Jogo Bonito

The English Football League Thread - EFL in FM17

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Welcome to the EFL - The Sky Bet Football League in FM17

 

 

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Welcome to the 2016/2017 edition of the Football League thread for Football Manager!

Below are brief introductions to each of the 72 EFL clubs, listed in order of their FM17 media predictions.

I hope you will enjoy...

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1) Newcastle (Transfer Budget £5m)

Relegated last year, The Magpies are hotly fancied to make an immediate return to the top flight. They’ve sold some of their better Premiership performers, but this allowed them to go on a spending spree for players who should shine brightly at this level. The pick of those arrivals would be striker Dwight Gayle and attacking midfielder Matt Ritchie, but there is plenty of quality in this squad. This is a big club, with great support, resources and facilities – it seems impossible to fail.

2) Norwich (£10m)

Another relegated side, The Canaries would also be expecting to mount a strong promotion challenge this season. Robbie Brady provides quality in any position on the left side, whilst midfielders Jonny Howson, Alex Pritchard and Wes Hoolahan should also be a big influence in the team.  Nelson Oliveira will look to do the damage ahead of them, and there’s no doubt the celebrity board members will want to see their club chirping again soon.  

3) Aston Villa (£5m)

Hopelessly outclassed last season in the top flight, doubts remain over their ability to bounce back immediately from relegation. They’ve splashed some cash on striking pair Ross McCormack (Fulham) and Jonathan Kodjia (Bristol City), who both have fine records at this level. However, the performances of former Bournemouth centre-back Tommy Elphick and ex-West Brom defender James Chester may be equally as important.  

4) Brighton (£4.5m)

A really strong squad has been assembled at this South Coast club, and automatic promotion is a very realistic target. Attacking midfielder Anthony Knockaert is a class above most in the division, and is always a threat coming in off the right wing. Strikers Glenn Murray and Tomer Hemed should thrive of his creativity, but The Seagulls can call upon others like Oliver Norwood and Lewis Dunk to deliver even further quality.

5) Derby (£4m)

The Rams have been an enigma in the last couple of campaigns. Stacked with talent, they’ve still not been able to get themselves out of the division. With leading target man Chris Martin out on loan at Fulham, hopes now fall on Tom Ince and Johnny Russell to push them forward. Big money spent on an array of strikers hasn’t really paid off yet, but Jacob Butterfield and Will Hughes still have the potential to put in some sparkling central midfield performances.  

6) Sheffield Wednesday (£2m)

After an impressive effort last year, The Owls would have been expecting a similar run again this time. It hasn’t quite gone to plan so far, but this is a good club with history and support behind them. Expensive forward options like Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher mean they always carry a goal threat, whilst defender Tom Lees and midfielder Kieran Lee are also reliable at this level.

7) Wolves (£4m)

Investment in this famous old club has seen some interesting arrivals, with Portuguese wingers Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa, plus Icelandic striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson amongst the most high profile of them. Centre-back Danny Batth is usually reliable in defence alongside young talents Dominic Iorfa and Kortney Hause. The potential at this club is huge, but they never seem to quite get it right.

8) Fulham (£400k)

The Cottagers are mourning the loss of prolific forwards McCormack and Moussa Dembele (Celtic), but the signing of the aforementioned Martin on loan from Derby was an astute piece of business. Creativity and supply comes from the cultured left foot of midfielder Tom Cairney (and perhaps Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon), but defensive improvements are much more critical for a club that has leaked goals for several seasons. Keep an eye on teenager Ryan Sessegnon, who is tipped to have a bright future.

9) QPR (£1m)

Dogged by inconsistency since they dropped out of the top flight, the Loftus Road outfit are still no closer to finding the magic formula. A tendency to recruit more home-grown players might finally see that change, so hopes will be high that the likes of Jake Bidwell, Steven Caulker and Grant Hall can help form a solid core for the future. Dutch attacker Tjarron Chery adds some unpredictability to the mix, but striker Conor Washington looks to be struggling at the higher level so far.

10) Cardiff (£1.2m)

The Welshmen have struggled to make much headway since their fall back to this level a few years ago, and still look to be some way short of changing that this term. Midfielder Peter Whittingham has been a great servant to the club for some time, but his best days are behind him. In his place, Anthony Pilkington, Craig Noone and Junior Hoilett will be the men tasked with making the chances – but it’s not too clear who will be converting them. 

11) Nottingham Forest (£500k)

After several years flattering to deceive, hopes of promotion have been minimal at The City Ground for the last couple of seasons. Nothing here suggests that is about to change, although the return of long-term injury victim Britt Assombalonga will boost their attacking threat. Henri Lansbury and Ben Osborn will be the men expected to offer the most support.

12) Huddersfield (£1m)

Shrewd managerial methods and clever recruitment has seen this likeable Yorkshire club making good progress over the last year. Their overseas recruits have gelled nicely with young talents that were developed in the English leagues, and the squad now has good balance.  Right-back Tommy Smith is one of those making an impression, whilst Bermudan forward Nahki Wells always offers a goal threat for a team looking to target a play-off challenge. Central midfielder Aaron Mooy (on loan from Manchester City) is one of the new recruits destined to make a big contribution.

13) Brentford (£500k)

Armed with their fit-again striker Scott Hogan, these Bees have a sting in their attack that others now envy. You’ll be awaiting the return of creative midfielders Alan Judge (injured) and Jota (on loan at Eibar in Spain), but with Daniel Bentley in goal, Andreas Bjelland in defence and Lasse Vibe helping Hogan in attack, they can compete for a play-off spot in the meantime.

14) Leeds (£100k)

The Yorkshire club remain one of the biggest in the country, despite their many lean years. Although they still have a madcap owner, there are finally signs of improvement this term – and they look to be strong contenders for a top-six finish. Left-back Charlie Taylor continues to progress well, but seems unwilling to sign a new deal and will be a big loss at the end of season 1, unless it is decided to cash-in early. Further defensive strength is provided by on-loan Swedish centre-back Pontus Janssen, whilst young midfielder Ronaldo Vieira and forward Chris Wood are also likely to make good contributions.  

15) Ipswich (£500k)

It’s not easy steering these Tractor Boys, with limited resources hampering them from competing with clubs they used to look down on. In the last few years, they’ve been considered a solid but unspectacular outfit, with the emphasis often on their strong defensive attributes. Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith will continue to play important roles back there, but more flair and goals are needed to create any bigger impact. Loan pair Jonny Williams and Tom Lawrence will hope to be the ones to make the difference on that front.

16) Reading (£3m)

Two campaigns at the lower end of the table prompted a summer of change, and an influx of new players arrived in Berkshire. A clear change in playing philosophy followed, with a possession based tactic implemented, and the improvement has been beyond expectations of even the club themselves. Playmaker John Swift and central defender Liam Moore are the pick of the new recruits, whilst winger Garath McCleary remains a major threat too. In the background, the much-admired Academy also continues to produce lots of good young talent to supplement the experienced pros. 

17) Birmingham (£500k)

Villa’s city neighbours have some good days, but lack the consistency required to mount a sustained promotion challenge. Striker Clayton Donaldson has been fairly productive in recent seasons, but needs more support. That may come from new signing Che Adams, but defenders Ryan Shotton and Michael Morrison will also have to be at their best.

18) Blackburn (£300k)

It looks like a long season ahead for the men from Ewood Park, and it’s hard to predict much more than survival. Supply from the likes of Craig Conway, Ben Marshall and Elliott Bennett will need to be constantly good if Danny Graham and Southampton loanee Sam Gallagher are to going to deliver enough goals.

19) Bristol City (£5.5m)

Replacing the excellent Kodjia (now at Villa) was never going to be easy, but Chelsea loan striker Tammy Abraham has been doing a great job leading the line, and they still have a decent budget to do more if necessary. Others to keep an eye on are Joe Bryan, who can play a variety of roles down the left flank, and attacking midfielder Luke Freeman.

20) Wigan (£1m)

The Latics were promoted from League 1 last term, and will be looking to keep safe from relegation this time around. Striker Will Grigg played a major role in that successful season, but whether he can deliver at the higher level remains to be seen. Similar question marks remain over many of the squad, including wingers Michael Jacobs and Yanic Wildschut. Survival will be a decent achievement, but is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

21) Preston (£500k)

This Lancashire club has a very proud history and tradition, but these days they are just happy to be playing in the second tier. It would be a major surprise if anything better materialises, but there is definitely enough to cement their position here for some years to come. Plenty of hopes will be pinned on midfielder Daniel Johnson, but winger Aiden McGeady has lots to prove. There isn’t much star quality at Deepdale, but they should be well clear of trouble.

22) Rotherham (£250k)

After defying most predictions last year, avoiding relegation again would seem to be mission impossible for the Yorkshire outfit. Lacking the budget and resources to compete in the transfer market, they have assembled a squad they hope will be competitive, but it clearly lacks star quality. Chelsea loan forward Izzy Brown is by far their prize asset, but whether he’ll get enough help from the likes of Danny Ward and Jon Taylor remains doubtful.

