Stevenage and Crawley light a path for Fleetwood Town in League Two
No club promoted from the Conference have ever been relegated in their first Football League campaign and with the gap in class between the two divisions closing every year, Fleetwood Town can afford to aim even higher.
The Cod Army were convincing Conference champions last season with 103 points and as a result have been installed as 11/8 second favourites to go up again, in doing so following the example set by predecessors Stevenage and Crawley.
They possess the financial might that also helped Crawley make an instant splash and have already attracted the likes of Dean Howell, Damien Johnson and Jon Parkin to Highbury this summer.
Five sides have achieved double promotions at this level in the last nine seasons, and while the first few were former Football League teams Doncaster, Hereford and Exeter, Stevenage and Crawley’s success shows that newcomers can climb just as quickly.
Fleetwood, who are 6/1 to finish first, aren’t scared of the expectation hike instigated by the example set by the League One pair and their own competitive budget though.
Defender Steve McNulty emphasised that “Fleetwood are not going into League Two to make up the numbers; we want to compete and hopefully win promotion to League One” and the message has been repeated by many of the high-profile arrivals.
The one club fancied more than Micky Mellon’s men to get to League One are Rotherham. The statement-sending capture of Crawley boss Steve Evans in April coupled with a squad overhaul sees them at 3/1 for the title and 4/6 for promotion.
As the Millers have spent much of the five years since they dropped back into the fourth tier among the contenders without delivering, only even reaching the play-offs once, a wait-and-see approach to tracking their progress might work best.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.