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Chris

Portsmouth - View

By Chris, in Opposition Views,

Ahead of our clash against Portsmouth FC, we've decided to ask a series of questions to Pompy fan WhoIzzet. Notts have suffered a turbulent period recently and whilst Pompy reside in the relegation places, both will be striving for the full 3 points this Saturday. Notts have beaten Pompy on two occasions this season already, but with Bury away at MK Dons, Portsmouth fans will see this as a fantastic opportunity to make ground in their search for maintaining their League One status. Wholzzet takes time out to tell us here at prideofnottingham.co.uk.

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

I'm Jake, 32 years old from Horndean. I've supported Portsmouth for as long as I can remember, through the very-highs and very-lows. I'm also an admin on footballforums.net (Check us out!).

At the start of season things were looking quite positive for Portsmouth FC, with your league standings and attitude towards financial difficulties. How close is your club to resolving the issue regarding ownership and how did you feel at the start of the season?

The trust's bid to buy the club has gained strength beyond what anyone really anticipated, and that has been the major positive. It does seem that the fans now have a realistic chance of owning the club, but the likes of Chainrai seem to be doing what they can to derail our hopes. It's impossible to say how close we are to resolving our situation, because every time it looks like we're getting close, we hit another setback or two. At the start of the season I hoped that we could stay up, but my major concern was that we stabilised our finances.

Despite how the season has gone so far for your club, the fan base has shown amazing support. There doesn't seem much time for negativity, how do your fans stay so upbeat?

It's nice of you to say. I guess one important thing is that this has happened before. We've been on the brink so often that it doesn't tear us completely apart, but this will have to change soon as the Pompey support don't have unlimited patience. Attendances have understandably dwindled and until the ownership issue is resolved, there are some who won't return to Fratton Park.

Your 3 – 1 Win over Shrewsbury Town is probably the turning point of your season, the drop in points since is quite concerning. Would you say this is more a reflection on a loss of players, rather than the performances?

It's partly down to loss of players, but in truth our performances have been poor of late. There is enough ability in the squad so we shouldn't be performing so dreadfully in the league, but we are and this unfortunately has to be attributed to the manager. As much as Guy Whittingham is a popular figure in Portsmouth, he's not able to deal with the difficult situation as well as Michael Appleton could, and should perhaps step aside if results don't improve.

James Keene has returned on loan, how important is his return to the club?

He's a new attacking option, and with the departure of Izale McLeod it was important that we found someone to fill the gap. I couldn't possibly say if he will do well though. He didn't quite cut it for Pompey the first time around, but it sounds like he found his goal scoring feet in Sweden. I'll be interested to watch him play again and see how he's improved.

Do you expect any other additions to your squad?

I'm hoping there will be. A few players are due to leave the club on the 15th, so we will be chipping away at bare bones if we can't find any replacements. While the ownership issue is still up in the air, any deals will be very temporary, but it's important we don't just give up on this season while survival is still a possibility.

Who would you say are Portsmouth's danger men in our upcoming game and who has been your key player in recent performances?

Mustupha Dumbuya (leaving on the 15th) has become more and more of a menace down the wing in recent weeks and often seems to provide our most incisive threat going forward. Though his end product still leaves a lot to be desired, the Notts County defence will have to be aware of him. Paul Benson can also be a handful up front.

Which Notts County players do you feel your side should watch out for from a defensive point of view?

The trouble for Pompey fans is we're still getting used to having to stay up all night for a quick round up of the league highlights! I guess Yoann Arquin would be someone to watch out for considering he's County's top scorer, but in truth we are chaotic when it comes to set-pieces. If you have someone who can whip a dangerous ball in from a free-kick or corner, it's curtains for us.

How is Jon Harley getting on at Portsmouth?

I haven't been overly-impressed. We've been crying out for an attacking option down the wings, and while Dumbuya has stepped up his game in that department, Harley seems unable to offer the same kind of service. His defensive work is about average.

What game this season has been your favourite and why?

