Assessing League Two's summer appointments

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 10 August 2016, 10:34

In his first of four features looking at the summer's managerial appointments our man Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) delves into the League Two dugout.

Gary Bowyer (Blackpool)

Both Lee Clark and Neil McDonald have described this job as “impossible” but Bowyer is vowing to embrace the club and all its shortcomings - otherwise known as Karl Oyston - after wisely consulting Ian Holloway in a bid to understand the culture under which he will be operating.

‘No excuses’ is the motto now and Bowyer is prioritising prominence rather than quality. Mistakes will be forgiven so long as players get in amongst the opposition and make an impact.

Jamille Matt is the marquee signing after his game-changing performances for Plymouth at the end of last term, whereas Kyle Vassell is more a gamble having plateaued at Peterborough.

On the evidence of Bowyer’s 19-month stint in charge of Blackburn, the Seasiders will dominate matches at this level but they might lack the cutting edge to make it pay.

Dermot Drummy (Crawley)

If anyone tells you they know how the Dermot Drummy experiment at Crawley will work out, they are guessing. But it can only work in his favour that expectations outside of the Broadfield Stadium are being kept relatively low.

If the Red Devils finish outside the bottom six, it would be considered progress. And the early signs are positive.

Drummy doesn’t spout cliches and there’s no forced media persona. He’s just a coach who’s well-respected at Premier League youth development level and his background knowledge of that environment might just give Crawley an edge in terms of recruitment.

The majority of this season’s budget appears to have been splashed on striker James Collins, which looks like a statement in itself. Drummy evidently fancies himself to sort the rest of the team out without spending a bean.

John McGreal (Colchester)

A club that lives for its youth policy, chairman Robbie Cowling continues to promote from within due to a mistrust of established managers who might get their own ideas.

Former Tranmere centre back McGreal is the latest backroom member to get a crack at the top job on the understanding that the U’s low-cost, speculative philosophy doesn’t change.

The hope is that one day a special group of academy products will come of age and blossom all together but playing the long game in this way isn’t always compatible with the short-term desires of fans.

McGreal probably knows his managerial career starts and ends here if he doesn’t come up to scratch, and the odds are almost certainly against him. But devoid of other opportunities, he'll back himself to come up trumps and succeed where others have previously failed.

Andy Hessenthaler (Leyton Orient)

Four years after coming up short for a second successive season at Gillingham, Hessenthaler has once again fallen back into management by virtue of the impression he leaves on everyone in a day to day working environment.

He knows the level but his track record as a number one leaves much to be desired and it's difficult to imagine much has altered since his departure from Priestfield, the main difference now being that standards have improved across the board and the field is much more competitive.

To put the development into context, Martin Allen, who made Hessenthaler's last effort look distinctly average when romping to the title in his first season, is no longer a standout name at this level. The likes of Gary Rowett, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, David Flitcroft, Michael Appleton and Darrell Clarke have all emerged and moved on since.

John Sheridan (Notts County)

Managers come and go at Notts County like nowhere else, so it helps if you can find someone capable of quickly knocking broken things back into shape and that's exactly what Sheridan excels at.

The no-nonsense Mancunian put his pragmatism to good use at Newport and Oldham last season, leading both clubs away from the danger zone in the time it would take lesser mortals to take stock, and he's capable of cobbling together a genuine promotion charge from a standing start at Meadow Lane.

The Magpies were a shambles last season, a team boasting several talents that could have walked into virtually any other League Two side but finished 17th and conceded 83 goals in the process. Sheridan has quickly identified a lack of leadership on the pitch as the chief concern and he’s odds-against find the answers.

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