Phil Brown is expecting tough competition from a number of teams next season as Blues look to earn promotion to League 1.
Portsmouth, Hartlepool, Bury and Scunthorpe have all come down and will be looking for a quick return, while Mansfield and Newport County, who were both promoted from the Blue Square Premier will be looking to continue their success.
Brown says all six teams will provide stiff opposition, but he’s not expecting another trip to Valley Parade – as he’s tipped them to see off Northampton Town at Wembley next Sunday in the League 2 play-off final.
On Newport and Mansfield, Brown said: “They’ve both had a fantastic season, Newport is yet another triumph for Welsh football which seems to be going from strength to strength.
“Mansfield have gone up as Champions and they deserve to have won the division. They spent quite a bit of money to get into that position but they’ve done tremendously well to win the league.
“We will welcome them both to League 2, they’ve both been in the Football League before, and will want to equip themselves very well, but when they visit Roots Hall we have to put a marker down.”
Brown is also looking forward to facing Pompey, adding: “There’s going to be one or two big prospects in League 2 next season. Portsmouth will be one of those teams.
“They have done their business now, took administration and have been relegated to the lower tiers. It will have been a sad day for them having been in the Premier League but now it’s about rebuilding.
“We’re in the same boat in a way, we want to get back to the Championship with a plan and infrastructure as a team who play good football.”
On the play-off final, Brown said: “I watched semi-finals and was surprised that Burton went 2-0 ahead and almost killed the tie off, but Bradford played very well in the second leg.
“They’ve played like that all season with power, pace and a little diamond in Nahki Wells who I’m sure will attract interest for big clubs this summer.
“The way I’d like to play isn’t far away from how Bradford have played this season if we’re to get out of this division next year - with pace and power.
“I expect them to go on and finish the job on their second visit to Wembley of the season.”