Bookies tip Millers for tilt at League Two title
ROTHERHAM United are the red-hot favourites to win League Two next season, according to leading bookmakers.
Newly-promoted Fleetwood Town, the Football Conference champions last term with 103 points, are tipped to be their closest challengers.
The bookmakers are split over how Plymouth Argyle will perform after successfully escaping the clutches of relegation in 2011/12.
They picked up only one point from the first nine games, but their results were much improved in the second half of the season.
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Argyle already have 22 players signed up for next term, including one new recruit – striker Paris Cowan-Hall from Conference South champions Woking.
The Pilgrims are shortest-priced at 16/1, joint sixth favourites for the League Two title with Skybet, along with Paul Sturrock's Southend United and relegated Wycombe Wanderers.
But they are ranked 16th out of the 24 clubs by Blue Square on 25/1, the same odds as Victor Chandler (=11th) and William Hill (=14th).
Argyle are 22/1 with both Ladbrokes (=14th) and Paddy Power (=13th).
Rotherham appointed Crawley Town's Steve Evans as their manager in April and he has already made several additions to his squad this summer.
The Millers are moving into a new £20 million, 12,000-seat stadium at the start of next season.
They are hoping to celebrate their return to Rotherham, after playing at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield for the last four years, by winning promotion to League One.
Rotherham are generally priced as 7/2 favourites to finish top of the table, while Fleetwood are next up at 7/1.
Evans' new signings have included former Argyle midfielder Kari Arnason on two-year contract.
Arnason spent last season with Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen but could not agree terms with them over a new deal.
Rotherham have also recruited strikers Daniel Nardiello and Kayode Odejayi, from Exeter City and Colchester United, respectively, plus Crawley goalkeeper Scott Shearer and Shrewsbury Town centre-back Ian Sharps.
Fleetwood have lost their 34-goal top scorer from last season, with Jamie Vardy moving to Championship club Leicester City for a fee reported to be £1m.
But manager Micky Mellon has brought in several new players, among them former Argyle midfielder Damien Johnson.
The 33-year-old will officially complete his move to Fleetwood on July 1, after his contract with the Pilgrims ends.
Johnson has spent much of the last two seasons on loan to Huddersfield Town, and played for them in the League One play-off final against Sheffield United at Wembley last month.
Huddersfield won in a penalty shoot-out following a 0-0 draw after extra-time.
The Terriers wanted to keep Johnson at the Galpharm Stadium but the two parties could not agree a new contract.
Fleetwood are 7-1 shots for the League Two title with Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler and William Hill and Johnson stated he had been impressed by the club's ambition.
He said: "They had a great season (in 2011/12) and they are not happy just being in League Two.
"I sat down with the manager, Micky Mellon, and the chairman, Andy Pilley, and they convinced me they wanted to have a go next season.
"They were very enthusiastic and very positive about next season and convinced me this was the right place for me."
Relegated Chesterfield, as well as Bristol Rovers, Oxford United, Southend and Wycombe are seen by the bookmakers as the main title rivals for Rotherham and Fleetwood.
Southend were beaten in the League Two play-off semi-finals last season, while Oxford narrowly missed out on a top seven spot.
Bristol Rovers finished the campaign strongly after former Wolves boss Mark McGhee (pictured above) was appointed manager at the Memorial Ground in January.