Notts County return to League Two action on Saturday with a trip to Barnet, who sit bottom of the table.
Although the Magpies were superb last time out in the league, winning 4-1 against Crewe, they will be eager to put the 8-1 loss to Swansea City in the FA Cup behind them while also seeking to get back into the automatic promotion places.
Pride of Nottingham's latest Scouting Report provides a thorough analysis of the opposition.
Head to head
Notts have met Barnet just 18 times in competitive fixtures.
The record stands at 10 Notts wins, 5 defeats, and 3 draws.
Our last five fixtures have yielded 3 wins - including the last 2 - and 2 losses.
Run-down of their last six fixtures
Saturday 30th December – Exeter City 2 Barnet 1
Monday 1st January – Barnet 1 Swindon Town 2
Saturday 13th January – Crawley Town 2 Barnet 0
Saturday 20th January – Barnet 1 Lincoln City 1
Saturday 27th January – Cheltenham Town 1 Barnet 1
Saturday 3rd February – Mansfield Town 3 Barnet 1
The Players – Fact Sheet
Highest Goal Scorers; Shaquile Coulthirst 10, Simeon Akinola 5, John Akinde 4 and Jamal Campbell-Ryce 4.
Persistent Foulers; Jack Taylor 4 yellow cards and 1 red card, David Tutonda 6 yellow cards, Michael Nelson 4 yellow cards and Andre Blackman 2 yellow cards and 1 red card.
The Key Players
The Glovers Bees goalscorer Shaquile Coulthirst is a player that poses a real threat to the Notts back-four, his ability to play off the defenders shoulder – whilst maximising his pace is a real concern as he could prove very difficult to handle.
In midfield, Ryan Watson is also someone who contributes to Barnets attacking ability – as his eye for a pass can be something which splits the defence and, going forward he likes to get in on the action with the strikers.
Ricardo Santos at the back is someone who should be very switched on and, his simple play can be quite misleading – however the magpies’ may struggle to get the better of him due to his awareness at the back.
Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses
Barnet have taken a massive downward fall in recent seasons, however on their day they’re not a bad League Two outfit.
They have plenty of ability across the field, with some very capable and quick players at their disposal.
However, their issue greatly falls under a lack of confidence and belief within their own play.
Good sides tend to punish them for their defensive relapses, yet they can score goals themselves – which isn’t something Kevin Nolan’s men should neglect to remember on the day.
Performance wise, they struggle to get into games – they can have a lot of possession but fail to make use of it.
Whilst they do appear decent going forward, the confidence is a massive sign when you see what they often do with the ball in the final third – often making use of scrappy play or a wonder goal to score.
Defensively, they’re very poor and this is their biggest issue on the field.
Nobody seems responsible to marking and, although Ricardo Santos does very well to bridge in this major lack of concentration – they aren’t exactly helping themselves.
They seem a squad that’s instructed to go out and earn a point, nothing more – so they often fail to ask questions of their oppositions defence despite doing well in games.
Tactically for Notts, they need to avoid being deep and inviting the Bees to attack.
After the Swansea game our midfield needs to take hold of the game as early as possible and get a real feel for how the game may pan out.
I fully expect Barnet to make some rash challenges, so the players will need to show no fear with silly challenges in an attempt not to be bullied when on the ball.
The flanks will be a key area on the pitch for Notts and, the use of Mason Bennetts pace up top might allow for floating passing from distance to allow changes to be created in and behind the Barnet’s back four.
Notts just have to be direct, build carefully and avoid rushing passes.
Chances will naturally come with Notts push and use what pace we have at our disposal but it’s of great importance that we don’t leave ourselves exposed at the back or invite Barnet to play.
This will require a good performance from Notts and each player must support both attacking and defensive play.
Edited by Joe Jones