I guess beating Shrewsbury 3-1 did seem, as you say, like a turning point. It was a good feeling to see the team performing as a unit and getting the result without performing particularly well, and the match occurred just after the Supporters Trust was named the preferred bidder, so there was a renewed sense of optimism that day. But the highlights have been few and far between, and I doubt the club will be releasing an end of season DVD.

If you were a Notts County fan, how would you respond to the negativity which surrounds the club for very little reason(s), especially considering we're progressing nicely since our return from league two?

It's a strange one for sure. From what I know of the situation (which is very little, so excuse my ignorance), the chairman has made a statement asking the fans to stop moaning. I guess the craziness that goes on with Pompey means that I'm envious of anyone who has a stable football club to support. Whether promotion happens this year, next, in ten years - just enjoy the football, and the fact that the club is on the rise.

Where do you feel Portsmouth's final position will be at the end of the season?

We're quite doomed. Relegation beckons.

In summary, I should imagine Keith Curle will have this fixture down as three points for County, and he'd be absolutely right to. We are low on confidence, players and form, and in truth it would not be a surprised if we lost this by three or four. I hope the County fans enjoy their first visit to Fratton Park in a little while, bearing in mind that it is likely it will be the last for a while as well.

We would like to Thank WhoIzzet (Jake) for the time of answering questions and sharing his views.
Chris

Our Club, Our Passion

By Chris, in Media,

I've been very busy since opening Pride of Nottingham that I haven't had much time for my other hobbies. When I'm not doing things on here, I tend to be found on one of my other sites that I run. These are all things I am very passionate about, so it makes complete sense to bind two of them together. The first site I ever started was related to Poetry & Art, it's something that has been very positive in my life and great way for me to express myself. I very much enjoy writing as a hobby, over the years I feel I've gotten much better than being basic at it.

Please take the time to read
 
'Our Club, Our Passion'
by Notts-Joe

Will you stand with us,
As we fall, or as we win.
Be the spine, the song,
The roar of it all.
Be the pride,
Our passion, the life,
Of our ever dreaming belief,
Will you take a moment,
To think before you speak?
Can you encourage, inspire,
Be more than one fan,
Chant for the moment,
Sing when nothing can be sung,
Will you rise above,
The shadows which form from off the floor,
Can you back our team,
Just once more,
We will build as we grow,
One hundred and fifty years on,
Our club is our passion,
As fans we can be strong,
To challenge, to make a difference.
Together we are one,
Have faith in our tough times.
I will, will you?

http://youtu.be/wOhMz3CpA5E
UniPie
Adam Faiers is the Chair of the MK Dons Supporters Trust and a keen cyclist. This season, Adam has combined the two to set upon a remarkable task by cycling to every single away match MK Dons play in this 2012/13 season. Just this Tuesday been, Adam cycled 81 miles to Nottingham to watch their game against Notts County and has a further 120 miles to ride this weekend to watch MK Dons face Sheffield Wednesday in a tricky encounter.

Adam is raising money for the MK Dons disability teams and a specialist school for the disabled in Milton Keynes and has so far raised over £1800. All the support and donations you can provide would be so greatly received and you can do this by following this link: http://mkdsa.co.uk/i...php/latest-news as well as being able to track Adam’s progress.

Continuing with the community spirit, I am sure everyone at Pride of Nottingham would like to congratulate Adam Faiers for his work so far and upcoming across this 2012/13 season.

James Constantine
THewitt44
Notts County got 2013 off to the worst possible start they could have wished for, as Milton Keynes Dons recovered from their last two home defeats to Walsall and Coventry respectively, to pick up the 3 points at Meadow Lane and cement their position in the top six in League One.

There was only one change to the starting 11 that went away to Shrewsbury Town on Boxing Day, as "Magpies" manager Keith Curle was forced to replace Jeff Hughes at left back due to the player picking up five bookings and resulting in a one match suspension.

Jeff was replaced at left back by the returning Jordan Stewart, who had just recovered from a Hamstring injury, in what was an otherwise unchanged starting line up and formation (4-4-2) The "Pies" almost got off to the best possible start, when right back Julian Kelly picked out on loan Watford striker Chris Iwelumo with an accurate diagonal pass out of defence. The experienced Scotsman headed the ball down to skipper Neal Bishop who then laid it off to Alan Judge but his resulting effort went over the bar.

