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EFL Antepost League Two Tips: Two Dons who can rise to the task

Wrexham are going to provide the box-office appeal in a League Two campaign which kicks off on Saturday, 5th August.

The North Wales' club's Hollywood owners presided over Wrexham's stunning National League title effort last season, and now see their side at the head of the betting to win League Two.

Wrexham know that League Two is a tough school where many reputations have taken a bash in recent years, and it promises to be a serious betting heat.

Here, Racing Post's Steve Davies picks out a couple of value outright tips.

Steve Davies' EFL League Two Betting Tips

Milton Keynes Dons to win and each-way @ 16/1 
Doncaster to win and each-way @ 25/1 

Odds were correct at time of writing and are subject to change.

Setting the scene…..

Wrexham are the headline makers in the 2023/24 League Two campaign but there are plenty of other stories waiting to be written over the next few months. 

Phil Parkinson’s men, backed by Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, are being talked up after storming to a dramatic National League title. 

But clubs like Bradford, Mansfield and Swindon can tell you a thing or two about being talked up - and they are still in the basement striving to get back to former glories. 

Stockport, favourites last year, will agree that reputations don’t win sides promotion, something that Milton Keynes Dons, the biggest fish of the four who slipped through the League One net in May, will also be acutely aware of.

WhatEngland League 2 2023/24
WhenSaturday 5th August, 2023 – Sunday 27th April, 2024
How to watchSky Sports
OddsWrexham 10/3, Stockport 6/1, Notts County 15/2, Gillingham 11/1, Bradford 14/1

Milton Keynes Dons to win and each-way @ 16/1

The league table doesn’t lie, but MK Dons must have felt a tad miffed at dropping out of League One, given they finished the season tidily enough.

They didn’t win too many games under Mark Jackson but they didn’t lose many, either. 

The upshot was their 45-point haul wasn’t enough, Jackson went and Graham Alexander will endeavour to win promotion with a third different club after Fleetwood and Salford.

Alexander would have looked at the back end of 2022/23 and seen that the Dons lost only two of their last 11 matches, hardly the form of a team in real strife.

It was a run which included draws at Wycombe and Derby and at home to Portsmouth and Barnsley, the latter a 4-4 draw which was remarkable in itself since it was a lack of goals which ultimately proved to be Milton Keynes’ downfall.

Down a level that can be addressed and a club with very recent memories of playing in the Championship can start the climb back up by getting in the top three.

Alexander has made a couple of particularly canny signings in keeper Craig MacGillivray (Portsmouth’s player of the season just a few years ago) and midfielder Alex Gilbey, a Dons’ old boy returning to North Bucks after a supreme promotion-winning season with Stevenage.

Alexander wants more options in attack though you could see him putting his hat on Mo Eisa and Jonathan Leko having good campaigns at a level they really should shine in. 

Eisa scored 11 last term in a tough school while Leko was flirting with the Premier League not so long ago in his West Brom days, is still only 24 and has much to offer.

Recent recruits from the National League seem to be dominating title conversations in League Two but MK Dons, a team who have come from the other direction, definitely merit a serious mention.

Steve Davies' tip:

Milton Keynes Dons to win and each-way @ 16/1

The too-good-to-go-down lobby got their fingers well and truly burned when the MK Dons tumbled into the bottom tier.

Just a hint of sharpness in and around the box would have stopped that happening and they can flourish in League Two under a manager in Graham Alexander with promotion pedigree.

Doncaster to win and each-way @ 25/1

Grant McCann hasn’t dropped down to the fourth tier to spend long in it, and the signs are clear that Doncaster can be a contender.

Whether complacency took hold last season, the upshot was a dismal campaign and as soon as McCann walked into the club - a club he had taken to the League One play-offs in 2018/19 - he set to work on a refit.

The side he sent out to beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in the pick of a pre-season set of results and the side he will field this term will not bear a great relation to last year’s group - and that’s a massive plus.

Keeper Ian Lawlor, veteran ex-Rotherham defender Richard Wood and hold-up ace Joe Ironside provide a new, sturdier spine for the side, and there are ball carriers galore in the likes of Luke Molyneux, Deji Sotona and Kyle Hurst.

Tommy Rowe is dependability itself and on paper this looks like a well-ordered, nicely reshaped group. 

That’s on paper, of course. But they are certainly a decent price to do it on the pitch as well.

Steve Davies' tip:

Doncaster to win and each-way @ 25/1

Grant McCann has made an instant mark at the Eco-Power Stadium and will expect an instant return. Improving on last season’s 18th place is the easy bit - powering into the promotion frame will be harder but they could go well.

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