Perhaps fallen giant is a bit strong, but Stockport County’s standing as the biggest club in the Conference North makes them worthy opponents to AFC Telford’s favouritism to win the title.
It may come as a surprise to many unsuspecting punters to happen across Stockport’s name hanging around such a lowly rung of the English football ladder but, at 5/1, they’ve got to be worth a punt to reign as king of the basement boys this term.
After a financial disaster sent the club tumbling through the divisions, the Edgeley Park club have a huge pre-season ahead of them, but the signings they’ve made already are enough to inject their beleaguered support with some optimism for the season to come after a torrid few years.
The acquisition of goal-getting midfield man Iain Howard from Chester could prove a shrewd move; the 25-year-old bagged 35 in 111 appearances for the Hatters’ north west rivals and is sure to be a constant threat in the opposition’s box.
They’ve also secured the services of young striker Kristian Dennis, who notched 46 goals in an amazing season for Curzon Ashton last season. While this level is one of even greater obscurity than the one which County are currently bobbing around in, manager Ian Bogie has proved himself capable of delving into the mire of semi-professional soccer and pulling out a star.
When in charge of Gateshead – a club he developed from semi-professional nothingness into Conference title contenders – he plucked current Huddersfield hitman Lee Novak from a similar level and went on to sell him for £150,000.
Bogie has stated that he believes Dennis has the talent to replicate Novak’s success in his Stockport side and, should he prove correct, his charges will almost certainly be competing at the division’s summit come the campaign’s end.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.