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Stevenage Boro - View


After the dismissal of Keith Curle, Notts will be facing Stevenage with Chris Kiwomya acting as caretaker manager. Notts are five points away from the play off spots so it will be vital for our lads to keep their heads down and just get stuck in if we're to gain a play off spot. Stevenage sit 15th with two games in-hand of Notts and if they were to win they'd be on the same amount of points as us. Pride of Nottingham once again asks two opposition fans a series of questions as we gain their view ahead of our league one clash.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

Chris: Been a fan since 2003, when I went to my first game as a seven year old. Been going along regularly since then, and have now been a season ticket holder for four years.

Josh: I'm 17 on Thursday, so Tuesday is a big game for me. I'm a passionate supporter who loves the club and have been a fan for 10 years this august. My first game was a 0-0 draw against Chester City in 2003, and have been a Stevenage fan ever since. I'd never watched a game of

football before, not even on TV, so I have Stevenage to thank for my love of football.

After a pretty good start Stevenage found themselves near the top of the table however things started to drop since your 4-0 defeat to Swindon Town. Can tell us how things are going for you now?

Chris: Home performances recently have often been dire - no win in 15 weeks at Broadhall Way, and don't appear to be picking up any time soon. Our away form has been patchy too, but we look to be on track for a lower mid table finish, thanks to our excellent start to the season.

Josh: I think we need stability. Results have been getting to the fans and players and to shut off teams, get a few 0-0 draws and then push on from there would do us no harm. We showed signs of improvement against Doncaster, however lacked anything good against Orient. I think we'll pick up form and have a good mid table finish, however I couldn't tell you when I think that'll start.

On 3/2/2013 Notts County announced that they had parted ways with Keith Curle, as an opposition fan what are your thoughts on this and do you see it as being something Stevenage can capitalize on?

Chris: I can see it going one of two ways. Either the County players will kick into life and secure the three points, or it will give our players the thought that they can get something from the game. I was surprised to see him sacked, although I'm not sure why given the way modern football is! At the end of the day despite County's recent poor form, you're still only five points off the play-offs.

Josh: Notts are in a reasonably good position, table wise. 5 points outside play offs, and they can easily be made up as we've seen from other teams such as Coventry and Bournemouth. However if the club don't feel the manager is able to do this, then I can understand the sacking. As for the second question, I think we could capitalise on it, although we lost our manager last season and pulled out 3 fantastic results before getting a new manager in. So although I think we could gain an advantage from it, teams react differently to losing a manager and you could well rally behind the captain or leader figure of the team and play well.

How busy has your club been during the transfer/loan window?

Chris: We've released a couple of players who haven't featured at all this season, and brought in three new players. We've been light up top all season, so brought in two young strikers on loan - Sam Hoskins from Southampton who is a small but pacey striker who looks like he could do well for us. The other loan signing was Steve Beleck - intriguing because he is technically a Udinese player, on loan at Watford, who then loaned him out to us. He's the complete opposite of Hoskins - big, strong, and suitably good in the air. He also seems to be a decent signing, although time will tell. Finally we signed Leyton Orient's captain and centre half Ben Chorley who made his debut against the club he had just joined us from on Saturday. Too early to tell how well he'll do here, but he put in a decent shift.

Josh: 2 loan players in Steve Beleck and Sam Hoskins, both of whom look like good players. Belecks a strong and tricky character, while Hoskins looks nimble and a very tough character to handle. Chorley is the permanent signing, the orient captain joining us on deadline day. He seems like a strong, reliable defender and has definitely given us a more resilient defence.

Currently Stevenage are sitting in 15th place but with games in hand, where do you see your club going from here on?

Chris: I see us slipping further away from the play-offs, our away form should be enough to see us easily clear of relegation, but the awful home performances will stop us climbing the table. Given the size of our club, and the fact we bought almost an entirely new squad in the summer, I think most of us would have taken safety at the end of this season.

Josh: We'll strengthen, learn from mistakes and push on. Our games in hand are tough, Notts, Brentford home and away and Bury away will prove difficult challenges and will require serious planning. On our current form, I would expect 4/5 points at best.

