Salford City will start life in the Football League for the first time in their club history. Thus, this season in League Two is both unprecedented and unpredictable for the Ammies. Since the investments of Peter Lim and the ‘Class of 92’, this club have begun gathering pace and direction.
Salford City in League Two
It has been a very busy summer for the club, with a plentitude of arrivals and departures.
This includes the arrival of right-back Oscar Threlkeld, as well as Richie Towell who made 34 Championship appearances for Rotherham United last season. These are the two stand-out signings with good Football League experience. Striker Adam Armstrong from Middlesbrough will also be a welcome addition.
A whole list of departures (mainly as free transfers) includes unused goalkeeper Max Crocombe, experienced centre-back Danny Livesey and centre-forward Matt Green.
Danny Lloyd worked his way up into the Football League, first appearing there at Peterborough United. Now, he returns with Salford City. Last season he made 30 league appearances scoring three goals. This isn’t the greatest return for a player that is capable of about 10-15 goals on his day. Nevertheless, Lloyd provides more than just goalscoring. His dribbling and technical ability can be impressive and can help to set up goals.
Almost ever-present last season, Scott Wiseman provides another key source of experience in defence. Indeed, at 33-years-old, he has played for a whole host of clubs in the Football League. This includes Rochdale, Barnsley and Preston North End, which also names some Championship level clubs. Whilst Wiseman is not getting any younger, he will be important in keeping Salford on an even keel coming into this new season.
Top goalscorer Adam Rooney will need to step up again. Last year he managed 22 league goals in 39 appearances. Salford’s two only other sources of goals were fellow forward Rory Gaffney and goalscoring centre-back Carl Piergianni with a combined total of 23 goals between them. Luke Armstrong‘s arrival from Middlesbrough should help to bolster the firepower and share the load. However, Rooney is a third player with crucial experience, last scoring goals for Oldham in League One in 2013.
Manager and Line-Up
Graham Alexander took over the helm last season and took Salford City to the Football League. This is not a bad start to life at the club. However, he must not continue his pattern of slumping seasons when taking a club up the Football League. He took Fleetwood to League One via the playoffs but was sacked the following season for a poor start. And with Scunthorpe, he almost got them to promotion in his first full season. However, he was again sacked after this due to another barren run.
Alexander favours a 3-5-2 formation, which has tended towards a defensive style for Salford. Fans have bemoaned the way that this limits match time and the full effectiveness of players such as Danny Lloyd and Tom Walker. However, this is the tactics that allowed the club to reach the Football League. Thus, the manager may well want to stick to a more cautious formation especially during the opening of the season.
Predicted Starting Line-Up
Chris Neal, Scott Wiseman, Liam Hogan, Nathan Pond, Carl Piergianni, Ibou Touray, Lois Maynard, Danny Whitehead, Richie Towell, Adam Rooney and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe.
Predicted Finish: 19th.
After four promotions in five seasons, Salford City are rapidly developing as a football club. Stepping up into the Football League will be no mean feat, though. A year of consolidation but also competition would be a good outcome for the Ammies. With a solid season in League Two under their belts and continued investment into the squad, Salford should be able to continue their footballing journey.