As Notts County fans, anticipation for the new football season is always high, and this year is no exception. Fans eagerly await the release of the fixtures, planning their weekends and away trips to support their beloved team. The Magpies will kick off their campaign with an away game against Sutton United, followed by a local derby at home against Grimsby Town.
The next three games will see Notts County face Morecambe, Doncaster Rovers, and Tranmere Rovers. Each game presents its own challenges and opportunities for the team to start the season on a strong footing.
In this article, we will take a closer look at each of these opening fixtures, analysing the opposition and discussing the potential outcomes. Will Notts County come out on top, or will they face an uphill battle in the opening weeks of the season? Let’s dive in and find out.
With the fixtures now out for the season, let's take a dive into the first five league games of the season.
The U’s, who finished last season in 14th place without a win in their last five games, are our first match back in the EFL since 4th May 2019. In my opinion, this is the perfect opening match for the Magpies. A team that has lost a few of its starlets from last season, including Will Randell, who signed for Notts on a two-year deal. Another reason I think this is perfect is because we will face a team that didn't struggle in the relegation fight last season but also didn't fight in the promotion push either. Some would say “a proper league two club.”
With their top goalscorer only being at six goals throughout the whole of last season and the team as a whole only scoring 48 all season, it remains to be seen if Matt Grey can get his players hitting the back of the net next season. With some work in pre-season and maybe with an additional new striker, they could become an issue for Notts.
Our first home game back in the EFL, and it’s a local derby - how good is that? With Grimsby beating us twice at home in the 21/22 season - once in the league and then scoring in the 119th minute to make it 1:2 in the play-off quarter-final - that brought our season to an end. I am sure the players will be looking for revenge.
Grimsby finished in a respectable 11th place last season but have since been active in the transfer window, signing players like Rekeil Pyke, Harvey Rodgers and Charles Vernam. All of which were playing at a higher level last season. It would be fair to say Grimsby are going to be a few people's favourites to make the playoffs as a minimum. This would be an important three points early on in the season and could set the pace for the rest of the season. I think it would be a great three points, but I feel it could be a struggle; however, with over a month until the game and a full transfer window in place, who knows?
With the right transfer window, I sadly expect Grimsby to be right up there fighting to get out of the division. Grimsby finished last season with a -3 goal difference. I believe this will be one of the things Paul Hurst wants to dramatically improve.
Morecambe, which is more famous for its bay and Tyson Fury, are one of the smaller teams in the division with an average attendance of just 4000 last season. Maybe this was because they were in a relegation fight, which they ultimately lost by crashing out of league one last season and now will have to fight in league two again. However, it seems like the shrimpers are in for another tough season with most bookies putting them second favourite to get another relegation.
In my opinion, this is a game where Notts should pick up three points. On the flip side, Morecambe did find a bit of form at the end of the season, winning three of their final five games and drawing one as well. It seems odd that a team that only got relegated by two points is one of the favourites to get relegated. Will Morecambe be a surprise package this season?
Back-to-back away games at the start of the season were always going to be hard, but when you're coming up against another potential promotion rival it becomes that little bit harder; do not let the fact that they finished 18th be a factor in the result. Not only have they been proactive in the transfer window by acquiring players like George Broadbent who had an excellent season with Boreham Wood, they also got Joe Ironside’s signature - a striker who has proven himself at this level with Cambridge and Hartlepool. Joe Ironside was also playing at a higher level last season by playing with league one outfit Cambridge scoring six goals.
This is another game where I feel Notts County could make a statement with a big win away from home. A point should be a minimum for Luke Williams' men in my opinion.
With both teams having their eyes set on playoffs as a minimum this season I think this will be a fantastic game for neutrals; however, it will be nail-biting for both sets of fans.
I can't help but feel Tranmere away will be our toughest game inside the opening five games due to their transfer window. Despite only finishing in twelfth place and three points below Grimsby last season I feel they will be underdogs this season.
As I mentioned earlier, Tranmere has had an impressive transfer window signing ex-Notts player Kristian Dennis, who yet again last season has proven himself within this league, scoring 20 goals last season for the now league one outfit Carlisle, but also getting the signature of Luke Norris. Luke, who has hit double figures in two consecutive seasons, signed for them on a one-year contract after helping his ex-club Stevenage get promoted and has previously won Stevenage’s player of the season. I think this season will be a good season for Tranmere with signing a very prolific pair of strikers and keeping a good core of their team. I would put my house on it that Notts will find Tranmere Rovers a tough team to visit Meadow Lane.