Which teams must Hartlepool Utd fear in League Two?

Colin Cooper (right) with Pools' summer signing ''Jack Compton. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper (right) with Pools' summer signing ''Jack Compton. Picture by FRANK REID

Although Hartlepool United are yet to significantly bolster their ranks during the summer transfer window, other clubs have been hard at work signing new players ahead of the League Two season. SportMail’s GABRIEL APOLLONI takes a look at incomings elsewhere and weighs up the chances of Pools’ bottom-tier rivals.

Accrington Stanley - James Beattie was appointed manager of the Lancashire club but even the ex-Everton striker may not be enough to save Stanley from relegation. Nicky Hunt, who made over 100 appearances for Bolton Wanderers at right-back, will bring some much-needed Premier League experience into the side.

AFC Wimbledon - Wimbledon just escaped relegation on the final day of last season and look as though they want to avoid the same experience this time around. Charlie Sheringham, son of ex-England star Teddy, was brought in having been prolific at non-league clubs, netting 66 goals in 133 appearances. Eight other signings have also been brought in to compensate for the 12 players that left.

Bristol Rovers - New manager John Ward had a great start to his first season, guiding Rovers to safety. He has been quiet this transfer window with his only signing being ex-Millwall goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall. Bookies believe Rovers are destined for the play-offs.

Burton Albion - Burton had a hugely successful 2012-2013 season with their new manager, Gary Rowett, leading his team to the play-off semi-finals, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Bradford City. They have also been busy this summer bringing in six new players, including Sunderland academy product, Adam Reed. Reed, born in Hartlepool, signed a one year contract with the Brewers.

Bury - Kevin Blackwell’s Bury may struggle in this tough league. With 15 players leaving, the manager describing the players as ‘garbage’ and financial difficulties, the Shakers could find the going extremely difficult. However, a positive can be found in the signing of veteran defender Gareth Roberts, who had long stints at Tranmere Rovers and Doncaster Rovers.

Cheltenham Town - The Gloucestershire outfit have made the play-offs twice in the past two years - but to no avail. Veteran striker Jamie Cureton was quickly snapped up after his release from Exeter City and his record looks very promising. He has played 702 games and scored nearly 250 goals, and is the biggest signing of five for the play-off contenders.

Chesterfield - Chesterfield are leading contenders for the title this season. They have acquired ex-Liverpool central midfield player Jimmy Ryan, who was previously linked to Spanish team Real Zaragoza. Eoin Doyle, who played under manager Paul Cook at Sligo Rovers, also signed for the Spireites.

Dagenham and Redbridge - Daggers only just avoided the drop last season and thus far have not made any signings to strengthen their already-weak squad. They are finding progress difficult after being relegated from League One just three years ago and seven seemingly frustrated players have already departed the Essex club.

Exeter City - Exeter are looking to build on a positive 10th-placed finish from last season.

So far their only signing has been Sam Parkin from St Mirren, a 32-year-old target man with a reasonable record.

Fleetwood Town - After winning the Conference in 2012, Fleetwood look poised for a very positive season. They have purchased talented midfielder Antoni Sarcevic for an alleged six-figure fee. Ex-Preston player Graham Alexander was also drafted in to manage the team.

Mansfield Town - After winning the Conference title, Mansfield will be looking to settle in to League Two. Therefore, signings like centre-backs John McCombe and Martin Riley will be effective in bringing Football League quality to the squad. Five other new signings will further bolster the Stags’ chances.

Morecambe - Jim Bentley’s Shrimps may struggle to stay in this division according to bookmakers.

However, signings like Bolton’s Jack Sampson and young Irish prospect Padraig Amond may be able to prove such opinion wrong. Six players have been let go of in order to reduce the wage bill at the Lancashire side.

Newport County - The Exiles were promoted via the play-offs to end their 25-year absence from the Football League. Currently, there have only been three arrivals at the Welsh side These include a Chelsea youth product named Harry Worley as well as his team-mate Adam Chapman, who can play centre-back and centre-midfield.

Northampton Town - The Cobblers came close to being promoted last year but after losing 3-0 to Bradford City in the play-off final, they know that parts of the formula are missing. They hope that signings like keeper Matt Duke and winger Ian Morris will help to fill those gaps this season.

Oxford United - One of the busiest teams this transfer window have been Oxford. Letting go of 15 players and making 10 signings, including ex-Boro and Stoke City centre forward Dave Kitson, they also snapped up central defender David Hunt, who has already won League Two with Brentford. They are definitely one to watch.

Plymouth Argyle - The Pilgrims have suffered a fall from grace of grand proportions. Multiple managers, players and staff have tried to stabilise the club but they cannot afford to lose another division. Signing strikers Lewis Alessandra and Marvin Morgan may help to inject some goals into the troubled side.

Portsmouth - Similar to Plymouth, this seaside town are in freefall. However, new manager Guy Whittingham has relished the challenge, bringing in 17 players including Middlesbrough academy product Tom Craddock. Other stand-out signings like Ghanain striker Patrick Agyemang and seasoned defender Joe Devera make them the bookmakers favourite to take the title.

Rochdale - A classic yo-yo team that will face Pools at the start of the season. There has been a slight imbalance with ins and outs due to the chairman wanting to reduce the wage bill. French defensive midfielder Bastien Henry is one of five signings for the Dale.

Scunthorpe United - This team were playing Championship football four years ago. Changes are on the cards at Scunthorpe with Brian Laws at the helm and signings like ex-Wolves striker Chris Iwelumo and former Hull City defender Andy Dawson can bring knowledge to this squad. Seven more new signings and 11 players released means it looks like it will be a positive season for the Iron.

Southend United - Ex-Pools player Phil Brown controversially took the job in March and led Southend into the Football League Trophy final. A mid-table finish in the league demanded new signings which came in the form of two left sided players, Will Atkinson and John White.

Torquay United - Torquay have never really gathered pace since joining League Two. It looks as though it will be another tough ask to stay in the division this year. Alan Knill’s first activity in the transfer window was to release nine players and, to date, only two players have been recruited in the form of right-back Dale Tonge and striker Elliot Benyon.

Wycombe Wanderers - New manager Gareth Ainsworth takes over a lacklustre Wycombe in need of inspiration. Jon Paul Pittman, who had an unsuccessful loan spell at Pools in 2006, is one of their four signings.

York City - Nigel Worthington brings considerable experience into the job as well as a considerable amount of signings. The Estonian right-winger Sander Puri and local striker Ryan Bowman are just two of a handful of players joining Worthington’s cause.

Gabriel’s verdict:

1st – Portsmouth

2nd – Chesterfield

3rd – Oxford United