Milton Keynes then took the lead on 6 minutes with a rather soft goal to concede it has to be said. A free kick on the left wing from on loan Brighton midfielder Ryan Harley was not dealt with properly by the home defence with nobody marking Darren Potter in the penalty area, who was allowed too much space to head the ball past Bartosz Bialkowski and make it 1-0 to the visitors. Terrible defending it has to be said!

The "Dons" then doubled their advantage on 13 minutes, with again, more lacklustre marking and defending it has to be said. Daniel Powell, was given too much time and space in midfield, and he was allowed to skip past centre-back Gary Liddle into the box and then prod the ball past Bialkowski into the bottom left corner of the goal to make it 2-0, and give the "Magpies" an unwanted and unnecessary mountain to climb in this early stage of the game.

It should, have been 3-0 on the 25 minute mark, when in form "Dons" striker Ryan Lowe, was found unmarked in the box after a good flick on, but his placed effort was well turned away by Bialkowski, before Dean Bowditich followed up with a shot of his own but it went well wide of the mark. As half time approached, Notts did manage to start breaking down their visitors to Meadow Lane, as Lee Hughes centred the ball for Chris Iwelumo who headed it wide from outside the six-yard box, whilst fellow loanee Andre Boucaud produced a long ranged shot that skidded past the left hand side of the post.

Jamal-Campbell Ryce, playing on the left wing, was also growing increasingly into the game in the first half, as he delivered cross after cross into the box, and he was unfortunate not to see one of them converted in, especially in added injury time, when captain Neal Bishops header looped over onto the roof of the net.
Changes were needed to be enforced by the manager Keith Curle at half time, and he didn't fail to surprise, as he took off forward Chris Iwelumo, who was playing the final game of his loan spell from Watford, and replaced him with joint top scorer Yoann Arquin.

The first effort of the second half came from Milton Keynes Dons, as centre-back Shaun Williams lead out a breakaway move from the heart of defence and following an exchange with full back Adam Chicksen, Williams fired inches wide of the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box.

On the 56 minute mark, the "Magpies" had the perfect opportunity to put themselves back into the game, when Antony Kay, sent Alan Judge tumbling inside the area. Graham Salisbury immediately pointed to the spot, and up stepped Jamal Campbell-Ryce to slot the ball past opposition keeper David Martin to make it 2-1 and give the "Pies" a chance to get something out of the game.

Second half substitute Yoann Arquin wasted a golden opportunity to make it 2-2, when Lee Hughes produced a smart pass to send the Frenchman through on the right channel. Arquin then broke into the penalty area after getting past Antony Kay, but his placed shot was saved and turned away by Dean Martin, who reacted well to sharply save down his right hand side.

Notts continued to dominate the proceedings in the second half, as the "Dons" were camped inside of their own half, and it seemed as if an equaliser would soon be on the cards for the home side. The Notts faithful thought that came to fruition when Julian Kelly surged past Adam Chicksen on the right wing, and delivered a low cross which Lee Hughes was unlucky to see his effort come back off the crossbar.

There was another substitute for the "Pies" on 78 minutes when Jamal Campbell-Ryce made way for Ivorian Francois Zoko, and the former Carlisle frontman almost made an immediate impact, when he ran from the left flank and crossed the ball into the box which found Julian Kelly, who was then able to feed Alan Judge, but the Irishman's firm effort went agonisingly over the goal. Four minutes of added time were introduced by the Fourth Official, as Manager Keith Curle brought on former Leeds United striker Enoch Showumni for Julian Kelly, as Notts County went to four up in attack with Lee Hughes, Francois Zoko, Yoann Arquin and Showumni to try and grab the equaliser. There were a few chances in this added period as Notts threw bodies forward, with Arquin going close with a headed effort, Zoko forcing a save out of Dean Martin, and Centre-back Manny Smith firing wide from close range, but it was not to be, as the "Magpies" fell victim to the Dons at Meadow Lane and saw themselves slip further down the NPower League One table to a mid table 13th position; 6 points adrift of the play offs. However, the "Pies" do have two games in hand, so there is all still to play for as we go through 2013.

