Leyton Orient and Salford City were both promoted from the National League last season. We look at how Salford did it, what they will bring to the EFL and how they can strengthen over the summer.

 

 

The 2018-19 story…

 

Joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley led Salford City to the National League North title in 2017-18 – but left shortly afterwards by mutual consent.

 

The summer appointment of Graham Alexander was key to Salford City’s achievement of back-to-back promotions.

 

The former Preston and Burnley stalwart had inspired success, in managerial terms, with a similar project at Fleetwood, as well as possessing a good record as high up as League One with Scunthorpe United.

Salford City

 

It helped that the club had the funds to recruit players who have performed competently two divisions above the National League, too.

 

Chris Neal provided nous between the sticks, Nathan Pond offered physicality at centre-back and right-back Scott Wiseman played three full seasons in the Championship with Barnsley.

 

Going forward, Adam Rooney and Rory Gaffney grabbed 32 league goals between them yet both have the selflessness to graft in wide areas, as Danny Lloyd offered class from the left.

 

What they’ll bring…

 

Salford City can sometimes divide English football.

 

The mainstream media are intrigued to see how high-profile ex-footballer such as Gary Neville fare in a business capacity, while supporters of traditional outfits are not all necessarily delighted to see the rise of a club that has based its success on external backing.

 

However, the club have a special website for their ‘Academy 92’, in which they emphasize their “ambition to develop footballers who can play and succeed at the top level” – this can only help the production of young talent in this country.

 

The club wants to deliver affordable football in their local area, at a time when supporters of elite clubs are often priced out – and they have helped re-kindle enthusiasm for football below the Championship.

 

 

Summer targets…

 

The keeper and back-four each started at least 40 league games last term, while their forwards are all high-pedigree for League Two.

 

That would suggest the main area to strengthen could be their midfield.

 

Although Lois Maynard delivered some fine displays, including a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-0 National League Final win over AFC Fylde, there are just 221 EFL appearances in nine midfielders in the squad that exists prior to the announcement of the retained list.

 

Salford must also adjust to this level off the field.

 

Appointing a head of recruitment was a game-changer for Forest Green Rovers in their second season in the EFL, so it will important for Neville and Peter Lim to further improve the infrastructure.

 

The foundations, though, are certainly in place.

Salford City Odds:

To Be Relegated

To Be Promoted

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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