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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: How does current Notts County squad compare to classes of 2009-10 and 1997/98 so far?

We're 22 games into the League Two season and things are looking very rosy indeed for Notts, with 43 points gained so far in the campaign.

On Facebook, Richard Thompson wrote a post on the Pride of Nottingham wall after the 21st game, comparing the tally of this season with that of the other two promotion campaigns in recent history, in 1997/98 and 2009/10.

Having adjusted the statistics to include game number 22, Notts had 37 points in 09/10, and 41 in 97/98. And in both these seasons, the Magpies finished top of the pile.

It's worth mentioning that in both the previous League Two/Division Three promotion campaigns, Notts enjoyed a strong second half to the season.

In 09/10, the Magpies picked up 56 points from the remaining 24 games to finish on 93 points, and in 97/98, they finished with 99 points, so they picked up an additional 58 points.

Heading into the halfway point of the season, Kevin Nolan's boys are better placed than their promotion-winning predecessors were after the same amount of games, but it's absolutely crucial that standards remain high in the second half of the campaign.

Obviously the prospect of a title or promotion hunt is always going to be relative to the teams around Notts.

After 22 games of the 09-10 campaign, the Pies were fourth in the standings, 14 points behind then-leaders Rochdale, while in 97-98, the heavy win over Doncaster Rovers put Notts back on top. This year, at the 22-game mark Notts are second.

Luton Town, who top the current standings have outlined their credentials as the strongest team in the division and, below Notts, things are relatively even among all the other teams, with just 12 points separating third-placed Exeter City from 16th-placed Stevenage.

The January window will be interesting to see - how will Notts strengthen their ranks so as to improve the squad without unsettling the current crop, and how will the other promotion and playoff contenders recruit in the New Year?

It's been a superb 2017-18 campaign so far and, if any manager is going to ensure that standards don't slip, it's Nolan.

So Notts... it's over to you!

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