My Man Of The Match: Alan Judge: Was involved in the majority of our play once again. Ran tirelessly down the wings, created chances and was unlucky not to put himself on the scoresheet.

Notts County: Bialkowski, Kelly (Showumni - 90), Liddle, Smith, J.Stewart, Campbell-Ryce (Zoko - 78), Bishop, Boucaud, Judge, L.Hughes, Iwelumo (Arquin - 46)

Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Lewington, Chicksen, Kay, Williams, Potter, Powell, Harley, Bowditch (Smith - 45), Lowe (MacKenzie - 90), Balanta (Doumbe - 65)

Attendance: 5,325 (Including 311 away supporters)

NPower League One Positions:

Notts County: P: 24, W: 9, D: 9, L: 6, Points = 36 (13th Position)
Milton Keynes Dons: P: 25, W: 12, D: 6, L: 7, Points = 42 (6th Position)

Keith Curle (Notts County Manager): “We gifted them two goals and, home or away, if you gift teams goals you’re going to find it difficult. We created some good opportunities and should have got something out of the game. The performance in the second half showed what we’re about and we’ve got to start games at Meadow Lane like that. I’m as frustrated as anyone and I know that the owners are very frustrated because it does affect us. We just needed that little bit of luck, that little break that you need in the box, but the ball just wasn’t quite falling right for us – but, it will do.”

Final Word: I'm rather annoyed at that performance by the team. The two goals we conceded are really soft and could have been so easily avoided had we marked the opposition better and stuck ourselves in more with "meaty" tackles. Win the ball back! & keep the ball on the ground instead of hoofing it in the air! Theres no point in long balls unless we know its going to reach the desired destination. Chris Iwelumo, will be going back to Watford today and even though he has been good in regards to heading the ball down and bringing others into play, I cant see him coming back to the club. I really hope we utilise Enoch Showumni at some point soon! He's a decent striker, who can run, control the ball and head it down, as well as bring others into play. If he can recapture the form he had for both Leeds United and Tranmere Rovers, then we will have a fine player on our hands, so Keith? Please start him at some point along side Yoann Arquin up front.

Overall, we did pick ourselves up in the 2nd half and played a little bit better but I just felt we weren't good enough that afternoon and we deserved to be defeated. After looking at the League table, 13th and 6 points from the play offs in 6th, its not ideal, but we can get back into the top six, especially with our two games in hand, so it is thoroughly achievable!

I really hope we sign a new striker to replace Chris Iwelumo, as well as sign up Andre Boucaud on a permanent deal from Luton Town, Also, I hope Keith Curle will attempt to sign some young, new defenders in January, but I can dream cant I?

Finally, I hope we do all we can to keep a hold of Alan Judge in the January transfer window. If a Championship club comes in offering some ridiculous amount, then fair enough, cash in on him and buy a suitable replacement, but we cant afford to lose him, especially in January and the rest of the season to go, so I prey that the board do all they can to keep Judgey at the club, and whilst they're at it, offer him a new contract! Cheers..

Well, that's it from me this week. I'll be back next weekend with some more reaction from our away League game to Portsmouth.

Keep the faith! & Come On You Pies!
Thomas Hewitt
THewitt44
A share of the points was the final outcome between these two teams, as Shrewsbury and Notts County drew 2-2 in a very entertaining and pulsating Boxing Day encounter at the Greenhous Meadow Stadium in Shropshire. Goals scored by L.Rodgers (19min - Shrewsbury), L.Hughes (24min - Notts Co), J.Campbell-Ryce (45min - Notts Co) and B.Bialkowski (81min, o.g - Shrewsbury). The Match Official Referee: Stephen Martin.

There were 2 major surprises in the starting 11 for the Magpies, as manager Keith Curle recalled talisman forward Lee Hughes, who was originally ruled out until the New Year due to a virus but recovered earlier than expected to partner Scottish veteran Chris Iwelumo in attack, and former Walsall centre back Manny Smith, who made his first appearance in a Notts shirt after fully recovering from his unfortunate knee injury during the Capital One Cup defeat to Bradford City back in August. There was also a surprise to the formation that Keith Curle opted to employ, as he choose to utilise a traditional 4-4-2 instead of the 4-5-1 formation that Curle had used in every game he's managed during 2012.

