We're 19 games into the season and top spot in League Two keeps changing hands more often than a game of "pass the parcel".
Notts County were top of the table until Tuesday night, when a 1-1 draw at Yeovil Town saw Luton Town return to the top on goal difference.
But this weekend we go again and the team standing between the Magpies and three points is Colchester United, who currently sit in a very healthy ninth place in the standings.
How should Notts line up against the U's? What's their style of play and how can we counter it in order to be most effective and clinch victory? PON's Chris aims to answer these questions in this Scouting Report.
Notts County have met Colchester United 43 times over the years, all league encounters except for one Sherpa Vans Trophy tie in 1988.
The Magpies are in front when it comes to head-to-head, having won 21 games to Colchester's 15, with seven draws.
The first fixture between Notts and Colchester took place on 23 February 1959 at Layer Road, a Division Three clash which finished 4-1 to the U's.
The last fixture was last season on 1 April, the Magpies winning 3-1 at Meadow Lane.
All league encounters between the two have never taken place higher than the third tier.
Run-down of their last six features
Tuesday 17th October – Newport County 1 Colchester United 2
Saturday 21st October – Coventry City 0 Colchester United 0
Saturday 28th October – Colchester United 3 Crewe Alexandra 1
Saturday 11th November – Barnet 0 Colchester United 1
Saturday 18th November – Colchester United 0 Morecombe 0
Tuesday 21st November – Colchester United 1 Lincoln City 0
The Players – Fact Sheet
Highest Goal Scorers: Sammie Szmodics 7, Mikael Mandron 6, Kyel Reid 3 and Ryan Jackson 2.
Persistent Foulers: Tom Lapslie 6 yellow cards and 1 red card, Mikael Mandron 4 yellow cards and 1 red card, Lewis Kinsella 4 yellow cards and Doug Loft 4 yellow cards.
The Key Players
Mikael Mandron is a versatile player, who can play out wide or up front. He’s a player that Notts will have to mark wisely, as he will cause some trouble if allowed to find space.
In an attacking midfield position Sammie Szmodics is capable of lashing a shot towards goal from distance; he’s also a threat during set pieces and from corner kicks.
Lastly at the back Tom Eastman tends to lead the line and offers something to both Colchester United going forward and protecting the back.
Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses
Colchester United like to get the ball out wide where they have pace, whilst showing determination to take on the opposition with direct runs.
They also tend to knock it back into the centre of the park where again they like to run in order to create chances and find space.
They can carefully craft chances whilst not being afraid to be patient within their build up play.
The majority of chances fall just outside the opposition area where they aren’t afraid to have a pop at goal – which will be a test for Notts to ensure they close them down early as possible.
Tactically they build in the right way, showing a nice mixture of styles and methods in order to create organic chances.
However, they’re prone to wasting chances but nonetheless they’re a team to be wary of.
At the back they are quite solid and well organised, teams find it hard to gain space – whilst breaking them down isn’t easy at all.
They hide their weaknesses well, which teams often explore during the half way period on how to exactly attack them – this will be a good test for the creative players within the Magpies’ ranks and the centre pairing within midfield will need to be knocking on Colchester’s door in terms of causing them problems.
I can’t see many one-on-ones being created, so Notts may be force into drawing fouls for free kicks or taking shots themselves from distance.
Edited by Joe Jones