23) Barnsley (£2m)

Promoted from League 1, The Tykes will be looking for a season of consolidation. Central midfielder Conor Hourihane will be a key player, whilst strikers Sam Winnall, Tom Bradshaw and Adam Armstrong (on loan from Newcastle) will need to flourish at a higher level than they have done before. This is a club that has an admired transfer policy of securing young British players from the lower leagues, and I think they will be rewarded with a comfortable season.

24) Burton (£150k)

The Brewers are playing in the second tier for the first time in their history, and are expected to find it tough going. Survival is the aim of the game, but it is possible for this well-drilled team to achieve their goal. Winger Lucas Akins provides the spark to a side built mainly on a strong team ethic, and there will be lots of pressure on Chris O’Grady to score enough goals. Central defender Ben Turner role at the other end of the pitch will probably be even more important.

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1) Charlton (Transfer Budget Nil)

The Addicks suffered relegation last season, and the poisonous atmosphere towards unpopular owner Roland Duchatelet isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s a shame that this once well-run club has gone this way, but until they find a solution to this, their lack of togetherness will hold them back. They boast an impressive stadium and facilities, and on the pitch can expect big things from teenage attacker Ademola Lookman (until he gets snapped up by a bigger club). Striker Nicky Ajose and centre-back pair Jason Pearce and Patrick Bauer will also need to make good contributions, but beware the club has no transfer funds and is about £30k per week over their wage budget. On the positive side, finances can be improved if transfer clauses are cashed-in.

2) Bolton (Nil)

Financial troubles played a big part in The Trotters relegation last season, but if that can be sorted out, they’re a big club for this level. There is fair amount of quality to call upon, but Mark Davies and Zach Clough are amongst five injured first-team players at the start of the season. Short-term fixes are out of the question with five loan men already at the club, but there is still enough to suggest that a promotion push is on the cards despite a potentially tricky start. Centre-back David Wheater and midfielder Josh Vela are likely to play important roles.

3) MK  Dons (£50k)

After many years of going close, the franchise club finally got their promotion out of League 1. Disappointingly for them, if not for large numbers of traditional football fans, their adventure ended in relegation after just one season. An immediate return is unlikely unless central defenders Paul Downing and Joe Walsh can keep it tight at the back – but if midfielders Ben Reeves and Samir Carruthers perform to the best of their ability, it may not be too long before they push on again. 

4) Sheffield United (£300k)

It’s acknowledged that this club is far too big for the third tier, but The Blades have been unable to scramble out of the league since relegation in 2011. They have the stadium, support and resources to do it, and now seem to have the squad to go and do it on the pitch. Boyhood fan of the club Billy Sharp is amongst the best strikers in League 1, fellow forward Matty Done is a danger, and behind them the promptings of John Fleck and Louis Reed are balanced by defensive midfielder Chris Basham, a variety of solid defenders and a pair of reliable goalkeepers. If all of that wasn't enough, the club have the biggest initial transfer budget in League 1, and can also pocket £4.6m from a single transfer clause too.

5) Bradford (£50k)

The Bantams are a club with good facilities and sizeable support, and have enormous potential. On the pitch though, options are a bit underwhelming. In attack, target man James Hanson has been a reliable performer for many seasons, and loan pair Mark McNulty and Jordy Hiwula should give good support. If promotion is the aim, expectations will also be high on midfielders Nicky Law and Josh Cullen to deliver consistently. Some interesting transfer clauses might also help take the club forward, so that's something else to keep an eye on.   

6) Millwall (Nil)

The pride of these Lions took a hit in 2015 with relegation, but the Londoners are well-placed to make a return after going close last term. Defender Byron Webster, midfielder Shaun Williams and forward Steve Morison add experience to the group, while younger players like Fred Onyedinma, Ben Thompson and Aiden O’Brien look to have bright futures. It’s arguably the goals of striker Lee Gregory that could get them over the line this time though.

7) Gillingham (£50k)

The Kent club have threatened promotion a couple of times in recent years, but the wheels always seem to come off. Attacking midfielder Bradley Dack is considered to be the most valuable asset in the division at £5.5 million, but clearly needs some help. Forward Rory Donnelly, midfielder Emmanuel Osadebe and right-back Ryan Jackson all have the potential to aid another promotion challenge, and on his day the inconsistent Jay Emmanuel-Thomas can be unplayable.   

8) Scunthorpe (£100k)

The Iron are another club that look to be strong promotion contenders, and with a new all-seater stadium on the horizon for the start of next season, there is no better time to do it. Striker Paddy Madden has been a consistent marksman at this level for a while, and is now supported by Kevin van Veen, the skilful Dutch forward. The arrival of attacking midfielder Josh Morris was a major coup in the summer, and with plenty of other good midfield options in the squad, plus central defender Murray Wallace to call upon, everything looks to be in place for a successful campaign. 

9) Peterborough (£400k)

The Posh retain their reputation for unearthing hidden gems – particularly strikers - and selling them on for big money. That production line seems to have slowed a little over the last couple of years, but they now possess a central midfield trio that is the envy of their League 1 rivals. Chris Forrester has blossomed since arriving from Ireland, whilst Jermaine Anderson and teenager Leonardo Da Silva Lopes look nailed on for bigger and better things after cementing first team places at a tender age. The enigmatic forward Marcus Maddison and a smattering of decent loan recruits add to the belief that promotion is a realistic first season target. Future transfer clauses might help them consolidate their position at the next level, if they can get there.

10) Port Vale (£25k)

The Valiants have held their own for three seasons since leaving League 2, but had an interesting summer after a host of departures. Their replacements came mainly from Europe, with a mix of Dutch, French and Portuguese players joining the club. Their ability to settle quickly will determine if that was a wise or foolish strategy, but the cosmopolitan feel of the squad looks like a big gamble. In contrast, experienced anchor man Anthony Grant and utility player Ryan Taylor are steady influences, whilst home grown central defender Nathan Smith looks a safe bet to establish himself at a higher level.

11) Rochdale (£40k)

The Dale are a well-run outfit, but have spent their entire existence in the third and fourth tiers. These days they are closer than ever to getting to the next level, and central midfielders Jamie Allen and Matty Lund have the potential to help fulfil that dream. The young squad continue to count on experienced forwards Peter Silvestri and Ian Henderson, who have both played their part in pushing the club towards that long-awaited promotion, but new blood can be introduced thanks to some very generous transfer clauses.

12) Coventry (Nil)

Another club with unpopular owners, the future of these Sky Blues remains under constant dark clouds. Once established as regular top flight members, their immediate task is to fight off relegation to League 2. The return of midfielder Gael Bigirimana will be liked by the fans, and it could be young talents such as Jodi Jones, Ben Stevenson and Daniel Agyei  (on loan from Burnley) that determine how successful their campaign turns out.

13) Walsall (£100k)

The big question for The Saddlers is over how they would adapt to the loss of star trio Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley), Romaine Sawyers and Rico Henry (both to Brentford). They’ve recruited attacking midfielder Erhun Oztumer from Peterborough to supplement the likes of promising winger Kieron Morris, but the squad looks much weaker than last year and an assault on the top six seems way beyond this group of players. The one positive coming from the exodus of the better players comes with transfer clauses that will keep the club finances in good order once activated.

14) Swindon (£150k)

The Robins from Wiltshire have had a rollercoaster ride since being relegated to League 1 in 2000. Two solitary seasons in League 2 both saw immediate returns, but their form in League 1 has fluctuated drastically from season to season. Defender Nathan Thompson has remained at the club through all of these turbulent years, and will play a major role in how they perform. Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux will need to perform at his best if they are to achieve anything soon, whilst midfielders Yaser Kasim and Nigel Doughty are both decent players that the club will struggle to keep hold of for long.

15) Bury (Nil)

The Shakers are a club that never seem far from a financial meltdown. On the face of it, they seem to have progressed nicely, building up a good squad of players and having a decent stadium and training facilities. Behind the scenes, what appears to be positive outlook is undermined by doubts over whether they are spending beyond their means. Creativity and flair will be constantly provided by Danny Mayor in midfield, and new recruit James Vaughan is more than capable of grabbing goals at this level.

16) Oxford (Nil)

After promotion last season, the Oxfordshire club continued their rise back up the pyramid. Top players Kemar Roofe and Callum O’Dowda have already been picked up by better sides, but defender Curtis Nelson was a shrewd signing and winger Marvin Johnson has built a good reputation North of the border. He’ll be looking to establish himself back in England, whilst Chris Maguire and Wes Thomas will be under pressure to replicate the goal return of Roofe.

17) Fleetwood (£10k)

After a rapid rise up the pyramid, The Cod Army outfit are now established at this level. It might be too much to expect a club of this size to go further up the ladder, but they’ve assembled some decent footballers that will have ambitions to do so. Right-back Conor McLaughlin, Joe Davis, Amari’i Bell and Michael Duckworth fall in to that category, whilst their quintet of loan signings will also boost their chances.

18) Oldham (Nil)

It’s another season that promises very little for The Latics. After proving me wrong by surviving last time out, another relegation battle is on the cards at Boundary Park. Once famous for their plastic pitch, they’re probably now wishing they had another type of plastic to help their ailing financial status. Right-back Cameron Dummigan has now joined permanently after a loan spell last season, and any hopes of another great escape will be on him plus loan forwards Lee Erwin and Billy McKay.

19) Chesterfield (£100k)

Following the split-up of a good squad a couple of years back, The Spireites are attempting to emerge from a period of rebuilding. Midfielder Jay O’Shea has stayed throughout that process - and remains one of the key men - whilst Dion Donohue and Reece Mitchell are amongst a number of younger players that provide other interesting options. The club is celebrating it's 150th anniversary after being formed in 1886.

20) Southend (£75k)

The Essex boys from Roots Hall are not amongst the clubs I would expect to be near the top of this league, so their form this season has been a bit of a surprise. Experienced forward Simon Cox and right-back Jason Demetriou have certainly added something new, whilst defensive midfielder Ryan Leonard has been consistent over the last few seasons. Veteran defender Anton Ferdinand might also be a bonus if he can stay fit, but the presence of the ridiculous Nile Ranger in any professional squad always baffles me.

21) Northampton (Nil)

The Cobblers romped their way to the League 2 title last year, and given their financial plight that was a truly remarkable achievement. That momentum should be enough to see them consolidate this term, but there still seems to be a lack of real quality in the squad. Goalkeeper Adam Smith, winger Paul Anderson and midfielder Harry Beautyman will need to contribute, whilst veterans Matty Taylor and forward Marc Richards offer much-needed experience.

 22) Shrewsbury (£20k)

This is a club that will be more concerned at events going on at the foot of the table. Their biggest threats would appear to come from loan pair Ivan Toney (the striker from Newcastle) and Moha El Ouariachi. The latter is a young winger on loan from Stoke, but whether the former Barcelona youth can adapt and flourish in England remains to be seen. Elsewhere, the club are relying on solid pros with experience at League 1 and 2 levels, but it’s likely to be a season of struggle for the Shropshire side unless you can be creative with a couple of transfer clauses.

23) Bristol Rovers (£25k)

Successive promotions have pushed Rovers back to a level more in keeping with their past, and now they’ll be looking to keep the momentum going. The form of striker Matty Taylor has been impressive over the last two years, with 45 goals marking him out as a massive threat to any opposition defence. It might be a bigger test for some of his team mates, but Premier League youngsters Charlie Colkett and Connor Roberts look to be good loan signings.

24) AFC Wimbledon (£175k)

The new Crazy Gang remain on an upward curve after their promotion last season, and are looking comfortable so far in League 1. With a move to their new Plough Lane venue planned for the summer of 2018, it’s a progressive club with plenty of appeal. Their football is a bit more cultured than in days gone by too, with Jake Reeves and Dean Parrett capable of controlling the midfield, and Lyle Taylor forming an effective strike partnership with Tom Elliott.

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Edited by Jogo Bonito

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1) Portsmouth (Transfer Budget £150k)

The Fratton Park outfit are still the big fish in League 2, but they’re now beginning their fourth year at this level. Off the pitch, everything is ready for a revival in the club’s fortunes, with the stadium, fan base and resources the best in the division. But it’s on the pitch that matters most, and the perennial title favourites need to add consistency. Creative midfielder Gary Roberts still has a touch of class, but can’t do it as often as before. Instead, new kid on the block Conor Chaplin and Kyle Bennett might be the ones to carve out the openings - and Michael Smith will be the man expected to convert them. At the back, ex-Ipswich centre-back Matt Clarke should be able to contain most opposition strikers.

2) Doncaster (£50k)

Rovers were relegated from League 1 last term, and are another club that will be expected to make a serious promotion challenge this year. Veteran midfielder James Coppinger, having made over 400 league appearances at the club since 2004, remains a key component – but forwards Andrew Williams, John Marquis and Liam Mandeville also carry a threat.  Tommy Rowe and Chelsea loanee Jordan Houghton will do well in midfield, but they have to stay in contention whilst their four best defenders are out injured at the start of the campaign.

3) Leyton Orient (Nil)

The East Londoners have been on a downward spiral since their new Italian owners took over the club a few years back. These days, instead of looking upwards towards The Championship, they’re more concerned about consolidating their position in League 2. They do still have a handful of decent players - including forward Jay Simpson, winger Gavin Massey and midfielder Liam Kelly – but their focus will be on the battle much further down the table.

4) Blackpool (£50k)

Another club in turmoil, The Seasiders have plummeted badly since relegation from the top flight in 2011. They’ve been put on the road to ruin by their hated owners, and with the fans against the controlling Oyston family, it was no surprise to see another relegation campaign last year. A change at the helm could rescue them yet, as they have a stadium and fan base too good for this level. On the pitch, they have a decent squad for League 2, with midfield trio Brad Potts, Jack Payne and Michael Cain (on loan from Leicester) a match for anyone. Striker Jamille Matt can provide goals, and they have good defensive options too. 

5) Colchester (£20k)

The Essex side were relegated last time out, after a couple of near escapes. Their policy of giving youth a chance has much to be admired about though, and despite their failings last term they should be one of the better clubs in League 2 this year. Winger Tarique Fosu (on loan from Reading) should be able to light up this division, and defensive midfielder Glen Kamara (on loan from Arsenal) could be a big influence too. They’ve added some experienced pros to the ranks, and with Sam Walker a reliable man between the sticks, they should go very close.

6) Yeovil (Nil)

The Somerset club rallied strongly to beat the drop last term, and will be looking to build on that momentum. It’s not likely that they’ll be contesting for honours at the top of the table, but steady progress would bring satisfaction for The Glovers. A new strike partnership of Tom Eaves and Izale McLeod could be interesting to follow, whilst loanees Liam Shephard and Ryan Hedges (both from Swansea) and Ben Whitfield (Bournemouth)  add more strength and quality to the squad.

7) Plymouth (Nil)

After failure in the play-offs last season, and the departure of top scorer Reid (eventually to Exeter) and best defender Nelson (to Oxford) there would have been some doubts over The Pilgrims ability to launch another promotion push this time. Any such notions can be disregarded however, as they are forcing the pace again and looking good to go one step better this year. Attacking midfielder Graham Carey is amongst the most talented in the league, and more support for strikers Jimmy Spencer and Arnold Garita will come from Craig Tanner. Off the pitch, the club has a stadium capacity and support that could sustain an existence higher up than this - and it's nice to see so many former players amongst the staff at Home Park.

8) Wycombe (Nil)

The Chairboys form dipped last season, and they’ll be looking for a much better showing in 2016/17. New signings Dayle Southwell (who grabbed 52 goals in the last two seasons with Boston United), and Scott Kashket are two forwards looking to prove themselves at this level, but they can learn plenty from the veteran Paul Hayes. Defensively, Wanderers look secure too - with a strong back four and arguably the best centre-back pairing in League 2 with Anthony Stewart and Aaron Pierre. 

9) Notts County (£75k)

The Magpies are the oldest English club performing at professional level, and it’s a disappointment for a club with such history that they have now spent more than 20 seasons in the lowest two tiers of the football league. There’s little to suggest that this is the year to change that, but any slim hopes they do have might rest on the shoulders of central midfielder Michael O’Connor plus forwards Graham Burke and Jonathan Forte.

10) Luton (£75k)

The Hatters will have realistic hopes of promotion this year after falling off the pace in the previous two campaigns. The signing of forward Danny Hylton adds undoubted quality to the mix, and his goals may prove to be the difference. Midfielders Cameron McGeehan and Jake Gray will also look to impress after dropping down several divisions to get regular football, and in defence they have a good balance between youth and experience. One massive bonus (or a massive negative depending on your take of realism and the level of challenge you want) is a transfer clause of £1.8m that can be cashed in immediately - an obscene amount of money for a League 2 club.

11) Crewe (£30k)

The Alex has always had a good tradition of developing players through their youth academy, but in recent years they have found it tougher to survive. They finally succumbed to relegation last time out, and it remains to be seen if they can return at the first time of asking. Other historic scandals have surrounded the club in recent months, but from a football perspective they have some decent talent to utilise. Young winger George Cooper is one of those prospects, and if they can keep hold of goalkeeper Ben Garratt they must fancy their chances. They have good defensive and midfield options, and attacker Alex Kiwomya (on loan from Chelsea) might just make the difference. As you would expect, they also have a few transfer clauses kicking around too. 

12) Stevenage (£10k)

There’s little to suggest the Hertfordshire side will force their way in to the promotion chase after a disappointing campaign last year. New left-back Kgosi Ntlhe, central midfielder Charlie Lee and attacking midfielder Ben Kennedy will probably be central to their best moments.

13) Cambridge (£100k)

Another club who may expect to see challenging near the top of the division, but their 9th place finish last term was a bit of a disappointment. In midfielder Luke Berry they possess one of the league’s better players, and their array of attacking options include the enigmatic Adam McGurk. Goalkeeper Will Norris and Harrison Dunk, who can play any role down the left, are also important members of the squad.