Notts started the game well and seemed like they would adjust to the new formation with relative ease, with Jamaican winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce and the "Irish Messi" Alan Judge causing problems down both flanks and putting in some dangerous crosses, but it was Shrewsbury who took the lead against the run of play on 19 minutes, when the Magpie defence failed to deal with a Darren Jones free kick that was put into the box, and Shrews striker Marvin Morgan was able to knock the ball down into the path of former Notts County striker Luke Rodgers, who made no mistake to lift the ball over Bartosz Bialkowski and into the back of the net.

Their lead, however, only lasted five minutes, as Magpie favourite Lee Hughes marked his return from illness with a typical poachers goal on 24 minutes after a good corner from Alan Judge.

The game began to open up after Hughes' equaliser and both sides had their chances to go ahead in the first half, with Judgey going close with a 25 yard strike that Shrewsbury goalkeeper Chris Weale, did well to save, and at the opposing end, Andrew Wildig headed wide after a good cross by midfielder Paul Parry.

It was Notts County who would take the lead on the stroke of half time, as Alan Judge went on a mesmerising run inside his own half, all the way into the Shrewsbury penalty box after good work by Jeff Hughes to regain position. The "Irish Messi" hit a low shot that was impressively saved by opposing keeper Chris Weale, but Jamal-Campbell Ryce was there to tap home the rebound and score his fifth goal of the season, to send the Magpies 2-1 up at half time.

The game was still very much end to end in the second half, much like in the first, with both teams having great opportunities to score. Jamal Campbell Ryce, narrowly went wide with a low drive from outside the penalty area, and Shrewsbury defender Neil Taylor, almost forcing an own goal after racing onto a long ball, but Bialkowski did well to punch the ball clear. Alan Judge again forced former Leicester City goalkeeper Chris Weale into making an exceptional save to keep out his goal bound free kick that was destined for the top left hand corner.

Shrewsbury pushed further forward in the closing stages of the match, and they were rewarded with a flukey equaliser on 81, when Neil Taylor's cross took an unfortunate deflection off of Jeff Hughes and the ball looped off Bartosz Bialkowski and into the far corner of the net to make it 2-2.

Notts had a strong penalty shout dismissed during the four added minutes of stoppage time, but it was not to be, as the Magpies bounced back from two straight disappointing home defeats to earn a hard earned point in Shropshire and extend the amazing undefeated streak away from Meadow Lane to 22 games.

The Magpies will now have that away run severely tested when they travel to the Lamex Stadium to face promotion rivals Stevenage on Saturday 29th of December. Notts will be looking for revenge after the 2-1 loss at Meadow Lane, earlier in October

My Man of the Match: Alan Judge - Tireless running yet again by the tricky midfielder. Caused problems for the Shrewsbury defence, created numerous chances throughout the match, and was unlucky not to score.

Shrewsbury: Weale, Grandison, Jones, Goldson, Gayle, Richards, Taylor, Parry (Purdig - 68), Wildig (Hall - 68), Morgan Rodgers (Bradshaw - 72)

Subs: Anyon, Jacobson, Purdle, Hall, Woods, Gwilliams, Bradshaw

Notts County: Bialkowski, Kelly, Liddle, Smith, J.Hughes, Bishop, Judge, Campbell-Ryce (Labadie - 90), Boucaud, L.Hughes (Showumni - 71), Iwelumo (Arquin - 71)

Subs: Speiss, Mahon, Labadie, Bencherif, Showumni, Zoko, Arquin

Attendance: 6,474 (603 Notts County fans)

NPower League One Positions:

Shrewsbury: 19th; P: 24, W: 5, D: 9, L: 10 - 24 points
Notts County: 10th; P: 23, W: 9, D: 9, L: 5 - 36 points

Keith Curle (Notts County Manager): “We went back to basics and tried to make it as simple as possible for the players. The players needed to be brave and they needed to make decisions, and I thought the performance levels were excellent. You get that bit of luck but I’m a believer that at the right time we will get the luck that we deserve.”

