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Joe Jones
Kevin Nolan has revealed that Notts County are considering a move for free agent Nile Ranger but is aware of his off-the-field issues and insists that "everybody has to agree" on a decision.
The 26-year-old is not attached to a club at present after Southend United terminated his contract in January on disciplinary grounds.
Ranger served a month-long suspension following a serious breach of club discipline in his first season at Roots Hall before missing the start of his second campaign after being sent to prison for online fraud.
Notts, however, were hit with a setback after deadline day loan signing Mason Bennett was sidelined for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury which required surgery.
As a result, the club is back to square one in terms of striking reinforcements and, with the transfer window closed, only unattached players can join between now and the summer.
“Nile is a complex character shall we say and he’s had a lot of second, third and fourth chances,” Nolan, who was a teammate of Ranger when the pair were at Newcastle United, told the Nottingham Post.
“I am not going to lie but it’s a discussion we have had and we will continue to do so.
“The one thing we have got to make sure is that the perception of our club is the right one. No disrespect to Nile, but he has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons and the wrong side of the paper.
“It’s something that everybody has to agree on and if Nile does come here then we would have to have a good sit down with him and his representatives.
“Everybody has to be on board with it, right the way from the chairman to the players. If there is any sort of doubt, then we have to make sure we protect the club and the squad we have."
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Joe Jones
Kevin Nolan has stressed that each member of the Notts County squad will play a part in the latter stages of the League Two campaign.
The wear and tear of the season has shown in recent weeks, with players absent through injury or illness, and tweaks having to be made to each matchday XI.
In the goalless draw with Newport County, Terry Hawkridge and Dan Jones were left out of the squad, while Shola Ameobi was sidelined with a knock.
Nolan says he has a tough job of selecting a squad for each game, but has assured all of his players that they will have a role to play in the coming months.
“Shola was feeling his hamstring and we took the decision not to bring him to the game at the weekend. Hopefully he will be available for Tuesday," the manager told the Nottingham Post.
"Shaun Brisley was back on the bench and it shows the strength in depth of the squad that we can leave out somebody of Terry Hawkridge’s quality.
“He has been such an important member and still is an important member of our squad going forward.
“We have a great squad to choose from and not only am I worried about what XI I am picking, it’s also about what seven I then choose from the rest. We have to make sure we have all bases covered.
“They’ve just got to make sure they stay with us in terms of their attitude, because there are plenty more opportunities from now until the end of the season when they are going to have to step up.”
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Joe Jones
Notts County were held to a goalless draw in Saturday's League Two match away at Newport County.
The Magpies were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at Rodney Parade in a game of few clear-cut chances.
Notts were more dangerous than their opponents, with Lewis Alessandra and Jon Stead both going close, but neither side could find a breakthrough in South Wales.
Here is a compilation from the key post-match reaction from boss Kevin Nolan, defender Carl Dickinson, and as always the Black & White Army commenting on Pride of Nottingham!
Kevin Nolan
"You have to respect the point. It was a difficult game on a difficult pitch in difficult conditions but I thought the lads handled it well and we looked rock solid defensively.
"We needed a bit more patience and quality in the final third to take three points.
"But we've taken four points from our last two games, which I am really positive about, and I'm looking forward to another tough game at Cambridge on Tuesday.
"I'm delighted with the point and clean sheet - it had been a while - but we have to build on it now. If we continue to keep clean sheets it will give us an opportunity to get a lot of points on the board."
Carl Dickinson
"It wasn't the prettiest of games to play in but we dealt with everything they threw at us really well.
"We looked comfortable and I thought if any team was going to score it was going to be us.
"We've got a point and clean sheet away from home so we will take that and now look forward to Cambridge on Tuesday.
"We need to make sure we keep as many clean sheets as possible in the final 13 games of the season because it will only help us.
"We have to make sure we keep our heads down, work as hard as possible and do the basics well. If we do that I am sure we will win more games than we lose."
The Black & White Army
TheSkipper: Two scrappy teams which neither side was able to put in a proper performance. I think from the Notts perspective this is my biggest worry the fact we are woeful and lack that finishing required to win games. Stead missed a few good chances yesterday.
Peter Chalkley: If we don’t go up it won’t be through bottling it as such, it will because we just aren’t quite good enough. If we aren’t good enough I’d prefer not to go up. Without major overhaul we would be easy picking playing ugly football in league one and crowds would soon fall again. We need to get promoted on the back of players who we can keep next year, losing Yates may well be a blessing.