14) Carlisle (£15k)

The Cumbrians have more than opponents to battle against, with flooding issues frequently affecting their Brunton Park venue. They’ve accumulated a squad full of experience, including forward Shaun Miller, midfielder Jason Kennedy and defender Mark Ellis, and will expect to be in the promotion mix despite this underwhelming media prediction.

15) Exeter (Nil)

Following the recruitment of ex-Plymouth striker Reuben Reid, it’s safe to assume The Grecians would expect an improvement on their 14th place finish last season. With fellow forward Ollie Watkins showing good potential, and David Wheeler handy on the flank too, they look to be sorted in attack. In midfield, Jake Taylor should also be capable of making an impression, but the Devon club start the season with an abundance of injuries in defence - and this might kill their season before it’s even started.

16) Crawley (£10k)

The Red Devils might reside near Gatwick Airport, but they're more used to being grounded than soaring high. It’s unlikely they’ll be flying this year either, although striker James Collins might have other ideas. He has a good scoring record at this level, and the return of centre-back Mark Connolly will also be a welcome boost to the squad. The club will also be able to call on the services of midfielder Dean Cox from January onwards, when he returns from a fitness loan at Burgess Hill Town.

17) Accrington (Nil)

Stanley can be proud of their efforts in League 2 since promotion in 2006, and continue to defy the odds. Despite their tiny budget, they compete with much bigger clubs and even managed a play-off spot last time out. It’s impossible to predict if they can keep this going for long, but forward Billy Kee might enjoy the presence of experienced midfielder Chris Eagles, whose career has fallen by the wayside somewhat.

18) Mansfield (£25k)

The Stags will also be looking to improve on a mid-table finish last season, but still appear unlikely to emerge from the pack. Matt Green now has ex-Bury man Danny Rose to share the workload in attack, and goals should be plentiful. Elsewhere, Chris Clements can still influence games from midfield,  and the quality of their defenders looks to be improving slowly too.

19) Newport (£20k)

The Exiles from South Wales have struggled off the pitch since being promoted to League 2, and seem set to follow last season’s relegation battle with a similar campaign this time around. On the positive front, Cardiff loan striker Rhys Healey looks capable of scoring goals, whilst Josh Sheehan (another player borrowed from affiliate club Swansea) should also make an impact in central midfield.

20) Grimsby (£10k)

The Mariners finally return to League 2 after a six-season absence which took them close on numerous occasions. They’ll now be looking to build on that, and in striker Omar Bogle they have somebody who can find the net. At the other end, goalkeeper James McKeown has clocked up more than 200 appearances, and will be one to rely on.

21) Morecambe (Nil)

Another one of the smaller sides in League 2, and one that is constantly battling to retain their League 2 status. The Shrimps will be hoping that Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn will add some quality to their attack, but the bar of expectation will be set low again here.

22) Hartlepool (£25k)

Pools have not finished above 16th in the three seasons since their relegation, and it’s hard to see them making much of an impression this year either. Winger Nathan Thomas and attacker Lewis Alessandra might be the best of a very average bunch, but I can't see much for Jeff to be celebrating about for a while yet.

23) Barnet (£10k)

The Bees are another one of the smaller clubs in the division, but in striker John Akinde they possess an asset that is the envy of much bigger rivals. He’s plundered 54 goals in his two seasons at the club, and will clearly be the man to watch again. The rest of the cast need to step up and deliver the same kind of sting.

24) Cheltenham (Nil)

They won the race to the Vanarama title last year, and returned to League 2 after just one season in non-league football. Staying up seems like a fairly big ask though, and much could depend on whether Dan Holman can get close to repeating his tally of 16 goals in 18 league appearances last time out. Wigan loan player Danny Whitehead will also need to make a decent contribution for this modest outfit.

League 2 guide logo.jpg

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Lowdown on all 24 SkyBet Championship clubs and what they need this January Transfer Window.

Championship winter update to follow soon...

 

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Image result for EFL winter transfer window

League 1 & League 2 winter update to follow soon...

 

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito

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Looking forward to seeing this thread grow. There's an FM youtuber called "lullujo" who does a non-league to legend series where he starts out non-league then tries to progress the managers career as far as he can. It's a great series and inspired me to start my own.

 

I started out as Ebbsfleet but I was doing so well by March that a struggling Carlisle in League 2 offered me the job. I steadied the ship there and now in the second season I'm fighting for the title after the first 15 games or so. I've never done this sort of thing on previous FM's really but I'm loving this. 

 

The thing I'm struggling with most is finding consistent wide men - inside forwards to be precise. 

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For League One, I'd recommend signing Marco Motta on a free for RB.

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18 hours ago, paddypower said:

Looking forward to seeing this thread grow. There's an FM youtuber called "lullujo" who does a non-league to legend series where he starts out non-league then tries to progress the managers career as far as he can. It's a great series and inspired me to start my own.

 

I started out as Ebbsfleet but I was doing so well by March that a struggling Carlisle in League 2 offered me the job. I steadied the ship there and now in the second season I'm fighting for the title after the first 15 games or so. I've never done this sort of thing on previous FM's really but I'm loving this. 

 

The thing I'm struggling with most is finding consistent wide men - inside forwards to be precise. 

Good luck with Carlisle. What are the odds on promotion then, paddypower? :lol:

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Big thanks @Jogo Bonito for getting this thread up and running!

I'm currently playing with Ebbsfleet, so technically not a Football League save, at least just yet. :) I'm in March second season and trying to hang on to the playoff spots in Conference National, in 5th place, one point above York in 6th with 9 games to play. Won the league in first season with 99 points, four points under the league record, not bad for a first ever season in Conference north/south. Although I had by far the best squad in the league, so it was more about player quality than tactical prowess. :lol: I'm planning to stick it out with Ebbsfleet long term, hopefully making it all the way up to the premier league. I have to admit that promotion to L2 looks quite the challenge though, hopefully won't take too many years.

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A blackpool save is coming right up. I'll post regular updates. Time to take the seasiders back up to the PL and develop a tasty youth system along the way. 

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On 12/12/2016 at 13:55, Jogo Bonito said:

Good luck with Carlisle. What are the odds on promotion then, paddypower? :lol:

Never in doubt mate! Straight up via finishing second.

 

The Carlisle team is pretty great surprisingly. Kennedy is a brilliant box to box midfielder who scores a ton. Luke Joyce is an uber reliable DM. Passley the RB is killing it now in league 1. I managed to get Adam Jackson and Dominic Ball in on loan for CB. Both are good enough for the Championship imo, they gave me the best defense in league 2 and we broke the record for number of clean sheets 

 

In League 1 now and I applied for the Blackburn job in the same league, but they turned me down. They have Lucas Piazon and Kelvin on their wings! I beat them 3-0 twice though and am above them so I'm happy with that.

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Just been promoted to the Championship thanks to this beauty in the playoff final, they were leading 1-0 too :D

 

 

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It's great to see that someone's finally got a Football League thread up and running for FM17! I'm currently three seasons into a save with Millwall - my second-favourite club in real life, and the club that I've managed the most in my CM/FM life. Over the next few days, I'll be giving you quick recaps of my progress over those first three seasons. I'll probably go into a little more depth from the fourth season onwards.

MILLWALL - SEASON 1: 2016/2017

LEAGUE ONE: 11th

table01_zpspmpqvlrn.jpg

Yeah... the first season wasn't exactly a big success. The signs were there as early as the second game, when we lost 7-1 away to MK Dons. Strangely enough, we won our very next game 7-1 at Peterborough just a few days later! Those two results would set the tone for a very up-and-down season that saw us score plenty of goals, but also concede a shedload at the same time.

We spent much of that first season in mid-table, and we crept up towards the top six after an impressive run that saw us go six games unbeaten in all competitions. After that, though, we hit a real bad patch that left me seriously fearing for my job for what remained of the season. On a couple of occasions, I was summoned to a dreaded board meeting to discuss my future, narrowly surviving each time.

While we were underachieving in the league, we actually did much better in the tin-pot competition that used to be the Football League Trophy. I would often use heavily-rotated teams in what I'm calling the Pointless Trophy, but we still coasted through to the Semi Finals without me ever really being bothered. I was quite annoyed that we ultimately fell one round short of Wembley, following a home defeat to Swansea's so-called Development side, but whatever.

Ultimately, the first season was just a case of me getting to grips with FM17, and figuring out what worked tactically and what didn't. Strangely, this Millwall team appeared to be much more suited to a possession-based game than the direct approach they're more accustomed to under Neil Harris in real life. Results picked up late on, and although we missed the play-offs, I was allowed to keep my job and rebuild the squad ahead of my second season. More on that next time.

FA CUP: Round 3 (lost to Reading)
EFL CUP: Round 3 (lost to Coventry City)
POINTLESS TROPHY: Semi Final (lost to Swansea City 'Under-23s')

TRANSFERS:

transfers01_zps7bccf483.jpg

Central defender Bielik and attacking midfielder Hesketh were two very good loan signings, and two young lads whom you'll be reading a lot more about in future updates. Lawlor was just a sturdy back-up to our inconsistent number 1 goalkeeper Jordan Archer. Morris chipped in with a handful of goals in the second half of the season, while right-winger Quitongo was signed from the SPFL with a view to him being blooded into the first-team in the future.

In terms of departures, there wasn't much to talk about before the sale of Pony Craig to Sheffield United. Frankly, he just wasn't good enough at left-back or centre-half to be in the team, let alone my captain. Byron Webster took the captaincy, Morison followed Craig out of The Den, and we made a cool £400,000 after selling Czech prospect Twardek to Viktoria Plzen.

TACTICS: Early on, I would often use either a direct standard 4-4-2 (mainly for away games) or a more 'attractive' 4-4-2 diamond (mainly for trying to control our home games). Neither of them worked spectacularly well, although I did have slightly better luck later in the season with a narrow 4-3-2-1 'Christmas tree'. That would become my main formation for season 2.

MOST GOALS: Lee Gregory (23)
MOST ASSISTS: Shane Ferguson (13)
MOST CLEAN SHEETS: Jordan Archer (14)
HIGHEST AVERAGE RATING: Byron Webster (7.29)
MOST MAN OF THE MATCH AWARDS: Shane Ferguson (6)

FANS' PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Byron Webster - Captain Fantastic. We were often more solid defensively when he was at centre-back.

NEXT TIME: Get ready for a massive overhaul, both on the pitch and off it!

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Currently playing as Woking. Managed to win the Conference in my second season. Really struggling with league 2 now though. Personally I think I signed too many players - 18 to be precise! Still trying to find best formation and team! 

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Great to see this up and running, massive kudos to @Jogo Bonito! As usual I shall be managing the mighty Peterborough United, looking forward to seeing how everyone else does in the EFL.

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Nice update @CFuller . Fleetwood winning the league is surprising to see but they are also doing well in my save, currently in 3rd.

 

I'm also managing Peterborough @MaxeyN17 . I'm just over half way in the first season and we've just lost Da Silva-Lopes in January to Middlesbrough after the chairman accepted a decent offer. He's not been improving much for me but he's been a consistent performer and I'm gutted to lose him at this crucial stage of the season. I'll be interested to see what happens to him in your save.

8ZPkGEG.jpg

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Thanks to everyone for their comments. Time is precious but from this week I will be away for a month enjoying some sunshine. I'm sure that at some stage, I will have some time to get this properly written up. In the meantime, enjoy your saves and please keep on posting!

For those managing clubs from outside of the original 72 EFL teams, ideally these updates should be in a non-league thread even if they've been promoted to the EFL with you. Although it hasn't really been created for that purpose exactly, perhaps the 'guide to players for the conference' one can be adapted and used for updates on those clubs? One of my clubs in FM17 is Hereford, so I would also be happy to add posts there as things go on. It just keeps this one 'fit for purpose'.

Good luck all.

 

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@BigVanVader Thanks for the comment. I was really surprised to see Fleetwood doing so well in the first season. MK Dons were miles ahead of everyone else for almost the entire season, but Fleetwood came from the blind side and took the title late on. Mind you, they had this really good loan striker who was ripping League One defences apart - he was so good, in fact, that I signed him for the following season! :D

MILLWALL - SEASON 2: 2017/2018

PRE-SEASON CHANGES: Oh yes, there were a lot of them. I gave the playing squad a massive shake-up after last season's disappointing mid-table finish. By the time we played our first league match of the season, no fewer than eight players had been added to the first-team squad. A similar number left The Den, including some reluctant sales that would help to boost our coffers.

My summer overhaul stretched far beyond the pitch, though. Most of my backroom staff were, in all honesty, not adequate for League One. Ten staff members were released or allowed to join new clubs, and the number of new personnel at Millwall almost reached a dozen. Among those I hired was a new Head Physio. You might recognise her.

carneiro_zpsvazhixns.jpg

TRANSFERS:

transfers02_zpspjowjxfb.jpg
* I also extended centre-back Krystian Bielik's loan spell from Arsenal for a second season in a row, although that is not listed above.

I'll go through some of the outs first. Butcher was sold to league rivals Swindon purely to raise funds and make room for a younger box-to-box midfielder in Michael Cain. Martin, Morison and Wylde were all bit-part players at best, while I sold goalkeeper Archer to recently-relegated Cardiff after they met his release clause.

Now... Fred Onyedinma's got an interesting story to tell. The enigmatic attacking midfielder had a massive hissy-fit in February 2017, when we were seriously struggling for form. I called a team meeting to discuss a recent slump in form, and while most of the players were supportive of me, Fred said something along the lines of, "Nothing's going to change until you're sacked." I promptly showed Fred who was boss by dropping him to the reserves for a month.

Onyedinma slowly worked his way back into my plans towards the end of that season, but we weren't on speaking terms until just before the final game. He then dropped his concerns about me and agreed to discuss a new contract, which he signed in the off-season.

However, just three-and-a-half months later, tycoon-owned Premier League side Hull made a very attractive offer for Onyedinma. Through some negotiating, we got the price up to an initial £2.3million, put in a 30% transfer fee sell-on clause, and then shook hands. Onyedinma went to Hull, and we replaced him with Jake Hesketh, who rejoined us for Southampton - this time on a permanent basis.

Hesketh was joined at The Den by fellow Saints youth product Sam McQueen, who had a solid first year with us. We took a couple of players off Northampton in goalkeeper Smith and experienced left-back Buchanan, while Hinds and Robert would provide Hesketh with plenty of competition in the AM slots. Lethal youngster Chris Long, who helped Fleetwood win the League One title last season, joined us on loan to lead our frontline.

Then there was Ben Garratt, who would've provided Adam Smith with serious competition for the number 1 jersey. That was until he got into a bit of a tizz because I misunderstood a pre-contract promise I had made to him (don't ask for the gory details; it's a long story and entirely my fault). Garratt sulked in the reserves for a few months and was then sold to Reading in January. Still, at least we made a tidy profit on a goalkeeper that we barely used.

LEAGUE ONE: 1st (Promoted)

table02_zpscgrziavz.jpg
And boom goes the dynamite. Actually, this looked like being a bust early on, as we conceded a 94th-minute winner at home to newly-promoted Plymouth in our opening match. A hard-fought EFL Cup win over Southend followed, but we were still rather unconvincing early on. Our EFL Cup charge would end in Round 2 with a 2-0 loss at Everton, whom we had destroyed 4-0 at that same stage 12 months earlier. I should've mentioned that last time, shouldn't I?

The autumn period was rather better. The wins flooded in as we found a tactical style that really suited us, and we would only suffer one league defeat in each of September, October and November. At that point, I really fancied us to push on further and storm towards automatic promotion. December was a bit more iffy, but an awful home loss to Colchester just before the New Year would be just the kick up the backside we needed.

The first three months of 2018 were just incredible. Our league form went as follows: D-D-W-W-D-W-W-D-D-D-D-W-W-W-W-W-W - 17 games unbeaten in a row (a personal record), and 37 points to show for it. We were now considerably ahead of everybody else, and we effectively needed only one win to clinch automatic promotion.

Then we lost 1-0 at Chesterfield. Then we lost 2-1 at Port Vale. By the time we hosted struggling Shrewsbury, we were low on confidence and desperate to guarantee promotion before the final day. I feared the worst... until we took a 3-0 lead with barely a quarter of an hour to go. It looked like we were going to stroll through the rest of the match and secure our Championship place with the minimum of fuss. Shrewsbury had other ideas, scoring twice in the final three minutes of normal time, but I was relieved to hear the final whistle blow without them finding the net again. We were going up from League One - and we were going up as CHAMPIONS, as our title rivals Charlton had lost to leave us four points clear with one round to go!

We would lose our final match of the season after I fielded a mixture of reserve and youth players against Rochdale. That didn't really matter, though, as our three-year slog in League One was over, and we were heading back into the Championship!

Oh, and perhaps I should mention that I won League One's Manager of the Year award!

moty2018_zpsiiuvagav.jpg

FA CUP: Round 3 (lost to Milton Keynes Dons)
EFL CUP: Round 2 (lost to Everton)
POINTLESS TROPHY: Quarter Final (lost to Coventry City)

TACTICS: 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 were used sparingly in Season 2, but the one formation that really worked wonders for us across the whole season was the 4-3-2-1 (or occasionally 4-3-1-2). The narrow Christmas tree allowed us to play some excellent possession football that tore opposing teams to shreds, whilst not leaving us too open at the back.

I would often go with the standard back four - two full-backs and two centre-backs. Ahead of them, I would typically have a holding midfielder (usually Ben Thompson or vice-captain Nadjim Abdou), a box-to-box midfielder (Thompson or Shaun Williams), and a roaming playmaker (Michael Cain absolutely flourished in that role, getting goals and assists galore).

Then I would have an advanced playmaker in AM and a deep-lying forward up top, with the third attacking role going either to a shadow striker (4-3-2-1) or an advanced forward (4-3-1-2). Long was well-suited to either system, as he led the way in both goals and assists and won the League One title for a second straight year. Not bad for a 23-year-old loanee from Burnley!