Final Word: "Disappointed that we've dropped two points. With all due respect to Shrewsbury, we should be beating teams of that calibre if were serious about promotion this season! Surprised about Curle employing the 4-4-2 formation. It did seem to work but I hope Curle reverts back to his usual favourite 4-5-1. Great to see Hughesy back up front, and scoring goals! He needs to stay in January in my opinion because we need the added competition in attack. Also, welcome back Manny Smith. I thought he put in a solid performance in the heart of defence along side "Mr Consistent" Gary Liddle, though I felt we missed Dean Leacock, Manny did well. Pleased were now 22 games undefeated away from home, but we need to start turning the draws into wins so we can keep up with the top six. Bring on Stevenage! Revenge, number 23 unbeaten away and 3 points would be huge and very satisfying, especially with forthcoming fixtures against play off rivals MK Dons & Portsmouth coming in the New Year, these points are so vital at this stage!

"Come On You Pies!!"
Thomas Hewitt
Chris
The Millers left Meadow Lane having fully deserved their victory, which instils a bitter taste in the mouths of many. The game as such was lively, especially in the second half which saw Notts try to attempt to fight back, unfortunately it was far too late. Saturday is now a chance for the team to put this and the previous home results to bed, concentrating on the promotion fight ahead. Despite the performance, the focus now will be very much on the league.

All three goals came in the first half, with simple errors leading to the goals. The first was a wonderful strike from Ben Pringle, who punished us in our previous meeting but in truth the goal should have been prevented. The marking was very loose, allowing them to play in such a style that really dominated the match early on. The second goal, again was down to a lack in defence, although a simple nod onto Mark Bradley allowed him to shoot the ball into our net from a very inviting corner (which arguably should have been cleared).

Notts had brief spells which saw us play our passing football, which wasn't always the best it as been. The odd miss timed pass, missing link in the play and lack of final finishing really had it's impact on the game. Frustration appeared to be getting the better of the players, as each time a chance came to us it seemed to only end up being wasted.

The game became even more difficult when Damon Stewart lashed out with his elbow at Alex Revell who had been making a habit of making the most of incidents all evening. It was clearly a bookable offence, most probably deserving the colour red.

The third goal was dubious (possible bad call from the assistant referee “linesman”) who appeared to flag for offside only to buckle, allowing play to continue. A simple pass towards an open net saw Daniel Nardiello tap in a easy finish.

By this point it was clear that unless changes were made, this would be an even more depressing evening as no signs early on gave me the feeling we would be capable of fighting back. It was around the third goal when noises increasingly started to echo out and it was clear by the comments of fans, that Notts would have a uphill battle, with not only the game.

The second half showed signs of what Notts are capable off, having gone down to 10 men. No further goals were conceded and for the most part, Notts attacked with open football. The direction of which didn't have any final product, although it was much better to see. We piled pressure onto Rotherham, although no clear chances arose. Jamel Campbell-Ryce tried his best throughout the game, his dedicated play and availability really impressed me. Alan Judge had a very quiet game, though tried his best to create play. The substitutes allowed us to take back the hold of the game but Notts were unable to make it count.

No doubt a debut to forget for Liam Mitchell, who was probably one of Keith Curles tactical mistakes. No fault is aimed in his direction, although I felt it wasn't the best time to give the lad the nod to play. I hope he doesn't take the games negativity on board, as it's always nice to see our youngsters break through although personally I would of given Kevin Pilkington the nod instead.
Chris

What's in the rumours!?!

By Chris, in News,

It was early on handing out flyers ahead of the Brentford game on Saturday that I originally heard the rumours surrounding Lee Hughes. I had approached a supporter, who at first seemed interested until he noticed the artwork in the centre of the flyer. He responded by asking if I had heard the 'news' giving no indication as to what he meant. He added 'He's leaving anyway, good riddance if you ask me', I couldn't help but feel disappointed.

Not long after, I overheard a group of fans talking about the circulating rumours. I asked one of them what the news was surrounding Lee Hughes and one of the fans replied 'It's been on the radio, He's handed in a sick note. He'll be gone in January.