Nick Norman: I've been a season ticket holder for a very long time but I'm sick of a team that starts a season well then bottles it and Nolans tatics are becoming awful. We were lucky Tuesday. Players season after season not good enough. I won't be buying a season ticket next season to watch league 2 shite. Look at Accrington. Crap budget but got the right players. We got over paid clowns.
Phil Buxton: Any team celebrating a point at lowly Newport are not promotion hopefuls. Love Alan HARDY (Absolutely)Love Kevin Nolan (Absolutely) Love NCFC (Absolutely). Love a new STRIKER. (Absolutely) Act now or we will fall short of our expectations. COYP.
Peter Chalkley: I think people confuse ambition and financial suicide. We’ve had a great little cup run and will lose about £600k rather than £1mill this year. I don’t know who people thought we would get but we are short a central defender and a stringer still, tag on a fee or two and £15k a week minimum in a wages between them and you would need to guarantee promotion and big crowds to not be in trouble for next season. We’ve just seen what an injury can do to a January signing. It’s a real shame the season started so far and then faulted. Had we got to this stage without all the weeks top two we’d have been over the moon!
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Joe Jones
Notts County were held to a 0-0 draw by Newport County at Rodney Parade on Saturday.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, the Magpies had to settle for a point which saw them end the day fifth in League Two.
Notts were more dangerous than their opponents, with Lewis Alessandra and Jon Stead both going close.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the match, towards the end of which Notts forced a succession of corners.
However, there was to be no breakthrough as the game ended goalless.
Here are the official match highlights from County's YouTube channel, which we have shared here for you.
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Chris
Notts County were held to a goalless draw in Saturday's League Two match away at Newport County.
The Magpies were forced to settle for a goalless draw at Rodney Parade in a game of few clear cut chances.
Notts were more dangerous than their opponents, with Lewis Alessandra and Jon Stead both going close, but neither side could find a breakthrough in South Wales.
How did the game pan out from a tactical perspective? Pride of Nottingham's Chris takes a look with this weekend's Tactical Talk.
Was the result fair?
Both teams struggled to get a grip of the game, however if chances had been taken, Notts could have won and a goal may have changed the entire game forcing both sides to attack. Yet the game wasn’t that entertaining and the 0-0 seems fair.
How did Notts play?
By all accounts it sounded scrappy and not a direct result of the pitch – more a lack of application. Notts simply didn’t create chances very well enough and the performance does leave some questions about how we can improve away from home. The midfield lost the battle, never really connected play and overall it was a quiet performance by Notts. 
How did Newport play?
Very similar to Notts bar the more physical approach to the game. They looked woeful on goal and scrappy at the back, their midfield did well, moving the ball into dangerous areas, but they never seemed sure how best to distribute the ball. Overall, they didn’t apply themselves well either.
Did our tactics work out?
It’s hard to tell, if we aimed to cancel out Newport and never attack them in a way which would ask questions of their defence, I guess so. However, I think there were yet again questions over the starting line-up.
How did the referee perform?
The performance of the match officials wasn’t an issue yesterday, a good call to disallow Newport’s goal – overall pretty decent for League Two.
Who do we play next?
Next up Cambridge United – the departure of Shaun Derry seems to have hit them at a time whereby they’re making a transitional switch and it’s hard to see what U’s team will turn up.
How should we play them?
I want to see two strikers start both home and away games, I think the only time one is warranted is away from home when the opposition team we face is much stronger than us across the park.
Cambridge United aren’t this team in my opinion and if we focus on playing football we should be able to do well.
It’s all down to performance and ensuring that the starting line-up can get the job done from the off, so we need to see some flair and creativity from the midfield.
With two strikers it would make life naturally much harder for Cambridge United, yet we need to make movement – players must drift into areas whereby we can move forward and the type of chances we create must ask questions.
Naturally our midfield needs to be stronger, this is the type of game whereby a player such Liam Noble would be useful – however, I don't think he has proven why we chased or became obsessed over him this season.
Yet he could be the type of player that could drive the squad forward, it would be nice if he could lead the midfield but I think Elliot Hewitt is more likely to run himself into the ground.
