Tranmere Rovers ended their two-year stint in Non-League on Saturday with a hard-fought defeat of Boreham Wood in the National League play-off final.
Having finished second in the league behind Macclesfield Town, the Birkenhead club were definitely the best of the rest – as they proved in the play-offs.
And there’s plenty of reason to believe the Super White Army could have yet more to cheer about in League Two next season…
Plenty of pedigree in Rovers’ ranks
The Merseysiders won’t be short of relevant experience in their first campaign back in the EFL.
Liam Ridehalgh – who’s played for Rovers since their League One days – is still at Prenton Park. They also boast former Scotland international Jay McEveley, who’s played over 300 games in the Premier League and Football League combined.
There’s also experienced striker Andrew Mangan, who’s scored goals in the third and fourth-tier. And fans have enjoyed the recent return to prominence of ex-Manchester United and Fulham midfielder Larnell Cole.
In short, they’re not lacking experienced heads who have the skill and experience of playing above the National League. But most important of all could be the gaffer.
Rovers boss Micky Mellon won automatic promotion from League Two as Shrewsbury Town boss in 2014-15. On paper at least, the squad at Prenton Park right now is stronger than that Shrews one. Which bodes very well for Tranmere…
Similar clubs have continued upwards
Of the ‘big’ Football League clubs who’ve dropped down to Non-League and come back up, all are in a healthy state.
Bristol Rovers came back up to the EFL in 2015, and duly went about securing automatic promotion (in the most dramatic fashion!) at the first time of asking.
Meanwhile, Lincoln City have made the play-offs in their maiden campaign back in League Two. And after a couple of near-misses, 2014 returnees Luton Town have secured their place in League One for next season.
This isn’t the finest League Two crop
With Accrington Stanley and Luton playing some scintillating football en route to promotion, two of the finest sides the division’s seen in recent years are gone.
There’s also the fact that the relegated League One sides don’t seem to have a ready-made competitor amongst them.
Hapless Bury finished some way adrift at the bottom, whilst Oldham Athletic could find playing in the fourth-tier for the first time in 47 years to be rather a culture shock. As for MK Dons, the Buckinghamshire club appear to be in freefall.
That all seems to point to a successful campaign for the Super White Army. But what do our trading team say?
A top-seven finish would guarantee a play-off berth, and that’s odds-on at 4/6. Meanwhile, a speedy relegation back to Non-League is as long as 16/1.
In the longer term, the prospect of Tranmere reaching the Championship by 2022-23 is a 5/1 shot.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing