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Friday, June 04, 2010

Dr Lakes' Season Review: League Two

He's the unconventional GP who, no matter what, seems immune from being struck off the Medical Register.

That suits us fine, as he's quite happy to work at the weekend and is on call 24/7.

In his final review of how teams in the Football League have performed this term, Dr Lakes gives us his findings on League Two.

Accrington Stanley (15th)

There was a time when the Stanners thought they might have a chance of making the play-offs. Now, those dreams may have come and gone, but it was a very good season for the North West club.

A mid-table year may not be much to write home about, but it shows they are moving forwards. Then they can start working on shaking off the unfortunate 'Milk' tag.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: Well, this lad is certainly turning into the Calcium Kid. He's looking in good shape and he could get fitter and healthier in the coming months.

"However, I'd expect the powers of milk to start wearing off soon and for him to return to his normal state of health."

Aldershot Town (6th)

Pretty good season for the Shots. Finished the season in the play-offs - which is better than expected - and they shouldn't have been too disappointed to have lost to Rotherham over two legs.

A solid season which should only be built on next year. However, the league is a tough one and it is easy for a team to do well one year, then abysmally the next.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: I'm going to be honest with you here, this guy is looking good. He's certainly listened to my advice on how to stay healthy.

"He was fine last year when he came for his regular check-up but he looks even better now. I'll admit I have a man-crush on him. I might ask him to beat my postman up for me."

Barnet (21st)

With the worst away record in the division, Barnet will count themselves a little lucky to have avoided the drop. A bad run of form towards the end of the season almost cost them.

Fortunately, Grimsby were atrocious and they live to fight another day. Probably go down next year though.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: When you consider where this guy was a decade ago, it's amazing he's still alive, let alone chumming it with some of Barnet's finest.

"Although his health has improved a lot over the past decade, he's not out of the woods yet and can't let all his hard work and fighting to go to waste. I don't want to given him antibiotics because I think he'll waste them."

Bournemouth (2nd)

Despite a shedload of financial problems, Bournemouth have bounced back into League One. And it's all thanks to Brett Pitman and his 26 goals.

I am kidding of course, this was purely a team effort from a club who constantly appear to be in a perilous situation. Pitman's goals helped though. A lot.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: Now here's a patient who is very healthy up top, if you know what I mean. I'd like to test out those airbags.

"Of course, she is no longer my patient so I won't have the opportunity to, but last time I saw her, she was in amazing health. Unlike me. She punched me for being a sleaze. Right in the nuts."

Bradford City (14th)

Another year gone, and another year spent in League Two, the Bantams seem to be getting worse with each passing year.

They've failed to get in the top seven for the past three seasons, and it doesn't look like getting any better.

They need to sort themselves out, else they may have to resign themselves to a prolonged spell in the basement division.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Swine Flu: This has become serious. What started out as a bad case of the sniffles has developed into full on swine flu.

"I'm not sure what to do. His immune system seems to have shut down. I think we can get him up and running again, but he's got to drastically alter the way he lives his life if he wants to achieve anything. It's in his hands."

Burton Albion (13th)

The Brewers had an excellent first season in the Football League. Finishing on top of the bottom half is impressive, especially when they expected to struggle.

They scored more goals than most of the top seven, but Paul Peschisolido will be worried about his leaky defence. Still, an excellent year for the Staffordshire outfit.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"Fully Fit: Guinness makes you feel good. Fact. The proof is this chap. He spends a lot of his time drinking and he is looking in incredible shape.

"A lot of iron in his body, which is good - unless you get in a fight with Magneto. He'll be strong for the foreseeable future - the patient, not Magneto - but I would like him to stop drinking and maybe pick up an apple every once in a while."

Bury (9th)

The Gigg Lane outfit will be slightly disappointed at finishing out of the top seven, but it's another year the found themselves in the shake-up.

If they can keep this type of stability going then it is surely a matter of time before they are given a real opportunity to escape the basement division.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy: Not a bad year for the old timer. He was sensible all year - tried to eat relatively healthily and tried to get regular exercise. What more can you ask from a patient?

"He did nearly everything I wanted. I was disappointed to see him continuing to use mind-altering drugs - but boys will be boys."

Cheltenham Town (22nd)

It was looking good for the Robins a few years back. Non League days were behind them and they were looking upwards.

Now they have their heads turned to see what's behind them as they worry about the threat of relegation.

They avoided it this time - but will they be so lucky next year?

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Swine Flu: This is bad news to be honest. His immune system appears to be shutting down and it is taking all the healthy cells with it. If we don't act fast, this guy could be in serious trouble.

"He's still fighting, so we need to give him something to fight for. Drastic action is needed, so I'll go home and think about what we can do. I'm not going to let another good man die on my watch."

Chesterfield (8th)

They have to be disappointed with finishing outside the play-offs. They were looking good for so long and then they just drifted out of the melting pot.

Admittedly, it was a tight league, but the Spireites should have been battling it out in the end of season shake up. I blame Barry Conlon.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"Diarrhoea: Not a proper case of diarrhoea, but it isn't nice. It'll clear up and it's not as bad as some other patients - but I still wouldn't want to be around when he's been to the toilet.

"After studying his stool, it's loose and stinks but at least it's a normal colour. Anyone fancy a coffee?"

Crewe Alexandra (18th)

The Railwaymen seem to be heading backwards, and not one person is surprised.

A tiny club that constantly overachieved thanks to the brilliance of Dario Gradi, they look set to stay in the nether regions of League Two for quite a while.

Relegation could be on the horizon, but it's not all doom and gloom just yet.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"Diarrhoea: He's getting progressively worse. It's a worry. I'm not panicking just yet, but I will be keeping my eye on him. He seems to be picking up a lot of little illnesses like stomach bugs and the sniffles.

"It's not serious yet, but it could be an indicator that the worst is yet to come."

Darlington (24th)

Dark days for Darlington. Relegation was on the cards before Christmas and the Quakers find themselves in real trouble both on and off the pitch.

No-one appears to be sure of whether they can ride out the storm, but it's a storm that has seen them crash into the Conference for the first time in 20 years.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"Leprosy: Deary deary me. This is bad. Really bad. Almost as bad as the time I caught my johnson in my zip. Ever since that day, I've only ever worn button up trousers.

"This guy is knocking on death's door. It really breaks my heart to see this. What time is it? Sweet... time for lunch."

Dagenham & Redbridge (7th)

The Daggers don't have many fans. Which is good, because their ground is tiny. Not that it matters because they'll be playing Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton next year.

Great season that completely exceeded expectations. And to make it better - Nobes will probably be very angry at the thought of Dagenham being in League One.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: Jellied eels? That's the gift I received from this couple. I turn them into some type of superhuman and this is how they repay me? Jellied bloody eels!

"Admittedly, I didn't become a doctor for the gifts but, if you make a massive difference in someone's life, you'd expect more than a handful of jellied eels as a way of saying 'thank you'."

Grimsby Town (23rd)

They nearly pulled themselves out of it, but the fact of the matter is that Grimsby have been down for a long time.

Going 20-odd games without a win is embarrassing and it would have been embarrassing for League Two had they managed to avoid the drop.

It's going to be a long summer for the Grimsby Fish.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Leprosy: How bad is it? It's not terminal and is definitely curable. However, it's going to need time. A whole lot of patience and time to do it right

"At the moment it's only skin falling off him, so we need to strike while the iron is hot. Not enough Omega-3 in his diet, I think."

Hereford United (16th)

The Bulls had a disappointing season having fallen back into the basement division. However, it's easy to forget that Hereford are probably punching above their weight anyway.

Next season should be a little better but expect a few years resting in the middle of the league.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"Diarrhoea: He asked a little too much of himself last year. He seemed to be in good health and thought he'd go out to explore the world.

"However, he ate some dodgy dog - cooked dog, not a filthy hooker - in the Far East and he failed to recover properly. He seems to be on the up, but he needs to be more careful with what he eats."

Lincoln City (20th)

Having scored a paltry 42 goals in 46 goals, Lincoln will be wondering how they stayed up. Contrary to popular belief though, goals are not the be all and end all.

They survived but it's a disgrace that a word of that calibre is being used to describe a club of Lincoln's size. Surviving should not be in the Lincoln City vernacular.

Change is needed, or it could be a word that is used a little more often.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Leprosy: What happened here? He looks like he went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson - when he was good. This guy is a wreck.

"He hasn't got any direction. Since his wife left him he's at sixes and sevens. He needs someone to help him. Me? I'm a doctor. I don't help people - I heal them."

Macclesfield Town (19th)

In truth, this should be the type of season that Macclesfield fans should expect.

It's been a decade of mid-table finishes with the occasional relegation battle and a top seven finish thrown in for good measure.

Another year avoiding relegation is good - but you have to hope the club is starting to look forwards rather than backwards.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy: I'm not really sure what to say. He's doing okay. Not great, but okay. He could pick up an illness at anytime, but he might stay healthy too.