Just smart play, where we work as a team. I think in recent performances we rely too much on forcing play and lack the team work which has given us good results.
We are very capable of playing football, so remove the pressure from ourselves and just become expressive on the pitch – try to enjoy your football lads, maybe we will then?
Newport County fan reaction (from weareexiles.net)
Stan A Einstein: I'll be honest I thought we'd be better today but lose 1-0. We are now 20 points clear of relegation with 13 games remaining. Realistically we are not going to make the play-offs. Perhaps time for Flynn to experiment, tell his team to go for it, especially at home?
Exile 1976: Team worked hard today, I thought we were unlucky with the disallowed goal. Labadie was excellent, Day & back 5 very good. I thought Marlon had a decent cameo too. A point stops the rot. On to the next game.
Confuddled: I thought [Marlon Jackson] was fairly decent. Won most things in the air. However, that team was completely void of any creativity. I think we work our front two harder than any team in this league. Defensively the team was solid. But our game plan was to thump the ball down the channels as soon as possible. Get the front two running all day. Hopefully we will get a throw in and long throw but that is pretty much our entire offensive threat. Now considering our recent form and who we were playing I can accept that. Stop the rut. Be solid and use this game as a springboard to get some form back.
Bush: Thought the defence played well after a shaky start which was maninly down to O'Brien playing like someone with a lack of match practice. Second half O'Brien was really good. My MOM. We have to keep that back 3 together as much as possible although I noticed a slight change today and O'Brien played on the white and white in the middle which was other way around the times I saw them together this season.
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Joe Jones
Kevin Nolan has admitted that Notts County are on the lookout for unattached players following Mason Bennett's season-ending injury but says "nobody has been standing out".
The on-loan Derby County striker has undergone surgery on an injured hamstring which forced him to limp out of the 1-0 defeat to Barnet last weekend.
“We spent a lot of hours trying to get Mason over and all we can hope for is that the operation has gone well for him and he gets his opportunities when he comes back,” Nolan told the Nottingham Post/
“If there is something to be done next season then we will discuss that, but the health of the lad is most important and we wish him well in his long recovery back.
“We’ve been looking at all possibilities (free transfers), but nobody at the minute has been standing out.
“We'll continue to look and see if we can pull one out of the hat. But if not then I'm delighted with the squad I’ve got. We’ve still got enough to do what we need to do.”
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Joe Jones
Kevin Nolan has declared himself "delighted" with a clean sheet and a point from Notts County's goalless draw at Newport County on Saturday but feels the Magpies could have won the game.
A grind of a game at Rodney Parade ended with a share of the spoils as Notts - who had the better of the chances - slipped to fifth in the League Two table.
However, Nolan was happy to see his side shut their opponents out and claim their first clean sheet in nine outings.
“It was a difficult game on a difficult pitch,” he told the Nottingham Post. “But I thought the lads handled that well and defensively they looked rock solid.
“We got a point, and I think we could have had all three with a bit more quality and patience in the final third.
“It was a big week for us but we have got four points from two games which I am really positive about.
“I am delighted with a clean sheet, delighted with a point and we’ve just got to make sure we move on and build on this now.
“If we continue to keep clean sheets then it gives you an opportunity to get a lot of points on the board.”
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Joe Jones
Notts County have lost further ground in the race for the League Two automatic spots after being held to a 0-0 draw at Newport County on Saturday.
The hosts began brightly as Padraig Amond fired over in the first 30 seconds Dan Butler and Robbie Willmott worked their way down the left flank.
At the other end, Jon Stead was on hand to meet a Carl Dickinson delivery from the byline but the veteran's effort at the near post was wide.
Joe Day was then tested on the quarter-hour mark when he pushed away Elliott Hewitt's drive from range as the contest subsequently become more of a war of attrition in midfield.
There would be little goalmouth action until the latter stages of the first half, when Amond blazed over from a difficult angle and Jorge Grant bent a 25-yard free kick wide of the post.
Neither side could find a breakthrough come the end of the opening 45 minutes and no changes were made when the restart came about.
As with the first half, the game was a slow burner as both teams took a while to get back into the game.
On 55 minutes Joss Labadie found the back of the net but the goal was disallowed for an infringement on Adam Collin.
A quarter of an hour later, Notts spurned a great chance when Grant saw an effort blocked before the ball fell for Alessandra to fire goalwards from the edge of the area.
Day managed to parry the effort, only for the ball to then fall into the path of Liam Noble, who fluffed his lines by blazing high and wide.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the match, with Notts finishing brightly by winning a succession of corners, but ultimately the final whistle blew on a stalemate.
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Joe Jones
Alan Hardy has stressed that Notts County's destiny is still in their own hands in terms of promotion and insists that a top-three finish in League Two remains the objective.
The Magpies' league form has been patchy for a while and last week's loss to Barnet dealt a big blow, although a win against Carlisle United at Meadow Lane stabilised the ship.
With Newport County away taking place today, Hardy insists Notts must just concentrate on themselves and is looking ahead to a run of games where the promotion rivals will face each other.
"After the disappointment of Barnet last weekend, it was great to see us get back to winning ways against Carlisle on Tuesday night," Hardy wrote in the Nottingham Post.
"It may have been incredibly tense in the latter stages of the game but full credit to Kevin and the team for getting the job done.
"I can’t pretend I was cool as a cucumber when the fourth official indicated there would be seven minutes of stoppage time - where on earth all that came from I do not know - but it was a test of our resilience and concentration levels which we passed with flying colours.
"With five minutes to go in normal time, I presumed we would be heading back into the top three because Wycombe were drawing 2-2 with Swindon.
"Usually I’m constantly checking our rivals’ scores but I got so engrossed in the final stages of our game that I took my eyes away from goings on elsewhere.
"But, after our game was over, I flicked back and couldn’t believe Wycombe had scored another last-minute goal to win 3-2.
"That kept them two points ahead of us but we are hot on their heels and they will know they can’t afford to slip up because we are gunning for that top-three slot.
"Our destiny is still very much in our own hands and I would rather have it that way than be relying on other teams to do us a favour.
"We have the likes of Accrington and Wycombe still to play, which are going to be huge games. I suspect they will have a large bearing on where we finish in May.
"But right now it’s all about concentrating on ourselves, with results - not necessarily performances - the most important thing.
"I said before Tuesday’s game, when we did our pre-match Facebook live interview, that I would settle for a scrappy 1-0 win no matter how the goal was scored. It’s such an important phase of the campaign where momentum is everything."
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Joe Jones
Head to head
Notts County and Newport County have met a total of 49 times over the years, the first fixture coming in 1930, which the Magpies won 3-2.
The head-to-head record is skewed in the Magpies’ favour, with 26 wins, 9 draws and 14 defeats.
Our last meeting was earlier this season, a 3-0 hammering of the Exiles at Meadow Lane.
Of particular note is the penultimate meeting, in May 2017, the last game of last season, and Newport won 2-1 at Rodney Parade to avoid the drop to the National League.
Our record league win is against Newport – an 11-1 hammering. We have also beaten them 5-0, 6-2, 7-0, 6-0 and 8-1 over the years.
Notts have only failed to score once in their last 14 meetings with the Exiles in all competitions (W8 D2 L4), netting 30 goals in those matches.
Stats
Newport have lost three league games on the bounce, scoring once while conceding 10. They haven't lost four in a row in League Two since January 2017 (eight games).
Notts County have only won one of their last 10 League Two games on the road (D5 L4), failing to keep a single clean sheet during that spell.
Jorge Grant has been directly involved in four goals in just two league appearances against Newport County for Notts County (three goals, one assist), more than he has against any other side for the Magpies.
History
Newport, originally nicknamed "The Ironsides" due to Newport being home to Lysaght's Orb Works steel works, started out in the Southern League in 1912 at Somerton Park.
The official name of the club was The Newport & Monmouth County Association Football Club, although the shorter Newport County was soon adopted.
The club were reformed in 1919 and were first elected to the Football League in 1920.
Newport were Welsh Cup winners in 1980 and subsequently reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup in 1981.
The club was relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business in February 1989, but reformed shortly afterwards and entered the English football league system at a much lower level.
In 2013 the club then won promotion back to the Football League for the first time since 1988.
In the 1970s and 1980s comedian Frank Carson was appointed as a Director and Vice President in order to raise the profile of the club.
Newport-based rappers Goldie Lookin' Chain are also supporters of the club and were the team's shirt sponsors for the 2004–05 season FAW Premier Cup matches.
Team news
Newport are without defender Scot Bennett for Notts County's visit in Sky Bet League Two.
Newport defender - and former Notts player - Scot Bennett will be out after suffering a hamstring injury and won't be back for four to eight weeks.
Mark O'Brien is set to return as Exiles boss Michael Flynn ponders switching to three at the back following Tuesday's 5-0 thrashing at Mansfield Town.
Veteran striker Paul Hayes is fit again after a groin problem, while Josh Sheehan and Emmanuel Osadebe could bolster the midfield.
Notts manager Kevin Nolan must decide whether to restore 17-goal top scorer Jorge Grant to the starting line-up after he looked jaded over the last few weeks.
Alan Smith should return to the squad after being on antibiotics, while Shaun Brisley missed out in midweek through illness and might struggle to regain his place as Brighton loanee Ben Hall did well on his debut.
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Chris
Prior to this past Tuesday’s game against Carlisle United at Meadow Lane, Kevin Nolan spoke about how there was ‘no mini crisis' happening at Meadow Lane.
At a glance, it does seem that the two home game defeats against Crawley Town and Exeter City could be labelled down to a mistake in switching from a successful formation, whereby the tactics truly did work well with our system.
However, the post-match interview did leave some questions when Nolan himself ranted about ‘the players don’t listen’, ‘we would have been okay if they had’ and that he believed some of them had started believing ‘their own hype’.
The majority of fans I know merely don’t want to see Notts lose their focus, which for me has been the case – I feel the poor performances in recent weeks stem from a lack of confidence.
Meanwhile, the heavy defeat in the FA Cup is something which would have naturally impacted on the players' confidence, yet provided we cover the basics and work hard – Notts should be fine.
This season has seen some amazing results and for a while it seemed unlike Notts – yet again in the recent weeks things have been very disappointing.
The nonsense after losing two games really disappointed me, as for the first time this highlighted how we had lost or focus on what really mattered.
Focusing on ‘some’ silly comments and projecting them as if the majority of fans wanted Kevin Nolan out just seemed quite surreal for what seemed like a small error on the manager's part – again most people just feel like the league table position is something we need to fight for.
It’s vital we regain some consistency within League Two, whilst ensuring focus and improved performances.
This is the stage of the campaign whereby clubs that lose their momentum really do struggle and I do believe that we are capable of continuing the form.
Coming into the 2017-18 season I would have happily accepted mid-table and, truth be told, I still would – provided that everyone within the Notts County camp fought for it.
I wouldn’t really say we have been unlucky, some may say that we should have beaten Swansea City in the first tie and this would be fair – yet the two defeats from the formation switch in my eyes really did impact the harmony of the squad. Especially at a point when new faces were coming into the squad and then we reverted away from something we had been incredibly successful with.
I also personally hope that this recent thing is nothing more than just a loss of focus from the pressure which is mounting on the club – the level of expectations might have increased but honestly most fans I know are sensible and will back the club wholeheartedly.
It’s time to see Notts return to improving, focusing on what they did right in the earlier part of the season and hopefully we can cut down on the changes being made to the starting line-up.
Fingers crossed this virus issue goes away, yet for me this cannot be used as an excuse.
I am hopeful that a win against Newport County might bring a fresh amount of belief within the club and, that we might be able to focus on our away form which hasn’t been the best this season.
It’s important we have a real crack at securing promotion this term and, I only believe it’s possible with the right focus. So let’s forget the past few weeks, let’s avoid blaming the match officials and lets just drive Notts across the finish line.
COYP!
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Chris
Notts County travel to Newport County on Saturday on the back of a victory against Carlisle United which provided much relief to the club's contingent and fans, keeping the Magpies in the playoff places.
The Exiles are much improved this term compared to previous seasons but go into this game having lost their last three in League Two.
Pride of Nottingham takes a closer look at Newport's form, key players and tactics in this weekend's Scouting Report.
Head to head
Notts have met Newport 49 times in competitive action: 26 games have been won by the Magpies, 14 by the Exiles, and there have been 9 draws.
Newport won this fixture 2-1 at the tail end of last season, which saw the Exiles survive in the Football League by the skin of their teeth and prompted a pitch invasion at Rodney Parade.
They haven't beaten Notts in consecutive home matches in the Football League since March 1971.
The Magpies have only failed to score once in their last 14 meetings with the Exiles in all competitions, netting 30 goals in those matches.
