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The situation at the top of the National League


ARLukomski
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Yep, could make a case for all those teams, almost impossible to predict who’ll finish top. We’ve just got to keep plugging away, keep in touch and then it’ll be about who finishes the season strongest. Personally I can’t see a runaway leader this season, I think there’ll only be a few points in it.

As for a new striker, I wouldn’t be opposed but I think finding someone better than Wootton and Rodrigues will be a challenge (especially as spending stupid money is out of the question). And are you suggesting replacing one of them or are you just not convinced with our back-up options?

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Any of those teams could win the league, we're shaping up for a proper battle royale. Bit concerned that Wrexham and Stockport have hit form, especially with their blank cheque books. Another striker to give us that something extra, reduce our reliance on Wootton and turn some of the draws into wins could make all the difference - but that striker wouldn't be a guaranteed starter, which limits our options.

Gut feeling? Boredom Wood.

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I'm not stressed about Notts, we should easily find the form to finish in the play-offs - we'd need a massive downfall of form to fail that. I think with our current form so far, we'd fit comfortably within that, so the players just need to work at it.

The benefit of the league being this tight, is the fact it's still wide open.

Small clubs with thinner squads might start to struggle soon to keep up their form, whereas we are lucky to be only 4 points behind (obviously a game in hand for some). It's good because it means with a decent run we could reach somewhere closer to our potential, but again, the players need to dig deep and work hard to secure positive results.

If we can strengthen up in a few key areas once the Football League transfer window opens up, adding some Non League grit and another proven goal scorer - I think we'll be in for the running.

I would be somewhat disappointed if we didn't match other clubs ambitions by seriously going for it, I am not suggesting we throw caution to the wind, but momentum is easily built when you add upon the quality you have. I wouldn't begrudge some smart loans, but if we're aiming for promotion, adapting to life in League Two with another quality striker just seems even more of a must to me.

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1 hour ago, Chris said:

I'm not stressed about Notts, we should easily find the form to finish in the play-offs - we'd need a massive downfall of form to fail that.

I don't think that's true, it's so tight at the top end that even a slight dip in the form we've shown so far could see us miss out on the playoffs.  The 'games in hand' bit makes the table a bit inaccurate, so I did a table based on points per game:

1. Chesterfield 2.12 PPG (GD+20)
2. Boreham Wood 2.06 (+13)
3. Halifax 1.94 (+12)
4. Bromley 1.89 (+12)
5. Grimsby 1.78 (+11)
6. Notts 1.78 (+8)
7. Solihull 1.78 (+4)
8. Stockport 1.76 (+8)
9. Wrexham 1.74 (+14)
10 Yeovil 1.65 (+4)

The difference between 5th and 9th place is tiny, so we need to maintain our current form as a minimum.  There's still a long way to go, and we still have to play a lot of the lower teams, so our fate is still in our own hands.  Any team that can put a long unbeaten run together from now will have a good chance of the automatic spot.

Edited by Elite_pie
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This table shows the form of the last 8 games.

s0mj71m.png

Upcoming fixtures:

Southend (H)
Chesterfield (A)
Kings Lynn (A)
Wrexham (H)
Dover (A)
Barnet (H)
Wealdstone (A)
Bromley (A)

The league table is extremely tight, I wouldn't disagree with that but as I mentioned, we are near the point where teams will start to fall or struggle in general.

I do not believe, for a second, Notts will fall in form over the next two months.

If anything, we should improve a lot more, but with everything, it's about getting those all important points.

In the run of fixtures I listed, I would say two of them will be difficult with Chesterfield and Wrexham. A key point, would be to improve on our away form, which during December to January will be critical for Notts. The table also shows the dip that clubs within our area are starting to struggle.

If we do, I as I wrote, strengthen up a little in January - this would give the squad a lease of confidence, but I still feel we are good enough to finish within the play-offs as things are.

I would be interested to see how the league looks predicted based on form for the whole season.

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Yes and no @Elite_pie. We shouldn't kid ourselves into thinking that making the playoffs is easy, it isn't and the league is extremely competitive this season. But a points average of 1.78 per game is very high - that would equate to 82 points over a 46-game season and not all of the top nine will be able to keep that pace for the rest of the season. In the past, a points total in the low or mid 70s has been enough to finish in the top seven. I don't think a team with 80 points has ever finished below seventh. 

To win the league, you need more than 90. 80 will be comfortably enough for the playoffs, 70 and we miss out. 

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