Who will win the 2021/22 National League? FourFourTwo's season preview and predicted final table

Wrexham FourFourTwo season preview
(Image credit: Getty)

This National League preview appears in the August 2021 edition of FourFourTwo.

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Danny Searle’s side secured a solid mid-table finish last season, and the Shots’ boss has been active in the transfer market as he targets improvement this time out. However, it remains to be seen whether the team’s additions – including Fulham youngster Jayden Harris and Wycombe defender Giles Phillips – will inspire any significant change this season. 16th

The big news out of Altrincham this summer was their decision to delay a move towards a hybrid model of part-time and full-time players – not that it’s stopped boss Phil Parkinson (not that one; more on him later) from adding striker Marcus Dinanga and centre-back Kennedy Digie. A lower-mid-table finish seems likely, but it’d be a solid foundation to build on if the move towards professional football comes next summer. 17th

Another season begins with another new manager in the dugout. This time it’s the former Liverpool and Leeds winger Harry Kewell taking charge, and the Australian has made some eye-catching moves: former King’s Lynn talisman Adam Marriott and experienced Leyton Orient defender Jamie Turley have signed up. In reality, though, a drama-less campaign and avoiding relegation on merit will represent decent progress. 18th

Luke Garrard has been quick to add Wealdstone duo Connor Smith and Jacob Mendy, Chesterfield defender Will Evans and Bromley midfielder Frankie Raymond to his squad, but his real issue is the future of impressive striker Kabongo Tshimanga. Amid interest from several Football League clubs, the 24-year-old’s presence – or otherwise – will be key to their prospects this season. 13th

Former Newcastle and Arsenal coach Andy Woodman oversaw a dramatic end to the season as the Ravens gatecrashed the play-offs, before losing out to eventual winners Hartlepool. Woodman will now hope that the ever-impressive Michael Cheek – National League top scorer with 23 goals last term – can fire his side into the top seven again, the gaffer’s first full season at the helm. 7th

Expectations will be high for the Spireites once again, after James Rowe’s late-November appointment signalled rapid improvement last year. Momentum has continued with experienced goalkeeper Scott Loach, former Celtic man Calvin Miller and Halifax defender Jeff King impressive additions, to go with Liam Mandeville signing a new deal. A play-off push is the minimum requirement. 3rd

Holding on to vital players like the lively Angelo Balanta and striker Paul McCallum has been key for boss Daryl McMahon this summer. New arrivals have been limited, although 23-year-old Barnet forward Josh Walker has ventured east to bolster the numbers. Either way, it seems likely that the Daggers will still be one of the main contenders for a play-off spot this campaign. 8th

There can’t be many supporters who don’t have some sympathy for Dover. A club that refused to play league games last season for fear of their future will begin this campaign on -12 points, after a cruel punishment was handed out by the authorities. Boss Andy Hessenthaler has described this as his toughest test yet – and even the return of club legend Ricky Miller likely won’t be enough to keep the Whites in non-league’s top tier. 23rd

Spitfires manager Ben Strevens headed into the summer expecting some big bids from EFL clubs for striker Ben House. At the time of FFT going to press they hadn’t arrived, and keeping hold of their lead frontman will be paramount to Eastleigh’s hopes of improving on last season’s ninth place. Bristol Rovers duo Josh Hare and Michael Kelly have moved south, but expect more of the same this season. 10th

The Mariners are back in the National League after a five-season stint in League Two. The manager who hauled them back into the Football League in 2016 has returned to Blundell Park, however – and Paul Hurst has endured a hectic summer. A string of new signings have arrived after several exits; of those, experienced duo Ryan Taylor and Shaun Pearson will be particularly important. 6th

Transfer headlines at The Shay have been dominated by two significant outgoings, as highly rated defender Jeff King joined Chesterfield and midfielder Jack Earing earned a move to League Two Walsall. Boss Pete Wild will have to make serious moves ahead of (and during) the new season if his side are to better last term and crack the play-offs. 11th

