Backs To The Wall

Relegation six pointers and we’ve not even reached Christmas yet.

As harsh as it may sound that’s the reality that the current squad of players at Notts needs to come to terms with quickly if they’re to make anything of the current season. Because as things stand, the back to back promotions that Chairman Ray Trew had so badly desired could not be more out of reach!

The honeymoon period for new manager Paul Ince has been and gone with (competitively) little more than a win against non-league Gateshead in the FA Cup, everywhere else the signs don’t look good with their seemingly only being one positive to take, that which still manages to tells us the playoffs are miraculously only ten points away from our current position.

But of course, you’ve at least got to find these ten points from somewhere!

Supporters have already been out in force to their disapproval at the results under Ince and assistant Alex Rae with some prematurely taking the opportunity to compare results with Craig Short’s short-lived tenure. To call it inappropriate would be an understatement. Not least when those that have gone as far to call for Ince’s head are the same people that preach about a need for stability.

Whilst the fans will eventually (you would assume) come to compare Ince and Short’s record at the 13 game stage, it’s easy to lose perspective of the team that Craig Short picked up. This was a team rampant with confidence on the back of last season’s campaign, and he was able to work with those players through the pre-season.

Ince has come in, taking the reigns of a squad completely bereft of said confidence, a complete polar opposite of the team spirit that echoed through Meadow Lane during the Summer’s down time. How Ince and Rae handle the situation has already been questioned following Ince’s remarks in this week’s Nottingham Evening Post, but it’s not as if his players will not have been aware of the uphill struggle his team now faces.

o County now face three home games in the space of seven days, what better time to instill some positivity back into the side and finally kick start the season?

The current campaign is not a lost cause. Promotion is still a (distant, admittedly) possibility if the team can put a run together, that run just needs to start up as soon as possible!

So with all that said, what better opportunity to pick up three points than this Saturday’s match at Meadow Lane where we welcome Tranmere Rovers? The Merseysiders themselves find themselves occupying the place above us in League One so you’d have to think that this is a fixture we’re more than capable of winning?

One would assume that Karl Hawley’s chance to make a name for himself has been and gone having not netted a single strike this season. Many people wanted to see the team revert to a lineup similar to that which we saw last season, so who better to recall this week than Luke Rodgers?

Lee Hughes’ diminutive stunt double has scored three goals in his last three Notts appearances (one FA Cup, two in friendlies) so what more can he do to stake a claim for a start?

In fact, the hopefully now fully fit again due of Neal Bishop and Craig Westcarr will all be pushing hard for a start this Saturday, Ricky Ravenhill in particularly might be sweating nervously as we approach kick off following his mistake last week.

Right now the three points are the most important thing. If Notts win ugly so be it, it’s what they need right now and that’s just how the weekend’s fixture might play out.

County currently sit in the relegation zone of League One and remain their following Sheffield Wednesday’s High Court reprieve on Wednesday. Had this not been the case, the side would be bumped up a place in table out of the drop places.

Such gifts rarely show themselves though, so we’ll be fighting our way up the table the hard way it would seem!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve chase says:

    Yes Stu another honest and accurate account that I totally aggree with
    My only concern at this moment in time is the unbalanced line up of players we have . We have far too many defenders all of which are very good at their jobs just look at last year we had the best defence in league 2 just a small squad that knew each others game well and worked together regulary unfortunatly the same cannot be said for the striking force . And you can have the best defence in the world but if you cannt get goals the other end you are always at risk of losing as we well know now we are unable to capitalize on scoring opportunitys to give us a safe cushion of goals.last seanson I think the pure fact that we scored many goals 5 0 became the norm that we developed a unsinkable spirit that other teams could not break down Yes we still have Hughes who I think will still find his old form but we need more than just him Westcarr is playing better this year and in my opinion our second best option Rodgers is also a decent option but unfortunatly Hawley has never proved to be any use at all also the two signings of Smith And Burgess seem to have had little effect other than to increase the wages bill .
    Davis remains in my opinion our key player along with judge although it will be interesting if not painful to see what happens in the Jan transfer window now Notts are not doing so well .
    In conclusion I would just like to say that i feel as though there maybe a little unrest in the camp at the moment from where i dont know but last season we had such a strong sence of companionship and strengh with one of the smallest squads available that team spirit has somehow got lost with the addiition of more players and I just hope things under Ince will eventually settle down with and established regular squad that can and do work together.
    There u feel a bit better now getting that off my chest.
    Come on you pies let's do it

  2. Stu says:

    Hi Steve, thanks once again for a reply!

    I'd be very surprised if we can hold on to Judge longer beyond January so it'll take a lot of work on Ince's part to fill that void.

    I'm still on the fence over Ben Burgess. I thought he was actually fantastic against Cardiff City in pre-season but once the season kicked off he's actually done very little. I've sorta just spent his down-time hoping it was all down to his injury. Time will tell!

    You raise an excellent point about the squad. Like someone said to me the other day, in the space of a few weeks we've gone from needing a striker or two to a whole new defence!

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