So after the diversions of the FA Cup (a 4-2 win over Bristol Rovers) and the EFL Trophy (a 2-1 defeat at Lincoln City), Notts County get back to the main task of league football.
The Magpies proudly sit atop League Two and will be hoping to maintain their spot at the summit on Saturday when they take on Stevenage away.
Chris has written up a scouting report for the game and discusses how Notts should line up and approach their opponents at Broadhall Way.
Notts County and Stevenage have only ever met 11 times, the first meeting coming on 17 September 2011 at Broadhall Way (known as the Lamex Stadium) - the result on that day was 2-0 to the Magpies.
Our last meeting was on 4 March last season, and it proved a humbling day as Stevenage claimed a 3-0 win at Broadhall Way.
Our head-to-head record is five wins for Notts, five for Stevenage, and one draw. On a knife's edge then.
Run-down of their last six features
Saturday 30th September – Stevenage 2 Port Vale 0
Saturday 7th October – Crewe Alexandra 1 Stevenage 0
Saturday 14th October – Luton Town 7 Stevenage 1
Tuesday 17th October – Stevenage 3 Accrington Stanley 2
Saturday 21st October – Stevenage 1 Forest Green Rovers 2
Saturday 28th October – Yeovil Town 3 Stevenage 0
The Players – Fact Sheet
Highest Goal Scorers: Matt Godden 8, Danny Newton 6, Jonathan Smith 4 and Ben Kennedy 4.
Persistent Foulers: Jonathan Smith 5 yellow cards, Dale Gorman 3 yellow cards and 1 red card, Luke Wilkinson 2 yellow cards and 1 red card and Joe Martin 2 yellow cards.
The Key Players
Matt Godden is a very confident striker at this level, he enjoys working off the opposition defence and has the ability to find time within key areas due to his exceptions understanding of the game. His ability to read the game is what makes him stand out along with his natural shooting ability.
His strike partner Danny Newton is also a threat due to his knack of shooting from distance. He’s more of a standard player, yet his non-league days have aided his work-rate as he is a very hard worker both on and off the ball.
Joe Martin and Thomas Pett provide the creativity within midfield, they have goals within themselves but also are key to Stevenage’s attacks.
Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses
Stevenage build using simple passing which allows them to build whilst having options to pack out in order to cause difficulty in terms of defending from an opposition point of view.
They play the ball quite well on the ground when allowed, however they can revert to route-one football and look a very capable side within the same process.
Attacking-wise they have a real time spirit, which allows them to have a good understanding on how best to use the ball.
On the ball their organisation is quite good, but when pressured at the back, the defence tends to create their own problems.
At the back they are a very physical team which can draw fouls, however they allow their midfield to be the creative side and as such defensively they are quite reliable.
I do feel that drawing free-kicks from their defenders will be a way whereby Notts can get the ball into effective areas, whilst any player confident to have a go at goal will surely have them being mindful.
Notts simply have to play the ball on the ground, move within space and just overload their back line with our pace and aerial ability.
Hoofing the ball will only play into their hands, which will allow them to dictate the tempo and take hold of the game – so we must be confident within possession and understand that they will get wary when pressure is asserted onto them from a defensive point of view.
Playing with an attacking mind will take the edge of the game and allow it to open up, so let’s hope that players such as Jorge Grant, Shola Ameobi and Matt Tootle can find the space to influence the game.
Edited by Joe Jones