What are your thoughts on Gary Smith currently and how did you feel about his appointment at the time?

Chris: I was impressed with his appointment at the start. It was obviously very disappointing when Graham Westley left us given the amount of success he had given us, but bringing in a coach who had won the MLS with the lowest budget in the league gave me hope for the future. Currently, I can't make my mind up about him. On one hand, I've been happy with most of his signings and a mid-table finish is fine by me with the new squad. However, it does worry me at times that the fans can spot mistakes straight away, which he then won't attempt to fix for several games - and the fact he spends the vast majority of his time on the touchline leaning on the dugout with his hands in his pockets. I do think by sticking with him we'll achieve some more success though, in time.

Josh: I feel he can do well with the team if the fans give him a chance. He's bound to make mistakes in the transfer window and we'll develop as I said. Hearing of his success in America I was excited on hearing of his appointment. Westley had been a massive part of the clubs history and although it's cliqued, it felt like a new era for the club.

Can you tell me which Stevenage players poise a threat to our team and who has been your overall best player of the season so far?

Chris: Frankly, right now none of our players pose a threat to anyone! On his day Freeman can be an absolutely class act but he has found himself frozen out of the team recently. Lucas Akins, our right winger and top scorer, has his good games too. Player of the season so far for me personally would be our central midfielder James Dunne, who we picked up from Exeter City in the summer. He's got it all - tackling, interceptions, vision, passing and a decent shot too.

Josh: I'm not a Preston player I can't give away team information. But on a serious note, Tansey can hit a good strike, and Akins and Morais can prove very troublesome down the wings. In defence, Roberts is a commanding figure and a great captain at CB, and Gray get's forward well from RB. Hoskins looks very tricky up front and could be a handful.

Which Notts County players do you feel Stevenage will have to be wary of and who do you consider to be our best player?

Chris: Thinking back to the away game earlier this season, I thought Zoko and Showunmi looked like a threat - I certainly wouldn't want to be the centre back given the job of marking them. Hard to say who I feel your best player is overall though, I'll been impressed with some of the saves I've seen Bialkowski make on the Football League Show though so I'll go for him!

Josh: Campbell-Ryce scored against us last time, and Jeff Hughes has caused us problems in the past. Alan Judge is a good player and could be a real threat to us.

Please tell Pride of Nottingham about Stevenage, the ground and anything which may be important to away fans?

Chris: Stevenage isn't as bad as some people make it out to me, and the ground is in a reasonably pleasant location. My only advice would be to avoid the burger bar!

Josh: Macdonalds, Asda, Burger King, all en route from the train station to the ground. You'll get no problems from Stevenage fans, we're a nice bunch and are more interested in the game.

Do you ever visit opposition fans forums? If so will you be visiting any of Notts County's prior to our game to look up the general on-goings of the club?

Chris: I normally visit opposition forums a few days before games - I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Notts County's especially given the sacking of Curle.

Josh: I rarely do, however if something big has happened like the signing of the player from another club, I'll look to see what their thoughts are on him.

What has the weather been like at Stevenage recently?

Chris: The same as most of the country - wet. Thankfully the pitch looked fine on Saturday, but you'll need to wrap up warm on Tuesday night if you're making the trip!

Josh: It's brightened up recently, and has felt a bit less like winter and more like spring. That's jinxed it however and it'll probably hammer down on Tuesday now I've said that.

How do you see your season finishing and where do you feel Notts County will finish by the end of the season?

Chris: As I've said I'm predicting a lower mid-table finish for us. I do feel however that the winner of our match on Tuesday will have earned a massive victory - it could be the platform that both of us need to push on for the play-offs - who knows. I reckon County will finish just outside the play-off spots though, around about where they are now.

Josh: I think we'll finish in similar positions, both seem to be having similar form and problems. And I expect both teams to pick up. 8th to 12th for both of us I think.

Additional Note:
I hope we'll see a good game on Tuesday, and all the best for the rest of the season.

We would like to Thank both Chris and Josh for taking the time to answer our questions.

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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