Instructions-wise, I liked to play with either a Normal or Control mentality, depending on the strength of our opponents. Exploiting the middle and working the ball into the box tended to work quite well, as did lowering the tempo against any team that proved difficult to break down. I would also often use the 'Look For Overlap' instruction to help get our full-backs into the game a bit more.

MOST GOALS: Chris Long (24)
MOST ASSISTS: Chris Long (12)
MOST CLEAN SHEETS: Adam Smith (15)
HIGHEST AVERAGE RATING: Byron Webster (7.22)
MOST MAN OF THE MATCH AWARDS: Chris Long (7)

FANS' PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Byron Webster - The central defensive skipper wasn't always the first name on the teamsheet, but he still put in a good shift whenever he took to the field. Although he deserved to retain the award he won last year, I personally would've given it to either Long (those goals and assists records say it all) or Hesketh (an 89% pass rate in League One's not too shabby either).

NEXT TIME: We return to the Championship, but for how long? And will we be looking up or down the table?

Edited by CFuller

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@CFuller Two great season reviews, very nice to read and lots of interesting details and observations. Well done on the promotion, and good luck for next season. What I liked most was the fact you had an indifferent first season, then had to really make some good moves to make it click at the second attempt.

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4 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Thanks to everyone for their comments. Time is precious but from this week I will be away for a month enjoying some sunshine. I'm sure that at some stage, I will have some time to get this properly written up. In the meantime, enjoy your saves and please keep on posting!

For those managing clubs from outside of the original 72 EFL teams, ideally these updates should be in a non-league thread even if they've been promoted to the EFL with you. Although it hasn't really been created for that purpose exactly, perhaps the 'guide to players for the conference' one can be adapted and used for updates on those clubs? One of my clubs in FM17 is Hereford, so I would also be happy to add posts there as things go on. It just keeps this one 'fit for purpose'.

Good luck all.

 

Ah that means me 😭😉. Is there another thread?

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@bucket Not just you, saw a couple of remarks about non-league clubs. Not me being picky, as I like non-league clubs too. I just thought we should keep the same formula used for the last few years so that those not interested in the non-league sides wouldn't feel like the thread was bogged down by those other clubs.

I don't think there is a specific thread for the teams yet, but was thinking the one about non-league players just a few lines down on page 1 could perhaps be used? Or somebody could even start one? It doesn't need to be great, just a couple of posts with the clubs in playable leagues perhaps. I would happily join in there as I'm enjoying my time at Hereford in the South West Regional Leagues and don't get to write anything about it!

 

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 for an update regarding my EFL side. 

 

Edit: my current save has been corrupted. Got to restart the save from the Plymouth game. Great stuff eh. 

Edited by SirManager

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@Jogo Bonito Thank you. The first season was an utter disaster, and frankly, I was lucky to keep my job. That said, I'd inherited a load of bang-average players, and the squad badly needed refreshing before we could get back on track. I've got a pretty good record when it comes to rebuilding teams in FM, though, so I was fine with that.

MILLWALL - SEASON 3: 2018/2019

TRANSFERS:

transfers03_zpsbrweshvo.jpg
With Millwall now in the Championship, I quickly set about making major changes to the squad, although this summer reshuffle would not quite be as wide-reaching as the previous one.

Our most important signing was arguably that of Chris Long, who we signed permanently from Burnley after his excellent loan spell in League One. Former Arsenal prospects Moore (a right-back) and Malen (a striker) also arrived on free transfers, while Bielik joined us on loan for the Gunners once again. Other signings included ex-Manchester City centre-back Humphreys, versatile midfielder Gladwin, and an experienced new second-choice goalkeeper in Ben Alnwick. Ben actually turned out to be better than our regular first-choice keeper Adam Smith, which was, erm, rather worrying...

I looked to France for both of my major purchases. Benin left-back David Kiki was signed from second-tier Niort, and Dan-Axel Zagadou - a rather promising centre-half - was snapped up on the cheap from PSG. Zagadou would spend this season on loan at Burton in League One alongside James White - a homegrown teenage midfielder who has the potential to become a major star for us. Strengthening our defence was obviously a major priority, and Mbabu - formerly of Newcastle - was the last addition to that area this summer.

There were only three departures worth talking about. Centre-back Hutchinson and right flanker Worrall, who were here when I took over, were released, and David Buchanan was sold to make way for Kiki.

Otherwise, it was loans all the way as far as outgoings were concerned. Among those who went out to build up first-team experience was striker Jack Calvert - a youth product who scored 12 goals in the first half of the season while playing for Stevenage in League Two. Calvert would see plenty of gametime after returning to Millwall late in the campaign, as would left-back Simon Stewart, who was also in my first-season youth intake.

I would bring in three loanees on the last day of the January transfer window, and none of them were worth the hassle, in truth. Left-back Scott Malone was absolutely awful in his second stint with the Lions, while Conor Washington scored just once after joining us from QPR. As for teenage Scottish striker Matthew Knox, he was only at The Den for a matter of moments, as I realised only after completing the loan that he'd already played for Huddersfield and Norwich this season and was ineligible to play for us! :seagull: Needless to say, that loan deal was terminated rather quickly.

Oh yes, and we brought in 35-year-old midfielder Gary O'Neil as a player/youth coach in February.

CHAMPIONSHIP: 12th

table03_zps9ng5imba.jpg
That may look great at first glance, but for me, it really was a case of what might have been.

For the first few months, we were quintessentially mid-table - and very shaky in defence. Clean sheets were few and far between, as were home wins - after beating Swansea in a 3-2 thriller on the opening day, we wouldn't taste victory at The Den again until Birmingham were defeated 1-0 in November.

That victory against Birmingham actually started off a run of seven wins in nine matches, during which we couldn't stop scoring - and, more to the point, Chris Long couldn't stop scoring. The final match of that purple patch saw Long fire FIVE goals past Cardiff as we battered the Bluebirds 6-2 and moved up to 6th place! It looked like we had a real chance of back-to-back promotions.

Then disaster struck. On New Year's Day, we lost 2-1 at home to Blackburn, and attacking midfielder Jake Hesketh damaged his achilles tendon. That wasn't a total disaster, but when Long broke his leg a fortnight later, it all went horribly wrong very quickly. With Hesketh and Long both effectively out for the season, the goals dried up, and we went on a run of 15 games that included two wins and nine defeats. We tumbled down into the bottom half, and our fleeting hopes of reaching the play-offs were dashed.

On a brighter note, we did finish the season unbeaten in seven games. What was less encouraging was that, in the final FOUR games, we threw away a lead on SEVEN occasions. Only in the very last of those matches did we come away with all three points. That was against Brighton, with goals in the 89th, 92nd and 93rd minutes snatching an unlikely 5-2 victory from the jaws of a 2-2 draw!

I was also very concerned that we won only eight of our 23 home league games, compared to nine away. We didn't ever look comfortable at The Den; even a 2-0 win over whipping boys Bury proved to be scrappier than the Millwall faithful would've liked. Maybe we'll have better luck next season - who knows?

FA CUP: Round 3 (lost to Cardiff City)
EFL CUP: Round 3 (lost to Newcastle United)

SQUAD (END-OF-SEASON):

squad03_zpsu5mbd1ur.jpg
We don't look too bad, actually. There's plenty of depth in midfield, and we've got plenty of talent going forward, but the defence remains a serious issue.

TACTICS: The Christmas tree wasn't anywhere near as effective in the Championship as it had been in League One. My most successful go-to formation for this campaign proved to be simply a bog-standard 4-4-2, although a variant of 5-3-2 (with two attacking wing-backs and a shadow striker behind the two forwards) gave us some much-needed defensive solidity at times.

That said, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the results, and it might take me at least another season to find a system that clicks in the Championship.

MOST GOALS: Chris Long (20)
MOST ASSISTS: Aiden O'Brien & Sam McQueen (9)
MOST CLEAN SHEETS: Ben Alnwick (6)
HIGHEST AVERAGE RATING: Byron Webster (7.12)
MOST MAN OF THE MATCH AWARDS: Chris Long (6)

FANS' PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Chris Long - 24 games, 20 goals, 7.41 average rating. That begs the question: how many would he have reached had he not snapped his leg in half?

NEXT TIME: I've now got to the point that I am currently at in-game. From now on, updates will be less frequent, over a shorter timeframe, and perhaps a little more detailed. I'll be sure to stop by every now and then to update you on my progress as we look to consolidate our place in the Championship, if not challenge for a top-six finish.

Edited by CFuller

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Looks good Fuller. You're having no luck with injuries aha. I'm the same all top 3 choices of goalkeepers for me have been injured for over 2 months each. 

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Excellent progress there, @CFuller . Shame about the injuries. Solid first season in the Championship regardless. :thup:

Edited by BigVanVader

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Grinding through my first season badly. Update will soon be done. however, next season is the season my backroom staff and Blackpool has major changes. Not even half way through my season and already planning for next season aha. 

