League 2 preview: Doncaster and Portsmouth look the teams to beat

Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson.Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson.
Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson.
Darren Ferguson will have his sights set on the fourth promotion of his career as he tries to get Doncaster out of Sky Bet League Two.

Rovers were relegated last season but, if their summer spending is anything to go by, they are clearly intent on making their stay in the basement division a short one.

The board has handed Ferguson the tools for the job with some impressive recruitment, led by the permanent arrival of midfielder Tommy Rowe from Wolves following a successful loan stint.

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Mathieu Baudry looks an inspired signing at the back after turning down a new contract with Leyton Orient while John Marquis, brought in from Millwall, has plenty of goals in him at this level.

Ferguson, who won promotion three times with Peterborough, will therefore be expected to mount a serious challenge on the top two and guide Rovers back up at the first attempt.

Their main rivals are likely to be Portsmouth - although the Fratton Park side have been promotion favourites for the last three seasons and faltered each time.

Paul Cook’s side did at least make the play-offs last term, only to lose out to Plymouth in the semi-finals.

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Cook, a League Two title winner with Chesterfield, has brought in high-profile signings like Milan Lalkovic and former Shrimp Carl Baker, from Walsall and MK Dons respectively, in a bid to ensure the south-coast club get over the line this time.

The off-field shenanigans at Orient seem to have subsided for the moment and boss Andy Hessenthaler has also been very busy this summer.

With eight new signings in the bag, including former Aston Villa striker Jordan Bowery and Oldham midfielder Liam Kelly, hopes are high for at least a play-off place at Brisbane Road.

Plymouth, beaten play-off finalists last season, also have a new-look squad with no fewer than 12 summer arrivals.

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Forward David Goodwillie, once likened to a young Wayne Rooney when he joined Blackburn for £2million, is back down south following two seasons in Scotland and has impressed in pre-season, raising hopes that the Green Army could enjoy another successful campaign.

Luton’s anticipated promotion push failed to materialise last term but they have looked a far slicker outfit since Nathan Jones took over in January and should be in the mix this time around.

Grimsby and Cheltenham, buoyed by promotion back to the Football League, could also challenge while Crewe and Colchester will, like Doncaster, have aspirations of bouncing back from last season’s drop.

But Blackpool fans - with some still boycotting the troubled club - are fearful of a third straight relegation.

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Manager Gary Bowyer seems to have steadied the ship on the pitch but they are still lacking in experience, and their cause was not helped by having to sell their goalkeeper, Colin Doyle, to Bradford for £1.

A tough season also awaits Newport, who have lost key players in Medy Elito, Alex Rodman and top scorer Scott Boden, while Stevenage and Barnet could also find the going tough this time.