I focused on giving out the flyers but it seemed to be getting quite some attention, as I noticed many fans debating it.

During the warm ups, I briefly scanned through themag and noticed Yoann Arquin wasn't listed among the substitutes but I thought nothing of it. (I'm still not sure what to make of it) It seems odd that he would go to get a 'refreshment', especially with the timing but I recall the Jon Harley moment the previous season. It can't be all that weird, surely?

It was after the match the rumours, at least for me appeared to be getting more momentum. I noticed many comments online, around various streams, giving the feeling that fans we're mixed regarding the rumours and only a few appeared to be indecisive of what to think. Now the media are picking up on the story, which is probably going to escalate the matter. The evening post online mentions '"I will be speaking to Lee and we will see where we go from there. As soon as we can get him back available and back into the club the better," was all he would say when quizzed on the matter by the Post.” which would now suggest that Curle was in denial at first.

Either way I look at it, Lee is one of our players and if the rumours are true the club really need to address any possible situation. It would be a shame for him to end his career in doubt, especially considering he's a cult figure at the club.
UniPie
After Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Brentford, the boo’s that immediately followed from around the ground after the final whistle were noticeably loud. Having seemingly copied the same script from when they last played Rotherham; Notts dominated with slick passing football, and definitely deserved their first goal. However, it was unsurprising that Notts capitulated again after only 30 minutes and parked the bus only for it to be driven away by a committed Brentford, worthy winners of all 3 points.

What was most worrying about the loss to Brentford was the sluggish, almost disillusioned body language that came across from the Notts players. The lack of marking, lack of creativity and most importantly a lack of a goal threat after the half hour mark saw the worst Notts performance in League One all season. But what is going wrong? This article attempts to factor in the numerous issues that seem to be surrounding Notts at the moment. Many fans have a number of concerns and we hope to come to a conclusion about why, after a fantastic start to the season, Notts are beginning to drift into a worrying slump.

One of the most mysterious issues surrounding the club at present is the Lee Hughes saga. The news broken by Colin Slater pre-match on BBC Radio Nottingham stating that Hughes had provided a sick note ruling himself out till January raised many eyebrows. Keith Curle’s defensive demeanour in his post-match interview suggests that something is not quite right behind the scenes, including reports of Yoann Arquin leaving the ground during the match. Of course the facts of both these situations are unclear, it is unlikely we will find out exactly what is happening at Meadow Lane for some time, but nevertheless it does appear to be unsettling for both fans and players. What makes the situation even harder is that these two players have goals within them, and that is something that Notts are missing right now. All we can hope for is that the Lee Hughes situation is dealt with swiftly whether he stays or not, and that Arquin is back in the squad as soon as possible after apparently enduring an injury.

On the topic of players, the general consensus would agree that Notts do have very capable players. Notts have a completely different squad to the one that saw them run so close to the play offs towards the latter half of last season. Curle’s signings of Leacock, Liddle, Bialkowski and Boucaud have all been extremely consistent adding a much needed backbone to the Notts squad. The likes of Arquin, Zoko and Campbell-Ryce look to have real potential but have unfortunately been inconsistent and absent from games throughout the season. At times, the whole squad has blended very well and produced footballing master classes that have seen us put in some spectacular football and dominate whole matches. But with one win in the last seven, Notts have not looked anywhere near the mark of previous matches. There is less confidence, less structure and Notts’ played frustratingly slow backwards football against Brentford which ultimately turned into a long ball game, extremely “predictable” as Curle called it post-match. An over-reliance on Alan Judge may be turning our game into a one dimensional system, Notts certainly lacked a killer instinct yesterday and with only Iwelumo and Showunmi available upfront, both took it in turns (unsuccessfully) to be fed decent balls for which neither received.

