run that came heartbreakingly close to the semi-final. It took Rangers two attempts to finally defeat Rovers in the quarters but by then the club had benefitted with the national exposure and more importantly a big financial windfall. Despite this success the league campaign was completely underwhelming. Albion Rovers should have been challenging for the title but instead were left behind struggling in 7th place. The cup run possibly took its tole but the reality is that Albion fans would have wanted more from their side. At the end of the year a new manager was appointed in the shape of Darren Young.

Players in – Darren Young (Player/Manager), Gary Fisher (East Fife), John Gemmell (Stenhousemuir), Kieran Hughes (St Mirren), Ally Love (Annan Athletic), Marc McKenzie (East Fife), Ross McNeil (Stenhousemuir), Kyle Turnbull (Falkirk), Jamie Pollok (Free), Josh Mullin (Kilbirnie), TJ McLuskey (St. Roch)

Players out – Ryan Donnelly (Ayr United), Josh Flood, Kevin Green (Arthurlie), Peter Innes, Dom Kennedy, Matt McGinley, Barry Russell (Stranraer), Graeme Shepherd, Ryan Tiffney, Pat Walker

What they still need – The squad looks well set for the year ahead but new manager Young will continue to stamp his own take on the side. At the back the line up maybe needs a little work but further forward it seems as though the side is well covered and very capable.

Key player – One of the signings of the summer in this division is John Gemmell. He is someone who is a proven goalscorer at this level and Albion fans will look to him to provide the majority of firepower this season.

Opinion on Albion Rovers – This should be the season that Albion finally set right the wrongs from last year. They have the squad capable of winning this division and the fans will be expecting a top four finish at the very least. A new management team in place should give the club a boost and with last year’s financial windfall the club as a whole is well placed to make the changes needed to get them where they want to be.

Prediction for this season – 1st

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Annan Athletic

 Summary of last season – A great year for a club now firmly established in the SPFL setup. They finished in 2nd place and despite losing in the playoffs to Stirling Albion they will look back on last season with a great deal of happiness. The fans were left somewhat frustrated in the early part of last year but they managed to find that crucial consistency in the second half of the campaign. Between Christmas and May they managed to string together some great results and a 2nd place finish was well deserved. Fans would have been disappointed in the pretty meek showing in the playoffs against Striling Albion but the season as a whole will give them plenty of optimism for the future.

Players in – Derek Carcary (Brechin City), Steven Logan (Newcastle United), Ryan McStay (Portadown)

Players out –  Kenny Arthur, Chris Jardine, Ally Love (Albion Rovers), Andy Mitchell (Southport), Daniel Orsi (Glenafton Athletic)

What they still need – With a low turnaround of players it seems as though the management team and the club are happy with the squad that they have. Of course they could always be improved but it is a shrewd move to keep the majority of the squad together and this should maintain their consistency from last year.

Key player(s) – The wonderfully named Steven Swinglehurst was one of the leagues best defenders last year and he will be aiming to maintain his form again this campaign. A solid and reliable central defender he is a vital part of this Annan squad.

Opinion on Annan Athletic – There is something to said about keeping together a team. If it isn’t broken then why fix it? When many teams are chopping and changing their squad it is a positive move from Annan to simply try and maintain what they know. The side is more than capable in this division and it should be another good year for the club.

Prediction for this season – 4th

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Scottish Football, Scottish League Two

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