"Not a lot to say about him. I have noted that he rarely wears socks though."

Morecambe (4th)

It's been a good year for 'holiday resorts' up and down the country. Not in terms of tourism, but in the footballing world.

Morecambe had a brilliant season in their final year at Christie Park, but the season ended on a sour note after getting thrashed by Dagenham in the play-offs.

That disappointment aside, they've had a truly remarkable season.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: Now here is proof that medicine isn't always the best cure. I prescribed this man a little bit of R&R and he went to the seaside.

"After a few weeks of sea air, he came back stronger than ever. Unfortunately, on his last day, he ates some nasty shrimp and it came back up. Other than that, he is doing great."

Northampton Town (11th)

Disappointing season for the Cobblers. They put themselves in contention towards the end of the year, but just missed out on the play-offs.

Admittedly League Two was tough this year, but they will be upset at failing to mount a serious promotion push.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: Not a great year for this chap. He was far too busy mending shoes and didn't take any notice of his dwindling health.

"He's not that bad in truth and he should be strong again next year, but I'd like him to start looking after himself a bit better."

Notts County (1st)

It's been a strange season for the Magpies - and they've been a club that Soccer AM/MW have looked at in some detail.

They achieved their aim of promotion and won the league in some style - although you could argue Rochdale took their foot off the gas.

However, the long term could be an issue for the East Midlands club. As it stands, a successful year for the club.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: I would have pronounced him to be fully fit were it not for the fact that he has not paid his medical bills. Great year for the lad though, even if it has been a bit up and down

"He went private at the start of the year, but then he realised he couldn't afford it so come back to me. Then he had a stab with a Swedish masseuse as his health care assistant but that didn't work out.

"All's well that ends well though, because he's doing a-okay."

Port Vale (10th)

An extremely solid season for Port Vale which almost ended in a top seven finish. After a poor campaign last year, they got back on track and started playing at the right end of the table.

It's slow progress, but it's nice for Vailants fans to see the club moving forwards rather than backwards.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"All Clear: On the mend. Been out of sorts for the last few years so it's good to see him on the up again.

"It's not been a perfect year and he has had a few bugs and illnesses but that's expected from a guy who is recovering from a serious injury. Expect him to push forwards in the coming months."

Rochdale (3rd)

After 36 years of being in the same division, Rochdale fans can finally start to plan to visit different stadiums.

Hillsborough, St Mary's, The Valley - even Huish Park. It's an exciting time to be a Rochdale fan.

They dominated the division from the off and, once promotion had been been pretty much guaranteed, they took the foot off the accelerator and coasted towards the finish line.

They won't care that they finished third - League One awaits.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: I've had Dale as a patient all my life. And before that, he was my father's patient. It's strange thinking that next year, I won't be his doctor.

"I'm happy because it's a sign that he is doing very very well. I promised myself I wouldn't cry..."

Rotherham United (5th)

It's a little harsh to say the Millers had a bad season considering they lost their manager to a bigger club and still got to the play-off final.

However, promotion had to the aim for the South Yorkshire club and they failed. It was a surprise to see them fail to finish in the top three and an even bigger shock to see them miss out to Dagenham in the play-off final.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: This chap won't be eating anything other than toast over the summer. He tried to eat a lamb shank the other day. It didn't go down well.

"He'll be fine once he gets rest, but he has to be disappointed with how slow his recovery is taking."

Shrewsbury Town (12th)

The Shrews' away form picked up this season. Unfortunately, it came at the same time as a dip in their home form.

To be fair, they were good at home - racking up ten wins - but it wasn't as good as years gone by.

They seem to be slipping backwards as the league gets tougher and they'll be hoping for a better go of it next term.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: Not a lot to say really. He felt a bit iffy and like he was going to hurl.

"I told him to relax. He took the request too literally and went all over my clinic - from the mouth and the backside.

"He'll be better in the morning, but I told him to stick to the toast for the time being."

Torquay United (17th)

To say Torquay achieved their target would be an understatement. They stayed up with ease and live to fight another day in League Two.

They had their scares, but the Devon club should be happy at the way their club is progressing. It'll be another struggle next year, but I reckon they've still got some fight in them.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis:
"Fully Fit: Boom. This guy is boxing fit. Washboard abs, massive guns, and a ticker that beats like a drum.

"I can't believe this is the same weedy chap of a few years ago. I'm amazed by him. It doesn't make up for how he embarrassed me at his BBQ, but I'm still impressed."

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