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I've been sacked. I'm giving it one more go from the start. Just finished pre- season this time with more quality in the staff, less signings and 3 more formations (1 using no strikers and a shadow striker). I've approached this save more tactically, cautiously and smarter.  I've went more in depth regarding everything.  Nothing is being rushed at all. Proper update will be tomorrow.

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On 12/18/2016 at 13:23, BigVanVader said:

Nice update @CFuller . Fleetwood winning the league is surprising to see but they are also doing well in my save, currently in 3rd.

 

I'm also managing Peterborough @MaxeyN17 . I'm just over half way in the first season and we've just lost Da Silva-Lopes in January to Middlesbrough after the chairman accepted a decent offer. He's not been improving much for me but he's been a consistent performer and I'm gutted to lose him at this crucial stage of the season. I'll be interested to see what happens to him in your save.

8ZPkGEG.jpg

I started a game with Peterborough sold him to Southampton for £15m with a 50% profit of next sale clause with a loan back.... then at end of season one i got him on a 2 year loan deal....

 

couldnt believe they agreed to it :p

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1 hour ago, Nev10 said:

I started a game with Peterborough sold him to Southampton for £15m with a 50% profit of next sale clause with a loan back.... then at end of season one i got him on a 2 year loan deal....

 

couldnt believe they agreed to it :p

What role is best for Da Silva Lopes? 

I was thinking CM A or B2B?

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3 minutes ago, Quinby said:

What role is best for Da Silva Lopes? 

I was thinking CM A or B2B?

I played him in 3 positions..... Advanced Play MakerAttack but in the CM position .... Box2Box and Inside Right forward performed well in them all 

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7 hours ago, Quinby said:

What role is best for Da Silva Lopes? 

I was thinking CM A or B2B?

I played him almost entirely as a CM(S).

 

@Nev10 Chairman sold him to Middlesbrough for about 10% of what you got for him. He went on loan to Millwall for the rest of the season but they didn't register him in time so he didn't even play a game for them. I doubt I'd get him on loan next season as Middlesbrough got relegated so they'll probably use him more now.

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Good to catch up with your updates. I have time coming soon to set the opening pages of this thread up properly!

Seasons Greetings to you all!

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Finished my first season with Peterborough so I thought I'd give you an end of season update.

Transfers:

Tr4IYY7.jpg

Nothing much to see here apart from our sale of Da Silva-Lopes. Lainton was brought in as backup goalkeeper after our first choice and backup goalkeepers got injured. Heffernan was brought in as backup due to injuries to our other strikers. He only made two or three appearances all season without a goal. He retired at the end of the season. The quality of some of the first team players was one of the main reasons for me managing Peterborough so I didn't feel any need to strengthen.

League table:

nVyuYwh.jpg

It was a great season which had us winning the league by nine points. MK Dons were very strong all season but fell away a bit at the end whereas we kept on winning. Early we had a lot of problems with conceding too many goals due to using an attacking mentality but once my players got used to the tactics we didn't concede stupid amounts of goals. Losing 5-1 at home to Millwall and throwing away a 3-1 lead to end up losing 4-3 due to three late goals from Scunthorpe were easily our worst results. We did get our revenge on both those teams when we played them later in the season which felt good. AFC Wimbledon were the only team to do the double over us despite their poor form. Beating Sheffield United home and away and seeing them finishing mid-table was great, especially with me being a Wednesday supporter. I wouldn't say we overachieved because the first team is up their with some of the better teams in the league but I wasn't expecting to run away with it.

We didn't do anything in the cups. Swansea beat us in the second round of the EFL Cup, Wycombe beat us in the first round of the FA Cup after a replay and we lost to the Reading U-23 side in the semi-final of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Tactics:

MqBXpWB.jpg

This was the only tactic I used all season. It's not perfect but my tactics hardly ever work so when one starts working I don't like to fiddle around with it too much.

Best Eleven and Maddison:

gaa63tt.jpg

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Baldwin, Maddison, Taylor and Lopes were the obvious standouts. Lopes seems destined for top level football at some point so his future was never going to be with us sadly. Maddison was my personal player of the season. His stats are great and he's improving all the time in terms of development. I gave him a new contract but I messed up big time with it by missing that it included a £2.1million minimum fee release clause for domestic higher division clubs. I was gutted after noticing too late. Taylor was probably just as good but his stats are a bit hit and miss for Championship football and he wouldn't accept a new contract as a rotation player. He left on a free after his contract expired. Baldwin's stats are OK for a good League One/lower end Championship side. His performances don't match the stats as he's consistently brilliant and has the best average rating in the side. He'll continue to be a key player for us going into next season. McGee and Oduwa, both on loan from Spurs, did relatively well for us. I wanted to sign McGee but he wasn't interested despite a £500k fee being agreed. I like Oduwa, he fit into the system I was playing and he got a few goals for us but his stats aren't great for League One and he's certainly not suitable for Championship football. We could've got him for £100k at the end of the season but I passed on the chance as there were much better options out there. He's probably best suited for League Two football. I recommend having a look at him if you're managing a club around that level.

Summary:

h1HcH5w.jpg

Next season is already underway as I write this and we've strengthened the team in a few areas and got rid of some deadwood in the process. I'm not sure what to expect as the teams in the Championship look very strong in comparison to us. We've definitely got goals in the team but that was at a lower level and I'm not sure if we can replicate it in the Championship.

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MILLWALL - SEASON 4: 2019/2020

PRE-SEASON:

I was very excited about how we were looking in the middle of pre-season. Results-wise, we started off with a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to top-flight Stoke. Then came a three-game Swiss tour that saw us score eight goals without reply, including three against FC Basel. We looked like we could beat expectations again, especially with a few major signings, such as this left-back from Manchester City:

angelino1_zpsodqihvyz.jpg

Not a bad left-back for the Championship, eh? And we only had to pay £500,000 for him. He could easily rip this division ap...

angelino2_zpst8abmu4e.jpg

...art. (Sigh) That happened about three weeks after he signed for us.

I now desperately needed to find another left-back - and the man I brought in was another former City boy. If you're an Arsenal fan, like I am, you will be particularly familiar with him.

clichy_zpslunhswsw.jpg

Meanwhile, we received a host of offers from other Championship clubs for star striker Chris Long, who was now back from injury and back in the goals. The most attractive of them came from Reading.

long_zpsstvsgauu.jpg

I didn't take the money, partly because we didn't need it, and partly because I couldn't find a suitable replacement. Indeed, I quickly made sure that Long stayed put by offering him a new four-year contract, which - I'm delighted to say - he signed before the new season.

We headed into our second Championship season on the back of four very disappointing pre-season results. After a dismal goalless draw against Saint-Etienne in vice-captain Nadjim Abdou's testimonial, we barely scraped past our feeder club Barnet from League Two, and then got tonked by Newcastle and dismantled by League One Peterborough. Absolutely bloomin' fantastic.

SUMMER TRANSFERS:

transfers04_zpsascrfrvu.jpg

Apart from Angelino, our other major signing was perhaps that of former Celtic attacking midfielder Ryan Christie. I also went on a mini-spree in the Nordic countries, signing a central defender from Norway, a Congolese teenage goalkeeper from Denmark, and a newgen centre-back from Sweden.

You'll also notice that I signed a third left-back in the shape of on-loan Brentford man Rico Henry. As classy as Clichy is, he's not the quickest of players these days, so I needed a younger, pacier to provide the experienced Frenchman with some stern competition whilst Angelino is on the sidelines.

With regards to the outs, David Kiki was our first permanent departure, as he acrimoniously left us after a single season and returned to France. I later sold rising stars Malen and Humphreys to Premier League clubs to make some extra money before loaning out former regulars Shane Ferguson and Jake Hesketh on deadline day. Hesketh could return to my plans next season if he impresses at Bury, but I think Ferguson's time with us is over. There was also the usual gradual exodus of youngsters on loan.

THE SEASON SO FAR:

results2020-1_zpsn0tpvdcz.jpg

I'm afraid that it has all gone horribly, horribly wrong. A heartbreaking late home defeat to Cardiff set the tone for some more awful performances at The Den. We needed injury-time goals to take draws against Hull and Huddersfield, while it took a horrible mistake from Wigan's goalkeeper to spare us from defeat.

We weren't a great deal better away from home, and as September came to an end, we found ourselves in the relegation zone without a league win. To make matters worse, Chris Long had completely gone off the boil following a promising start to his campaign, and his colleagues were struggling to make up the shortfall.

The EFL Cup gave us some reason for encouragement, as we reached Round 3 yet again. The results don't tell the whole story, though - we were only just good enough to beat Bristol Rovers from the bottom tier in Round 1, and League One side Swindon put up a brave fight in Round 2, before Tottenham inevitably rolled us over at New White Hart Lane. To be fair, fielding a second-string side against the likes of Lucas Pratto, Alexandre Lacazette and Jairo Riedewald was never going to end happily.

