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George
George

Adjusting to life in the National League

Notts fans will have to accept less attractive away days throughout the season (a friend of mine currently living in Birmingham has already suggested Solihull Moors).

The grounds and facilities will generally be incomparable to that of Meadow Lane’s and Notts fans could bring a home atmosphere to some grounds with a good away following as clubs such as Boreham Wood failed to even average a thousand fans in attendance last season.

The only other clubs which debatably have fanbases appropriate for league football are Stockport County, Chesterfield and Wrexham.

In addition to this, we can expect to see a notable drop in the quality of football being played with physicality being of more importance.

With the HMRC court case looming on the 5th of June and the South African Consortium still in the process of attempting to take over Notts County Football Club (at the time of writing) it is difficult to predict Notts’ near future. However, we can look at what can be done to help insure success.

It would seem pointless for us to look ahead to the future without acknowledging the causes of Notts’ demise. Looking at the squad which disappointed last season there are areas where improvement is evidently necessary.

The defence was where Notts seemed to struggle most of all throughout the duration of last season with fullbacks being a continuous problem in the squad. A lack of squad depth was evident with Matt Tootle being unavailable for many games and there being a lack of options to replace him, especially before the versatile Mitch Rose arrived in January who was able to cover the RB spot (although he is better utilised in midfield). Although Declan Dunn remains an option Notts are currently lacking any sort of experienced LB going into next season with Milsom, Jones and Evina all leaving.

As Sir Alex Ferguson believes though, it is important to have a strong centre in any team. This for Notts starts with the promising Pierce Bird who impressed with his performances towards the end of last season. It would seem appropriate to have an experienced CB alongside Bird to form an effective partnership. I remember that performances from CBs like Haydn Hollis in recent years gone by were always significantly better when Mike Edwards played alongside them. With the loss of Duffy, Notts should search for a veteran CB over the summer.

Losing Jim O’Brien is another big blow although the Scotsman did hint at possibly signing a new contract next season if Neal Ardley does remain as manager. His leadership and tenacity in the middle of the park was unrivalled following his arrival to Meadow Lane in January. It is vital to secure the signing of another hardened midfield ball winner if O’Brien does not return, especially considering the more physical style of football often played in the conference.

The departure of Jon Stead will also leave a hole in Notts County’s attack as Kane Hemmings was provided with numerous chances throughout last season by his experienced strike partner. I am confident Hemmings will continue to score in the conference next season given his impressive tally of fourteen goals by the end of the 2018/19 League campaign with Notts despite the club finishing 23rd in the league. His work-ethic is one of his less desirable qualities though and he would benefit from a fellow forward to take the brunt of the physical battles and create opportunities for him.

Overall, the squad needs an addition of physical and experienced players to adapt to life in the Conference.

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Kane Hemmings did well considering we pushed him out wide and failed to partner him with someone, I think provided he stays scoring won't be an issue as in the National League we should have people who can chip in - I honestly feel Tom Crawford will come good and be one of those players who adds to the goal tally for the club.

There needs to be some brute force in defence, yet Notts needs to find two very good centre backs that can form a good partnership. Hoof it when needed, yet bring it down and pass with confidence when possible.

Very good write up @George.

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Jimmy Sirrel used to have leaders in each position, from the goal, centre back, midfield and up top. You win games by controlling the game at the back, so Notts must learn to be defensive minded.

As attacking would be more promising when they know the backs covered well.

Physical and hardworking is the way.

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Notts will have to adjust quickly and fast to ensure the wood stops rotting, fans will be key. Provided they don't give up the fight and become all mardy on social media.

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