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Lewis Thompson: Notts County veterans will be key to survival

Of all the players Notts County have within their squad, it’s often the youngsters who are referred to as being the key in order to survive the drop from League Two.

In January, the club reinforced itself with the arrivals of Jorge Grant, Marc Bola, Josh Clackstone and Tahvon Campbell. However, it was the arrival of experienced veteran striker Shola Ameobi that captivated the fans' excitement the most.

I value the experience that players of Ameobi’s quality bring. Mark Stallard mentioned on BBC Radio Nottingham that Ameobi has the quality to help, noting that the frontman may not be in the prime of his career but if he can regain match sharpness there is no doubt just how significant his arrival would be.

Having the likes of Ameobi, Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith on our books as players, individuals who have competed at the highest level and had the careers they've had, does look naturally impressive. They process the right type of knowledge, which is beneficial to a club that is lacking leaders on the pitch, especially one that is in a relegation battle.

One thing which struck me recently as I watched Notts play, we tend to be almost one-dimensional and it’s only the senior players who try to overcome this issue.

The only exception has been the return of Curtis Thompson, who is a true grafter, yet position-wise, during our own attacks, players are often unsupported and this limits the chances that can be created.

Ameobi has gotten stuck in, with another veteran player Mark Yeates currently failing to make any sort of impression for the most part of the minutes in which he has featured.

A few good dead balls doesn’t make up for much, yet even he could be a pinnacle player and if Michael O’Connor, Richard Duffy and Robert Milson continue to step up, perhaps it will only be a matter of time for Yeates?

I am unsure how much of a part the inexperienced players can play in our survival, Jordan Richards does seem to be a great young player but nowhere near first team standards.

However, I am dead certain that the veterans at the club can contribute when it truly matters. The depth looks to be the right balance for survival and I am convinced we have more than enough in order to achieve that.

It may be unpopular to suggest seeing Alan Smith, however he can make the odd cameo appearance and provide some real grit in the bulk of midfield.

Nolan at this stage must continue to identify the players that can affect and change games, critics may argue that Smith doesn’t have any future as a player.

They may argue that Yeates and Jon Stead are both past it, however Notts do look much better with them around. Survival will go down to who is the most prepared, so having a squad which is highly unpredictable, full of experience, and eagerly awaiting youngsters who can make an impact when required.

I would hope that the defence, along with Richard Duffy, continues to impress, with Thierry Audel looking all the more like a new signing for the club.

It does appear that Nolan does have the right types of headaches when it comes to his selection, with a surprising comeback against Exeter City. It does show that the players are responding to the training and are well aware of the importance these games have on the future of the club.

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"It may be unpopular to suggest seeing Alan Smith.." You bet, especially starting a match ahead of Forte.

I am extremely worried that chumminess with Smith will affect Nolan's decision making. 

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We have a good balance of experience and youth, players like Jorge Grant have a quality which stands out and I would hope he can play a major part in keeping Notts safe.

To me it looks like Nolan is doing a Derry and avoiding selecting himself.

He may decide to play the odd game once we have picked up the points needed, as his technical oversight is quite important at this stage. I certainly would like to see him but it's a luxury at this stage.

19 hours ago, Piethagoram said:

I am extremely worried that chumminess with Smith will affect Nolan's decision making. 

I don't think we have anything to worry about myself.

He's brought with him a AM that has experience working with youth, Mark Crossley is still here and he offers what else is needed. Smith and Ameobi are part players, just people who can come in when we needed. In the past I have been harsh on Alan Smith but he does a lot of unseen work on a pitch, people just seem to notice the flaws rather than the praises.

It's like when you see his name on the team sheet, 9 out 10 people will instantly say we'll lose but wouldn't the stats suggest we look better with him?

I'll leave that to @Elite_pie and Piethagoram to work out (as I am just assuming).

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7 hours ago, notts-joe said:

It's like when you see his name on the team sheet, 9 out 10 people will instantly say we'll lose but wouldn't the stats suggest we look better with him?

I'll leave that to @Elite_pie and Piethagoram to work out (as I am just assuming).

I'll pass on that one.  When the stats suggested that Alex Rodman was vital to the team I threw my calculator in the bin!

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15 hours ago, Elite_pie said:

I'll pass on that one.  When the stats suggested that Alex Rodman was vital to the team I threw my calculator in the bin!

How about your mobile? (assuming you use one). ;)

Haha..

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