Run-down of their last six features
Saturday 13th January – Grimsby Town 1 Newport County 2
Friday 19th January – Newport County 2 Crawley Town 1
Tuesday 23rd January – Newport County 1 Morecambe 1
Tuesday 30th January – Lincoln City 3 Newport County 1
Saturday 3rd February – Colchester United 2 Newport County 0
Tuesday 13th February – Mansfield Town 5 Newport County 0
The Players – Fact Sheet
Highest Goalscorers: Padraig Amond 11, Shawn McCoulsky 11, Frank Nouble 8 and Joss Labadie 6.
Persistent Foulers: Joss Labadie 10 yellow cards and 1 red card, Frank Nouble 9 yellow cards, Ben White 7 yellow cards and Matthew Dolan 6 yellow cards.
The Key Players
Former Notts midfielder Joss Labadie has been influential in Newport County’s midfield, providing assists and attacking support, and also goals to his own tally.
On his day he can be a force to be reckoned with and he’s one of those players in League Two who can be considered a game changer.
In attack, they have three very attacking minded players in Frank Nouble, Padraig Amond and Shawn McCoulsky – the latter being a player who causes many headaches for his counterparts' defence.
Ben White is also a tricky player who likes to get forward and frequently challenges his rivals with a mix basic skill and hard work.
Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses
The Exiles are one of those teams you can’t just predict how they will play, but looking at their form and goals conceded you would have to fancy our chances on the day, provided Kevin Nolan’s men put in a true performance of their ability.
At the back they’re very dodgy, a mix of poor zonal marking and a lack of applications means they are often punished by school boy errors at the back.
On the ball, they are comfortable in possession and can make good use of it.
However, they do tend to be wasteful and a lack of confidence is a major knock towards how they play or even express themselves on a pitch.
If their opposition scores early or dominates the game, they generally struggle – yet hard work can often see them claw themselves back into games.
It does look like their poor form is mostly down to the sheer amount of goals conceded, so it would appear likely that Notts could cause further problems by ensuring they break carefully and take any chances that present themselves on goal.
As I say, defensively Newport do not look like a very good team and if we can bypass their physical side we should do well.
The key would be to keep the ball moving promptly, whilst making good movement in and around their back four.
Any chances from free-kicks must be used wisely and, I can see an effort easily going in if a chance presents itself – the Exiles keeper seems prone to missing saves from the top right corner.
Notts must be strong in possession and, ensure that they play with strength in numbers but must avoid losing concentration at the back.
Provided our defence and keeper do their jobs, it should be fairly straight forward but much of this will come down to how Kevin Nolan’s men play.
There should be too many changes, and certainly 4-4-2 would give Notts some comfort, yet I would avoid isolating the front by using one striker – as they will play into the hands of Newport’s style of play which is common for League Two.
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Joe Jones
Kevin Nolan has stressed that Notts County will need to ensure they adapt properly to Newport County's pitch when they play the Exiles on Saturday.
The Rodney Parade turf sees three teams play on it - the football club and two rugby teams - which means plenty of wear and tear, and criticism over its quality.
Despite three quarters of a million pounds being invested into the pitch by the Welsh Rugby Union last summer to improve its drainage, it continues to have issues.
Just last week, Newport's fixture with Forest Green Rovers was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch, but Nolan says it cannot be used as an excuse and will want his players to suss the surface out during the warm-up.
“I am not going to be using any pitches as an excuse,” he told the Nottingham Post. “We are both going to be playing on it. We will have 11 men and they will too.
“It’s up to our lads to make sure they get accustomed to it as quickly as possible.
“That’s why you have warm-ups because you find out what footwear is needed, what the pitch is like and where most of the grass is be it on the sides or in the middle.
“That’s what they should be thinking of when they go out there to do the warm-up.”
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Joe Jones
Former Notts County loanee Ryan Yates has revealed he "jumped" at the opportunity to join Scunthorpe United on loan and reiterated his desire to become a first-team player at Nottingham Forest.
The 20-year-old was sensational for the Magpies in the first half of the season, making 29 appearances in all competitions and scoring six goals plus registering three assists.
However, his time at Meadow Lane came to an end when he was recalled by Forest on January 10 and shipped out to Glanford Park a day later.
Since then Yates has made just three appearances for the Iron, totalling 120 minutes of football, but he outlined his hopes of success both at the League One club and his employer.