By the time we visited fellow strugglers Preston for our 10th league game, I was on the verge of jacking it in. I'd tried all sorts of tactical approaches over the first two months, and had we not won at Deepdale, I would probably have either resigned or just stopped playing the save. Thankfully, a return to the standard 4-4-2 proved to be the charm, as we scored thrice in the first half-hour before seeing a much-needed victory through.

That win has moved us up to 20th place, but can we keep the momentum going, or will we be stuck in a relegation battle? Only time will tell.

Edited by CFuller

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On ‎14‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 23:47, SirManager said:

A blackpool save is coming right up. I'll post regular updates. Time to take the seasiders back up to the PL and develop a tasty youth system along the way. 

Great - looking forward to your updates.

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17 minutes ago, hendredenny said:

Great - looking forward to your updates.

I ain't touched my save since after I was sacked so started again recently with a whole new approach and th first month is going great. I'll be updating you all soon as transfer window is closed. 

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I keep checking this thread for an update on the clubs and the reasons to manage, very excited. When will they be done approx? 

Edited by BarrovianTaylor

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On 19/12/2016 at 08:41, Jogo Bonito said:

@bucket Not just you, saw a couple of remarks about non-league clubs. Not me being picky, as I like non-league clubs too. I just thought we should keep the same formula used for the last few years so that those not interested in the non-league sides wouldn't feel like the thread was bogged down by those other clubs.

I don't think there is a specific thread for the teams yet, but was thinking the one about non-league players just a few lines down on page 1 could perhaps be used? Or somebody could even start one? It doesn't need to be great, just a couple of posts with the clubs in playable leagues perhaps. I would happily join in there as I'm enjoying my time at Hereford in the South West Regional Leagues and don't get to write anything about it!

 

 

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My save is going really slow at the moment with minimal playing time. Just finished the transfer window (only took me nearly a week to get to it). Debating weather to do an update now, or may just wait until I'm half way through the season. Seasons not looking bad at the moment. Still tinkering about with formations (strikerless formations are doing me wonders at the moment, 5 games 10 goals). 

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Posted (edited)

MILLWALL - SEASON 4: 2019/2020

THE SEASON SO FAR (PART 2):

results2020-2_zpsqlha6fky.jpg
This campaign has just been a total write-off, and my hopes of another top-half finish have surely gone up in smoke now. A couple of convincing victories over Brighton and Aston Villa in October gave us hope, but we really went off the rails from November onwards.

The slick passing game that we dominated League One with two seasons ago is non-existent now. We've just been spraying the ball to opposition players, and as a result, we have often found ourselves on the back foot.

Generally, the defence would hold up reasonably well and we would take away a draw. We got six of them in a row just before Christmas, but four of them could easily have been defeats. Our most frustrating result was at Portman Road against Ipswich, who were 3-1 down going into the final quarter-hour and eventually pegged us back to 3-3. :seagull:

We now found ourselves very much in a relegation dogfight, and I was seriously questioning my future at Millwall before we somehow won 2-0 at Nottingham Forest. Still, to go into the new year with four league victories all season - including ONE at home - was frankly embarrassing.

What then followed was an inconsistent January that saw us win two and lose two in the league. We also knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup - although, to be fair, the Reds were awful.

Those results leave us in 18th place - five points clear of the bottom three. I think we've got the quality to hang onto our Championship status, but I seriously doubt if we're mentally strong enough to survive.

table04-1_zpsgkjzk0xn.jpg

Tactics-wise, I tried and tested all sorts of things to try and get us winning at The Den again, without much success. During the Christmas period, I reluctantly tested out 4-2-3-1 - a formation that I have never had consistent success with in any iteration of FM. That tactical switch got us back to winning ways at home for a while, but an agonising late defeat to Swansea raised more questions than answers.

As if that wasn't worrying enough, we've got major problems going forward. Chris Long looks about 25% of the player he was in our maiden Championship campaign - five goals from 24 league games this season is a pitiful record for someone who got 19 goals from 22 games last term. Our top scorer in all competitions so far is Aiden O'Brien, with six goals. SIX GOALS. :mad:

I honestly do not know which roles would get the best out of Long and/or O'Brien. I needed at least one of them to hit top form if we were to meet our expectations this season, but neither of them have, and I'm not sure whether it's down to them or me. I probably won't know for sure until the season's over.

JANUARY TRANSFERS:

transfers04-2_zpsedk9jgs2.jpg
Four new players joined the ranks in January. Toppel's a newgen striker from Denmark, and it might be a while before he gets anywhere near the first-team. Woodman came in on loan from Newcastle after our backup goalkeeper Ben Alnwick broke his leg, thus putting him on the sidelines for the remainder of his contract.

Gogia is a Georgian international who was brought in to give us much greater attacking impetus on the right-wing. His debut for Millwall went so well that, er, I subbed him off after half an hour.

As for Pitman, he hasn't made his debut yet, but I'm worried I might've rushed into signing him. He only scored three goals in 25 league games for Ipswich this season prior to joining us, he's 32 years old, and he's rated as a good League One striker at best. I hope I'm proven wrong, but he could be a panic buy...

...and it only came about because I made a panic sale. Lee Gregory was flogged to Bolton as I made room for a top-quality striker that I just could not find. The fans were furious at my decision to sell Gregory - and, come to think of it, they might have had a point.

After signing Pitman from Ipswich, I let my new 'BFF' Alex - the former Chelsea full-back who'd just taken over as manager at Portman Road - sign a couple of my defenders. Ferguson's loan spell was turned into a permanent deal, while young centre-back Johnson arrived at Ipswich on loan for the rest of this season.

NEW JOB:
During that seemingly never-ending sequence of draws, I was seriously tempted to up sticks and take another job elsewhere. I applied for the vacant position at Aston Villa, which was where I had originally planned to start my first FM17 save before I changed my mind at the last minute. I got as far as the interview stage with Dr Xia... but he turned me down and appointed Craig bloomin' Bellamy instead. :mad:

Later on, I was strongly linked with a move to a Premier League - specifically, with either Brentford or Middlesbrough. I was very interested in the Boro role, and the chairman said that I would be a strong candidate after I applied for the job. Alas, they chose Fernando Hierro, and so I remained at Millwall.

However, in the first few months of 2020, I was offered a new job - an international job. As well as Millwall, I am now managing...

norniron_zpso8rviwmv.jpg

I've managed England and Scotland in previous editions of CM/FM, but never Northern Ireland, so this should be interesting. My reign will begin with what I believe is a 'last-chance' Euro 2020 qualifier against Sweden in March. I'm quite looking forward to that, and I'm also looking forward to managing the guy who made this 90s Europop classic popular again. :D

Edited by CFuller

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On 12/25/2016 at 01:53, Quinby said:

What role is best for Da Silva Lopes? 

I was thinking CM A or B2B?

I play him as an Advanced Playmaker Support or Roaming Playmaker but plays bettter for me on the RW as a Winger Attack 

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On ‎30‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 21:00, BarrovianTaylor said:

I keep checking this thread for an update on the clubs and the reasons to manage, very excited. When will they be done approx? 

Sorry for the delay, I'm struggling with African internet at the moment. I've written Championship descriptions and will be working on League 1 and League 2 club guides, but not sure if the uploads will be possible from here or not.

I'm looking forward to reading all updates - sorry have not been able to read those already posted yet.

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Anyone managing Burton Albion? I have decided to take up the challenge of keeping them up, looks a daunting prospect.

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2 hours ago, shakey.bridge said:

Anyone managing Burton Albion? I have decided to take up the challenge of keeping them up, looks a daunting prospect.

I say it would be a hard one. I look forward to seeing you succeed there.

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How are you getting on with Burton then Shakey as I just started a new game with them, finding players for them is going to be hard.

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12 hours ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

How are you getting on with Burton then Shakey as I just started a new game with them, finding players for them is going to be hard.

Difficult, I have just completed pre season and lost my 1st game away at Forest, Played them off the park but they nicked it in the 88th minute, Gutted! nearly threw my Laptop out the window.

I have made it more difficult by having transfer budgets switched off, Big Mistake.

As for the squad, you only have 2 strikers who aren't really up to it although O'Grady is a good Target Man, so that has to be your priority area to strengthen, the rest of the squad is pretty well balanced with all areas covered, Jamie Ward is a quality Inside forward although injury prone and Jackson Irvine is your best midfielder.

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Yeah Burton don't start with much of a transfer budget anyway so wouldn't worry too much about turning off budgets.

I seem to be doing ok with Burton, currently 13th in the league after 18 games played, I have won 7, drawn 2 and lost 9, my aim is to get 50 points so I am on course so far, really enjoying the save as it reminds me of the save I had with Coventry when they were still in the Championship as I would always struggle to stay in the league, kept me interested as I get bored of saves if I am winning all the time.

I managed to raid the loan market, I got Gordon Zelalam from Arsenal who has been my best player so far, O'Grady has been scoring a few goals for me as well, getting 4 goals in 10 games so far.

Finances are a bit rubbish with Burton but it is expected, just trying to get high up the league as possible to get as much money as possible to balance the books as I aint got any players that can sell for much cash.

Keep me posted how you get on with Burton please mate.

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