Five games down this season, and Craig Short (you know, the guy people wanted out after one game?) finds himself with three wins in his five competitive fixtures. Two of which, coming in tricky away ties where many would expect Notts to falter.
Last night the side traveled to Vicarage Road for a tie with Watford, placed eighth in the Championship after an unbeaten start. Daunting to say the least, but the side (largely in the second half, much like Saturday) gave a great account for themselves.
The win comes courtesy of a Ben Davies free-kick (his last for the club?) and a Kevin Smith header. Watford did score a late consolation to ensure a tight finish, but County were to hold on and seal a place in Saturday’s Third Round draw.
Undoubtedly fuelled further by last night’s display, speculation presently runs wild over Super Ben’s future. Derby’s Nigel Clough was at Meadow Lane this past weekend, with a view to sealing a rumoured £400k transfer in time for the closing of the transfer window a week on Tuesday.
I don’t think there’s a single Notts fan that would want Ben Davies to leave the club. He led the way in League Two for assists last year so he’s a massive part of the squad. But at the same time, i don’t think anyone should begrudge Ray Trew wanting to snap up any such bid if it exists.
Davies is yet to overly impress the season, but last night could be the catalyst the former-Shrewsbury man needs to kickstart his season. Whether the chairman will choose to think with his heart or his head is the big question for now.
Most notably for me, last night was another win the club have secured without the services of the currently injured Lee Hughes.
In the two games where manager Craig Short has tried any which way to get the ball to Lee we’ve been ran off the park. The remaining three when we’ve needed to find another route to goal, we’ve won. Make of this what you will.
But on Saturday, Notts County travel to Bournemouth’s Dean Court on the south coast as Craig’s chosen XI attempt once more to transfer League Cup form into League form. If we’re to win this game, it’ll have to be without Hughes again.
When last year’s top scorer returns to fitness, and (hypothetically) the side are winning games, do people put their very much hard-earned appreciation for Hughes’ efforts last season first and demand he go straight back in, or does Craig Short keep the faith with what has been working on the field and risk the boo-boys wrath once more?
CS has shown previously (winning at Plymouth, followed by Boundary Park embarassment) that he’d give up a winning tactic in favour of throwing Lee back into the starting lineup, has he learned from this mistake yet?
You would hope that by Saturday, he’ll be beginning to realise the importance of not breaking up a winning team.