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!