With the new Sky Bet League 2 season well and truly underway, it is time to have a look at how some of the big new summer signings have started the season. There have been plenty of new additions who have lit up the league whereas some have struggled to live up to expectations so far and below is a selection of marquee summer signings and how they have fared thus far…
Gary Roberts (Swindon Town – Chesterfield, free transfer) – Seen as something as a coup for Chesterfield when he signed, Roberts has started the season in fine form and has been named the Sky Bet League 2 player of the month for August. The former Huddersfield man has scored three times so far this season, including a fantastic free-kick at home to Southend United. His superb dribbling skills and trickery make him a real handful for defenders to play against and he has been an integral part of Chesterfield’s unbeaten start.
Jeff Hughes (Notts County – Fleetwood Town, free transfer) – Hughes decided to drop down a division in the summer and join promotion hopefuls Fleetwood and so far his decision to do so has been fully justified. With 3 goals in 5 league games the 28-year-old has been one of the standout players in League 2 and has used his experience to solidify the Fleetwood midfield. With some tough upcoming fixtures, Hughes will have to keep up his current form to help continue The Cod Army’s very good start to the season.
Mark Roberts (Stevenage – Fleetwood Town, free transfer) – With two promotions to his name, 29-year-old defender Mark Roberts brings a wealth of experience to the Fleetwood back four. The two time Stevenage player of the year is already off the mark in terms of goals, scoring a close-range header against Dagenham & Redbridge. Hughes has helped Fleetwood earn two clean sheets so far this season and his experience has helped to stabilise a defence which leaked 57 goals last season.
Johnny Mullins (Rotherham United – Oxford United, undisclosed) – Mullins joined Oxford on a three-year deal in the summer, following a successful loan spell last season, and has fitted in straight away. The 27-year-old, played nearly 100 games for Rotherham, has begun life in yellow very well scoring two goals – including the winner against Bury – and helped The U’s to an unbeaten start, in which they have picked up 11 points.
Rene Howe (Torquay United – Burton Albion, free transfer) – One of the league’s best strikers last season, Howe was seen by many as a fantastic capture for Burton, following the departures of Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma. Despite not setting off any immediate fireworks, the 26-year-old has made a solid start and has ensured he has plenty to build on as the season progresses. Howe has scored one goal and has helped Burton to third place in League 2.
Rory Delap (Stoke City – Burton Albion, free transfer) – With experience of playing Premier League football no more than two years ago, Burton sent out a real statement of intent by signing Delap this summer. With more than 500 appearances to his name, the 34-year-old has brought a calming influence to the heart of the Burton midfield and scored the Brewers second as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with Cheltenham.
John-Joe O’Toole (Colchester United – Bristol Rovers, undisclosed) – The young, yet experienced, midfielder joined Rovers on a permanent deal in the summer after a very successful loan spell last season. O’Toole has started in all six of the clubs matches and scored the winner in the 3-2 win over York City. The former Colchester United man will be expected to help fire Bristol Rovers to success this year with his goals and creative play.
Matt Duke (Bradford City – Northampton Town, free transfer) – Duke was the fans choice to replace Lee Nicholls for this season and signed a two-year deal at Sixfields in the summer. The veteran goalkeeper has been outstanding so far and is already being touted by many Cobblers fans as a contender for team of the season. Easily Northampton’s best player so far (in what has been a rather poor run), the 36-year-old has put in incredible performances against Newport County, Southend United and Torquay United.
Chris Zebroski (Eastleigh – Newport County, free transfer) – One of League 2’s more recognised names, Zebroski has been the star man in a team that is sitting just outside of the play-off places. With four goals to his name already, the former Wycombe and Torquay striker has strength and power but also has good technique at his disposal. As a prolific goalscorer in the lower leagues Zebroski will be crucial to any success Newport have this year.
Gareth Roberts (Derby County – Bury, free transfer) – The former Tranmere and Doncaster left-back was snapped up by Bury in the summer and was named club captain by manager Kevin Blackwell. The 35-year-old, who has made nearly 600 senior appearances, has been ever-present for The Shakers so far this season playing eight matches and has used his experience very well. Bury boast a wealth of attacking options so, as a senior player and club captain, Roberts will have to handle the responsibility of keeping clean sheets for his team.
Dave Kitson (Sheffield United – Oxford United, free transfer) – Billed as one of the top summer signings, Kitson has so far struggled to adapt to life in the basement division. The former Reading and Portsmouth striker is yet to score for Oxford and, despite Oxford sitting second in the table, has endured a frustrating start to his time in League 2. The 33-year-old will be a crucial part of any promotion bid from The U’s, but his time at the Kassam Stadium so far has been disappointing.
Richard Cresswell (Sheffield United – York, free transfer) – The returning fans favourite has not made the impact that was expected of him so far this season. The striker has only featured it three games so far this season and has not scored in any of them. He got an assist in the 1-0 win over Northampton – despite the fact he should have been sent off beforehand for a second bookable offence – but picked up an injury which has stopped him fully settling in and finding his form.