Midfielder Sonny Carey’s switch to Championship newcomers Blackpool was the most significant news at The Walks this summer, but the 20-year-old had earned his shot at a higher level with a number of standout performances for the Linnets. Manager Ian Culverhouse will hope new signings Junior Morais (formerly of Peterborough) and young defender Pierce Bird (once of Notts County) will help the club to avoid a relegation battle. 22nd

FourFourTwo 2021/22 season preview and predictions

National League FourFourTwo prediction preview

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Wily Alan Devonshire will always be Maidenhead’s main asset, as his experience and know-how at this level mean the Magpies will remain a dangerous opponent. Bringing in Kane Ferdinand from Woking will improve his side – but the loss of lively forward Danilo Orsi to Harrogate leaves a significant hole in the York Road outfit’s squad. 15th

An extra-time defeat in the play-off semi-finals at Torquay ended hopes of capping County’s stay in non-league at two seasons – but this summer, there’s reason for cheer at Meadow Lane (above). The return of ‘Geordie Messi’ Callum Roberts from injury, plus the signing of fellow Tynesider Kyle Cameron, should have Ian Burchnall’s men pushing at the right end of the table once again. 4th

The appointment of former AFC Wimbledon and Notts County manager Neal Ardley gives the Moors some reason for enthusiasm this season. With good contacts around the non-league scene and in the EFL, the former Don can stretch his network to make Solihull top-seven challengers for 2021/22 – if he gets the right additions through the door, that is. 9th

Eleven years ago, Phil Brown was a Premier League manager with Hull. On day one of the new campaign, however, Sam Allardyce’s former sidekick will be on a National League touchline. After EFL relegation with a young squad, Brown’s preparations have focused around adding experience; 30-somethings Josh Coulson, Rhys Murphy, Abu Ogogo and James Dunne have all signed on. As any newly relegated team will tell you, a good start will be vital. 12th

Simon Rusk’s appointment caught many by surprise last season, but the former Brighton man came close to leading County into the play-off final. Eventual winners Hartlepool crushed the Hatters’ hopes of ending their 10-year stay in non-league, but Rusk has opted for evolution rather than revolution this summer: nabbing widemen Elliot Newby and Ben Whitfield. The latter, from promotion rivals Torquay, looks like smart business. Expect them to challenge at the top of the table again. 5th

The Gulls’ prospects may well depend on how quickly they move on from their penalty shootout heartache in the promotion final against Hartlepool. With Gary Johnson in charge there’s always a chance of going one better, and the south coast side will surely last the course if their veteran manager can replace the likes of key defender Kyle Cameron and goalscoring goalkeeper Lucas Covolan. 2nd

It’s been a hectic summer for the Stones, with several key players departing. Michee Efete has joined Grimsby, goalkeeper Jake Askew hot-footed it to Barnet, while Jacob Mendy and Connor Smith were both snapped up by Boreham Wood. Stuart Maynard has been active in replacing them, but his target remains the same: extending Wealdstone’s National League stay into a third year. 21st

An 18th-place finish represented a solid first season in the National League, but there’s no doubt that the Terras face a tough challenge again this time. After his side’s relatively goal-shy season, Brian Stock has focused on bolstering their forward line with Tom Bearwish, Bradley Ash and the returning Brandon Goodship – but each of them will have to hit the ground running if their team are to stay up. 20th

Building towards full-time football has been top of the agenda for Woking manager Alan Dowson this summer – and he’s certainly been busy. A whole host of new faces have joined the Cards, with the likes of Rohan Ince, Joe McNerney and Inih Effiong giving Dowson the belief that his men can stay away from relegation trouble. 19th

New Hollywood owners in Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, sponsorship from TikTok and the appointment of former Sunderland and Bolton manager Phil Parkinson have ensured Wrexham are never far from the headlines. With a strong budget and an ambitious plan on and off the field, it’ll be well worth keeping an eye on the Racecourse Ground. Signing 2020/21 League Two top scorer Paul Mullin from Cambridge is a real statement of intent. Just try ignoring them. 1st

Darren Sarll’s side ended last term in lower-mid-table, so will hope to at least push towards the top 12 in the coming campaign. Impressive additions like Chesterfield keeper Grant Smith and experienced defender Mark Little will help, but losing top scorer Rhys Murphy to Southend was a bitter blow. 14th

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