Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Gillingham manager Mark Bonner expects the likes of Doncaster Rovers, MK Dons, Notts County and Bradford City to be in the League 2 promotion mix alongside Gillingham next season

Gillingham manager Mark Bonner is predicting League 2 to be wide open next season.

With plenty of summer transfer business yet to be done across the division it’s hard to predict who will be the front-runners, although the bookies have installed Chesterfield as the early title favourites.

Gillingham manager Mark Bonner looks ahead to the challenge in League 2 next season Picture: KPI_Colin
Gillingham manager Mark Bonner looks ahead to the challenge in League 2 next season Picture: KPI_Colin

The Gills are well-fancied, too, particularly after making some attacking additions that should help improve their goalscoring fortunes which have hindered them in recent seasons. The likes of MK Dons, Notts County and Doncaster Rovers should also be in the mix.

Bonner said: “I think people will look and say it’s an open league, some real big hitters went out of it last year and I thought Crawley did amazing in the play-offs.

“I was at the final and they had an amazing run to get themselves up but probably the fact that it is open means lots of clubs will fancy themselves.

“Lots of clubs will have more of a chance because it is more open, it will become really competitive.”

Judging things early on might be a mistake, if last season is anything to go by. The Gills were the early pacesetters with a flurry of 1-0 wins but eventually slipped out of contention, while Doncaster soared into the play-offs with a 10-game winning run late on.

“That run was incredible,” said the Gills boss, who led Cambridge United to promotion as League 2 runners-up in 2021.

“It shows that you can have strong seasons where you’re up there and fall away or you can have weak seasons where you take a bit of time to get going and then fly and have a really strong season in the end.

“The truth is, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish and how consistent you can be over a long period of time is important.

“Anyone beats anyone in the league, that is guaranteed, that has happened forever. I think it will be an open league where a large number of teams will see it as a season where they can have a real successful one.

“I heard [the Doncaster manager] Grant McCann say after the play-offs [to his players] that if you don’t want to win the league, don’t come back. They have started recruiting hard, early on, they will want to be there.

“MK Dons will expect to be there, Notts County will definitely expect to be there. I could name a few others, Bradford [are another].

“We are in the mix with those saying, ‘come on, we want a year that it’s us up there and pushing’, but there are probably 10 teams in the same boat that would really want to see a year of real success.

“I guess that makes it exciting, but I also think it means if you can find real consistency it will give you a good chance.

“My experience of the league is that because anyone can beat anyone and long, long runs of good results aren’t easy, it is actually about who copes with little inconsistent periods better and who makes sure they don’t last a long time and you bounce back quickly.

“When there is pressure on you that means that there is huge emotion and usually an over-reaction if you have a bad day.

“My job with the players will just be to say, ‘We know what we’re doing, crack on’. We are playing a 46-game season and hopefully, we’ll end up where we want to.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More