“As soon as I heard the genuine interest from Scunthorpe I jumped at it because I want to challenge myself and play as high as I can, and this is a great place for me to be,” he told the Scunthorpe Telegraph.
“These boys want promotion and that’s the only aim. It’s all the players spoke about when I got it, the attitude is that we are getting promotion – I love that.
“I want to keep learning every day. I am only 20 and I know I can learn a lot from these players. I want to keep learning, playing and enjoying myself, and I am enjoying myself a lot at this club.
“We had that winning mentality at Notts County under Kevin Nolan and it is exactly the same here.
"The manager is relentless all the time. Every day in training we are at it because we have big goals we want to achieve by the end of the season.
“I want to prove myself at this level and show people that I have what it takes.
"It’s going to be fantastic for my development, hopefully we have a successful season here and I’ll go back to Nottingham Forest a better player.
“I am contracted to Nottingham Forest, have been there since I was eight years old, so it would be fantastic if I could break into the side.
“It would mean everything to break into the first-team at Forest. They have some really top players there who have played at the highest level.
“If I am going to get in, I know I will need to go back there in a really good condition with great experience.”
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samwatto2008
So after what seemed like a good Christmas period, it seems that Notts County have gone into switch off mode ever since.
We set off the year with a positive result against Port Vale winning 1-0 at home. We then went on to proceed to the 4th round of the FA Cup against Swansea City after a sublime strike from Jon Stead against Brentford put us into the pot for the next round.
With morale seeming to be at an all time high at Meadow Lane and coming into the new year with bags of confidence, it didn’t seem like anything could stop Notts.
So where did it start to go wrong?
Well, we ended our unbeaten home record against Exeter City who quite frankly couldn’t buy an away win at the time of beating us. That put a real gloom over Meadow Lane and I think it hit the players hard that we are still beatable at home and we should not let standards drop.
However that message clearly didn’t get through.
Outrageous behaviour from Ross Fitzsimons 3 days later, to put it straight, cost us two points. Crawley were a good side in form and having a point from that match looked like a good result.
So after 2 consecutive defeats at Meadow Lane and sickness from Matt Tootle I think the players and manager were knocked down a few pegs.
We then won 4-1 in front of a record home crowd against Crewe Alexandra, which was such a positive performance I think everyone left that game with a smile on their faces.
Then... an embarrassing display of football saw us lose 8-1 to Swansea and then lose to Barnet who are bottom of the league 1-0. This was the confirmation fans needed to know that County were officially in a slump.
Although Tuesday brought about a 2-1 win over Carlisle United, the performance nonetheless left question marks and doubts remain going forward.
How do we fix it?
So our next 3 fixtures are as follows:
Newport County vs Notts County
Cambridge United vs Notts County
Notts County vs Stevenage
So out of these next three games, if we are still serious about promotion we need to be looking at 6 points out of a possible 9.
In my opinion we should be looking at wins across the board, excluding Newport which look a real unit at the moment, especially at home.
Cambridge are currently without a manager and by the time we play them I think it will still take time for their players and manager to gel.
As for Stevenage, well they are a bang average mid-table team. We need to pick up points now, as we enter a vital period for a promotion push.
Who can we rely on?
This is bound to spark a debate in the comments but this is my personal opinion of who I think is going to be crucial in the run up the end of the season.
Mason Bennett – I know he got injured at Barnet but I would hope we could see him back fit for the start of March even for the Stevenage game if we’re lucky. His pace is frightening for League Two defenders top cope with and I think him and Jorge Grant could be a real threat and kill off games early which is what we need to do.
Matt Tootle – He can defend and attack and can always mark a striker with pace. He puts in 100% effort and can really change a game and flip it on its head. His quality in defence in attack can help link up play in areas we could maybe use to our advantage.
Noor Husin – Well this lad is superb, his passing ability is amazing in my opinion and his work rate is fantastic. I think Husin, Grant and Bennett could really work well together and for a young prospect he has some real talent and could possibly go on to be a class midfielder. His cutting edge passes and long shots could be something Nolan looks to take advantage of.
After being away from the site for a while due to work I am keen to get back in touch with PON members and create more content to get a response from fans and see what they think. The question I want to ask you PON members is, Who do you think can turn this slump around? Let me know in the comments below and I hope to be writing another piece soon.
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