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TheSkipper

Time for Notts County to give fringe players a chance?

With Notts County piling up with fixtures back in December, the club managed to pick up 10 points from a possible 12; it highlights how beneficial mixing up what was becoming a stale squad can be.

The previous month as we all know, Notts struggled to pick up points and fans including our very own Chris and ARLukomski called for the introduction of fringe players.

Tom Crawford who hadn't appeared for Notts since the away defeat in 2018/19 to Mansfield, has managed to be called upon and despite being relatively quiet in the Solihull Moors game, he hasn't had a lot of football so a few quiet performances can be excused in my opinion.

Additionally, Notts County Academy product Sam Osborne has made a return to featuring and did excellently in the FA Trophy game against Chesterfield, backing it up with another impressive performance against Maidenhead United where he scored his home debut at Meadow Lane.

As the run of fixtures came in thick and fast, the club needed to adapt and allow for critical players to rest in favour of someone else desperate to get match minutes.

I don’t feel any individual players are guaranteed to start, as this is part of the issue, when some regularly perform at a subpar standard.

Alex Lacey who had to wait for Ben Turner to pick up an injury to start has been a shining example at the back, and he has grown already within the role, partnering Connell Rawlinson very well.

With the return of Dion Kelly-Evans who offers a lot of pace, his effort to get involved has been an enormous relief to see on the pitch.

I wonder, why Neal Ardley waited so long to introduce some fresh players to mix things up.

One possibility I have already touched upon, that being the frequencies of how often Notts had to play but, it makes you question could earlier results have been different if it was sooner?

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December changed the mood in the supporters, reawakening fans and a real belief that the club can go up has been re-inserted into the minds of many.

No question this will take a lot of work, with the return to action in 2020 only seeing a draw but that is a good enough start in my eyes, Notts won't cruise past any team in the National League comfortably.

The fans need to have a level of optimism, pride and a noticeable amount of fight from the squad.

December has proven that Neal Ardley can make successful changes, changes which need not be forced but implement as a way to keep legs fresh.

January will rely on much of the same approach, with players who can be saved for the crucial odd appearance rather than playing each game and becoming jaded.

If we allow Ben Turner to rest appropriately, perhaps he will be able to come back stronger? I think it would be harsh on Alex Lacey to be dropped, and I believe Connell Rawlinson has been superb in recent games.

With the addition of the latest capture, which seems to be a real coup for Notts. I would like to see Cal Roberts take up the opposite side of the pitch allowing Sam Osborne to remain in the first team, development-wise Ozzy won't always be a standout player but provided he's learning. It will only benefit the club further.

With the Football League's transfer now almost at a close, I don’t expect Notts to sign any more players, especially with Jim O’Brien close to making a return since his injury in December.

I believe the squad has players who can fill in the gap, as Pierce Bird played well against AFC Mansfield in the Notts Senior Cup match, which saw Jim O’Brien return to action.

It's for this reason, why it would be disappointing to see fringe players, not utilised more.

We have more than capable players at the club who can partake in creating something unique, who are earning a wage but until recently have found themselves often overlooked. Insert a little faith; let's hope they can make a positive difference when called upon.

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I think one more signing will be made, with Tyson going out but I agree 100% that we should use the players we have at our disposal.

Young players shouldn't be judged the same as experienced ones.

Why are some quick to defend Enzio but harsh on Ozzy for the odd mistake? I would rather support potential, over inadequate performances. Get everyone fighting to perform well, replace those by giving others a chance. It could be that some are just tired and are in need of rest.

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Only changes I would make right now, are to Rose and Enzio.

I think the starting lineup only really needs to tweaked here and there, it's a fair point that we did better with a few changes. The fixtures really forced that, however, Ardley should try to solve some of the issues about game time. He's done right by shipping some out on loan but if we are to improve further, you can't play tired bodies, you can't persist out-of-form players are good enough to start ahead of hard workers.

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Valid thoughts I feel, but I don’t see Ardley changing much. I don’t even see Enzio getting dropped, if he does, then it’s going to be for one match. Then Ozzy will be straight out.

Rose might end up on the bench.

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