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Match Discussion: #1 The Whites (A) 20/21


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It's that time where we all have our say on this upcoming weekend's fixture against Dover Athletic.

Pre-Season needs to be put to the back of our minds, but important signs of a decent performance would be encouraging. It's going to be interesting to see if Neal Ardley persists with the diamond formation, along with who will make his starting 11. I fully expect the first player on the team sheet to be Michael Doyle, although, I had hoped that we would have a new captain this season.

I'm sure Doyle will organise us well on the pitch, as he's the eyes and voice of Ardley on the pitch.

Will Casper Sloth make a start? I can see Kyle Wootton and, Elisha Sam starting up top (yet would prefer Wes Thomas). Whatever happens, just remember there is a long way to go and, I am determined to make the most of this season.

It will be surreal not to be attending, fingers crossed we can get back safely not before too long.

What line-up should Neal Ardley opt for? What will be the key areas for the Magpies to get a victory? What do you think the final score will be?

Have your say below, join in with the Pride of Nottingham match discussion.

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I have seen the arguments that Neal Ardley will stick with the diamond formation, because this is what formation he had in mind when signing the players so far, I disagree. They're professional footballers who will be able to play any tactic that they're coached well enough in.

I think we will see a return of the 4-4-2 formation.

                   Slocombe
Brindley Lacey Rawlinson McCrory

                 Doyle
Enzio           Rodriguez        O'Brien

                 Sam Wootton

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I imagine we will play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. Rodrigues and Enzio out wide. Reeves and Doyle in the centre with Jake pushing on. I can see Thomas starting up top.

This is a good chance to get off to a good start. We should not underestimate Dover, but they have had the toughest summer out of any National League club (except for Macclesfield). 

If 4-4-2: Slocombe, Brindley, Rawlinson, Lacey, McCrory, Rodrigues, Reeves, Doyle, Enzio, Thomas, Wootton

If 4-3-3: Slocombe, Brindley, Rawlinson, Lacey, McCrory, Doyle, Reeves, O'Brien, Rodrigues, Wootton, Enzio. Or play Rodri in the midfield 3 and play Thomas/Knowles out wide pushing their full-backs

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whatever lineup ardley chooses its a good opportunity for them to establish themselves as a regular. i hope he goes for a settled squad, as last season we looked better when he stopped making those bizarre changes. you understand a few for resting purposes and surprises for cups games but we need a starting 11 that is able to get the job done. i think the pressure will be on notts not dover, whatever problems they are experiencing they will still want to beat us since we are a big club in this league.

a home win for them could be the thing to distract them.

i really dont know what to expect otherwise, i just hope tactically we are setup well and prepared to work hard.

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4-4-2 would better suit Notts at the moment.

It's key for the majority of the players to be at their best, a win could lift confidence and help on the performance front. I would like to see Sam start, despite seeing him already being written off. Save Thomas for when Dover start to get tired, if Notts can take a comfortable lead I would hope we play to possession game rather than experiment or throw random players on.

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Dover have been hit hard by Covid, they’ve only got 17 first team players at the moment. And although they managed to play 7 pre-season games, they only won 2 of them. There fans think they’re really going to struggle this season. From our point of view, Dover are the ideal first game of the season.

Are we going to stick with the diamond? I genuinely think we are. If Roberts is out, we’ve only got one real winger in Enzio, so I can’t see us playing 4-4-2. I’m concerned we’re going into this season with only 2 wingers, I think this symbolises a shift from away from 4-4-2.

I’ve still got a slight concern about how our passing has been sloppy recently, I’m hoping the focus and intensity will be there knowing this game really matters.

 I'll say; 2-0 Notts. Wootton and Rodrigues to score.

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The struggles Dover are facing could bring their group together, so I don't think anyone can write them off.

It does bode well with Notts and if the players can make the most of this, by putting on a good performance. The points may just return with them. It's a long way for us, so its got to be a good run out.

My prediction would be 1-0 to Notts.

A good game despite the flattering score line.

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Winning a game comfortably would be nice, but I don't feel Dover will just allow Notts to walk all over them. The forecast has said that it should be quite rainy, so I hope the pitch holds up but I can see the game being scrappy for this reason.

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Are we going to stick with the diamond? I genuinely think we are. If Roberts is out, we’ve only got one real winger in Enzio, so I can’t see us playing 4-4-2. I’m concerned we’re going into this season with only 2 wingers, I think this symbolises a shift from away from 4-4-2.

Persisting with the diamond formation is something I feel Ardley needs to abandon for now.

I don't think Roberts will be starting, it seems his injury isn't as bad but I wouldn't rush him back into the starting 11 even if he is ready to play. Enzio needs to pick himself up, he's got the quality to win games but seeing it, that's a different thing. He's a mystery within himself.

4-4-2 does look most likely, I agree with your thoughts.

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The first game of any season is always a true test for a side wanting to push on from losing in the playoffs.

I don't think the players should be disheartened by losing, the focus should be amending it and being that extra bit stronger. As to what will happen to tomorrow, it depends on the tactics and which Notts County team turns up.

I am hoping for a 2-0 win, but I feel it might closer than that.

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21 hours ago, menzinho said:

Dover have been hit hard by Covid, they’ve only got 17 first team players at the moment.

This could turn out to be a nightmare for Notts, IF it spreads.

I do feel the club has a big enough squad with depth to managing any players that may fall ill, if any, it really is a big if.

Neal Ardley must see this as a perfect chance to put 3 points onto the table, I am not worried about the wider areas, I am keen to see what creativity we have in the middle which is an area we have lacked for some time.

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In his interview after the York game, Neal Ardley seemed to admit that the diamond had been a failed experiment, so I'd be surprised to see us use it tomorrow.

With Roberts and McCrory probably out and Turner and Sloth behind in training, we're potentially down to 15 outfield players ourselves. We should still have a strong team to choose from, but it's a worry with our hectic schedule to come.

As we're away (and NA does tend to err on the side of caution) I fully expect Doyle and Reeves to play in the heart of midfield. I think Rodders and Sam will end up on the bench. Chicksen will play as he'll probably be our only fit left-back, while Reeves will get the nod as the manager knows and trusts him. The other new boys will have to force their way in.

Predicted line-up:

Slocombe

Brindley - Lacey - Rawlinson - Chicksen

Boldewijn - Doyle - Reeves - O'Brien

Thomas - Wootton

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It's match day, but it doesn't feel like it to me. I am pretty hyped about the new season, but I realise that I need it to kick in properly.

I think today's going to show some real character, so hopefully, we have some standout performers. If the key players add that quality we know they've got, then the game should be entertaining. For Notts, it's about what we do when the ball isn't at our feet. I want to see each player press and, close down the opposition better. I'd like to see us pass creatively and, show awareness of space.

Attacking the right areas will always reap its rewards, if we can sit on a comfortable lead within the first half - the game should be easier to control.

Can Notts go 2-0 up before half time? I'm not sure, I do expect Dover to play a lot better than what people are suggesting.

Their own chairman believes they will struggle, so we will see, but I am hoping for a 3-1 win for us.

Kyle Wootton x2 and Lacey.

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It's frustrating, Dover's live stream has failed for quite a lot of people.

I have been forced to turn on the radio, I have to be honest, I am not impressed by the coverage either. I could fall asleep, it's more of a conversation than what is actually happening. Is the game that eventless? I could just be in a grumpy mood but it doesn't come across as very knowledgable, more adult men rambling about stuff.

Please, please, please Notts.... SCORE...

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Slocombe sounds as if he saved a good header from a Dover player.

There was comments about Notts deserving a penalty, but little else. The commentary hasn't been very detailed, it's hard to determine where players are and, who's had a chance.

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