THE 24th and final team that will play in League Two next season is still to be decided but an impressive statement of intent has already been made by a new contender.

Chesterfield are coming up as champions of the National League and it looks like they will aim to follow Wrexham’s lead by only spending a year in the fourth tier before heading for League One.

The Spireites already have a hefty budget that allows them to have the likes of Will Grigg and Armando Dobra but on Monday they announced a two-year deal for Paddy Madden.

The Stockport talisman will remain in League Two after scoring 22 times – including a last-gasp winner against Newport County AFC – on the way to the title.

It’s an early sign of the spending power that the Exiles will once again be up against, even if a big trio have gone up in Wrexham, Stockport and Mansfield.

Relegated Carlisle and Port Vale will have sizeable wage bills and join plenty of clubs with big ambitions.

South Wales Argus: Doncaster Rovers Zain Westbrooke after missing in the penalty shootout defeat to CreweDoncaster Rovers Zain Westbrooke after missing in the penalty shootout defeat to Crewe (Image: PA)

Doncaster and Milton Keynes are starting preparations for another crack at League Two after play-off woe. They will start among the favourites for the top three.

Bradford will aim to pick up where they left off after narrowly missing out on the play-offs with a late charge, Notts County surely won’t be as ridiculous defensively, Colchester, Salford and Gillingham are big spenders who will expect much better while it’s not a case of ‘little Barrow’ anymore.

Then either Crewe or Crawley will dust themselves down after Wembley on Sunday and try to do it all over again.

All this means that County will once again be aiming to punch above their weight in League Two with one of, if not the, smallest budgets in the Football League.

They did that this season under Graham Coughlan, even if things went off the rails with an eight-game losing streak to finish.

The manager cut a frustrated figure in the run-in, unable to halt a slide when previously he had never lost more than two league fixtures on the spin.

“It’s been tough and I can’t wait to summarise and review, pinpoint where we have gone off track. Why, when, where and how,” he said before the final day trip to Bradford.

“I am still really, really confident that I can get to the bottom of these problems and fix as many as I possibly can.

“I think that I can prepare this club and team for a successful journey ahead, I might be dreaming but there is no point me sitting in this chair if I don’t and can’t.

“I think that we can certainly achieve something at this club but I do believe the mindset and mentality next year has to change.

“It can’t be a cup run and survive. We have to be looking for bigger and better, whether that’s top 10 or top seven.

“Let’s not forget we were two points off the play-offs in March with a depleted squad, we just ran out of legs and ideas, then the confidence started to go.”

South Wales Argus: REBUILD: Graham Coughlan will reshape his Newport County squadREBUILD: Graham Coughlan will reshape his Newport County squad (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Coughlan and owner Huw Jenkins are getting to work on what is now a considerable rebuild to all departments of the squad.

The released and retained list was announced last week, while talks continue with the quartet of Scot Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Aaron Wildig and Harry Charsley.

Of those currently on the books, only four – goalkeeper Nick Townsend, wing-back Shane McLoughlin, midfielder Bryn Morris, forward Will Evans – could be considered nailed-on starters.

While it’s sad to see some good men go, there are no confirmed or potential exits to rival those of last summer when Mickey Demetriou, Cameron Norman, Aaron Lewis and Priestley Farquharson went to League Two rivals.

County will have a new-look team in August and they won’t kick off with last year’s financial fears in the background before the Jenkins takeover.

However, is there really any shame in starting with the aim of survival?

Agreed, retaining Football League status shouldn’t be cause for putting on flip flops and cracking open the cans but it’s not a bad first target.

Jenkins will not be spending big, County still have a small backroom team and a training ground issue to solve in the long-term.

There is no reason why they can’t take inspiration from Crawley and target the play-offs but League Two is brutal and makes fools of those that get ahead of themselves.

I would hazard a guess that survival wasn’t on the minds of Forest Green Rovers when they dropped down from League One last summer. After a shambolic season, they are back outside the 92 despite having a top-seven wage bill.

County have shown in four of the last six seasons that they have the ability to push for the play-offs and on each occasion they have prospered from nailing the basics, from being hard-working and putting some noses out of joint.

The Exiles will be tipped by plenty to struggle when the predictions are made in July but get survival ticked off first and then there’s no reason why they can’t be a surprise package.