So whilst holding a very strong squad, but suffering from a lack of a big goal threat, what is ultimately leading to poor results and very poor performances? Our discussion has ultimately led to Keith Curle. As we have already established the players have the ability and so it is up to Curle to be addressing our problems. It seems clear that fans agree that the passing game we have adopted is the right path to be pursuing. However most are ultimately displeased with the painful lack of threat that is present when Notts do obtain possession. Whenever Notts score, they drop further and further back, and with better finishing, Notts may have been demolished by Rotherham, Brentford and possibly even Yeovil. So Notts require something a bit different, something to change and it is down to Curle to provide that motivation and the impetus to improve. It was pleasing to hear his displeasure with our second half performance, stating that Notts did not play his ‘style’ of football and that much is certainly true.

Calls for Curle’s head are shocking, and totally misguided. The brand of football, the philosophy that Notts are pursuing is the best for over a decade and Curle has clearly an eye for talent with the players he has brought in and built upon this season. Bishop has already scored five goals this season and demonstrates the easily unnoticeable work by himself and his backroom team to change aspects of player’s games and improve Notts as a team. Curle needs our backing and with a tough Christmas period ahead, Notts need to attract more people down to the Lane by addressing our home results. Only 4,700 home fans attended yesterday’s game and although it is the run-up to Christmas, it remains slightly worrying. The real test for Notts will come in January; holding onto Judge is vital as is addressing Notts’ lack of goal prowess upfront and potentially a lack of width and a natural left-sided winger. Jeff Hughes who used to fulfil this role has taken an ever more central role under Curle.

Therefore, all should not panic. It is a bad spell, a slump and providing Notts can stem the rotten form, we will be fine. Notts are far from firing on all cylinders this season and providing they can maintain touching distance with the top of the table, Notts will continue to remain in a strong position, they are of course only 6 points from top spot. It is my opinion that whoever remains in touch with the top of League One and finishes the season strongest will win the league. So do an unnatural Notts thing and relax, read ‘The Mag’ and look forward to a hopefully active Notts in the January transfer market and let us get behind our lads.
Chris

Iwelumo eyes permanent deal

By Chris, in News,

On loan Striker Chris Iwelumo is making his desire known about wanting to join Notts County on a permanent basis. He's spent the majority of his career playing above the 3rd tier of English football and would certainly add depth to our team, with his previous time at Colchester United being a prime example of what he brings to any team.

Despite finding it hard to establish himself in Gianfranco Zola's starting eleven, Iwelumo has been received fairly well by our supporters and this appears to be one of his reasons behind wanting to make the move permanent.

At 34 this might not be the signing for every fan but if Chris Iwelumo finds his feet early on, while the desire is fresh, this may become a very positive experience for the club. If the basis was to be on a short term deal, this would be even more beneficial with the extra clause of a possible extension earned on his performance similar to the deal originally offered to Gavin Mahon.

When interviewed by Nottingham Evening Post, Iwelumo responded "I would make the move permanent tomorrow." adding, "I'm happy here, there's a great bunch of lads, the gaffer is quality and the training facilities are a different class – I can't ask for any more. It makes a big difference being so close to home as well.”
Chris

Welcome to Pride of Nottingham

By Chris, in News,

Welcome to Pride of Nottingham,

We're a Fan Site dedicated to Notts County FC, It's our goal to bring a competitive friendly fan site which focuses on key features to the members of our community.

It's early days, although with support we can provide somewhere for fans to be truly proud of. I'd like to urge anyone who agrees/likes our sites message to get behind the community and help out by doing whatever they can. This may be helping promote the site, posting or offering to help by joining our team. If you are interested in writing content for us please contact me.

The site provides many features for fans to interact, the blog and gallery system will hopefully play a major role in our site as we would like to share life as a Notts County fan. These can be used to interact with us and the community by sharing special moments and we hope to attract match day bloggers and fans who also like to share pictures of match days. Our site is integrated with Facebook, with an easy one click registration which just requires you to fill in minimal information compared to our full registration form. All our skins are mobile friendly, although we have a special lite featured one especially created for mobiles and tablets.

Each month from this point on we will be running a member of the month competition which is aimed at praising the dedication of the members. We will also be running many different aspects and from time to time, you find us running fun competitions. Please keep tuned for our announcement regarding a raffle and a prize give-away.

Enjoy visiting us here at PoN (UNCFS).

About PON

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest league 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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