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Pride of Nottingham reflections on our upcoming games against Crawley Town, Bradford City, Sheffield United, Peterborough United and Stevenage FC. Notts County’s Boxing Day defeat against Port Vale saw the Magpies’ three-game unbeaten run come to an abrupt end. As 2013 comes to a close, they need to prepare themselves wisely for some pretty big encounters to follow if they are to drag themselves out of the bottom four. After these five games, two of which see Notts face two promotion contenders, things don’t get any easier - Walsall, Preston, Coventry and Wolves.

It's now we should prepare for the great escape and try to gain advantages over the lesser teams in League One.

Crawley Town have the ability to get back into games where they've gone behind; they are a fairly average side, but could potentially threaten. Their season started quite brightly, even though a recent dip in form has seen them fall to 13th place.

Billy Clarke is their highest goal scorer with 7 strikes to his name. They’ve had three players yellow carded four times, but nobody in the squad has been red carded more than once.

In their last four games, they've picked up 4 points. The game against Preston saw them scoring twice to come back from losing positions – 2-2 was the final score. Their game against Bristol Rover (F.A Cup 2nd Round) was postponed due to weather. They then beat current league leaders Leyton Orient 3-2 away from home and lost 2-0 against the MK Dons on Boxing Day.

Bradford City, a team that Notts took the lead against back in late November, is a side with some very young talented footballers. They also started their season quite brightly, although they have now in mid-table; their form of late has seen them slip since occupying the promotion places back in October.

Nahki Wells is their highest goal scorer with 15 to his name, a great start to the season for the 23-year-old. They also contain threats from James Hanson and Kyel Reid who have scored 10 goals between them. Impressively, they haven't picked up any red cards, although Rory McArdle has picked up 5 yellows.

In their last four games they've drawn twice; 1-1 against Oldham Athletic and 1-1 against league leaders Leyton Orient. They narrowly lost against Peterborough 2-1 and to Rotherham United 1-0 on Boxing Day.

Sheffield United, a side nobody needs reminding about, has seen a disappointing 2013/2014 campaign. They’ve spent the season so far flirting with relegation, but continue to show signs that manager Nigel Clough can turn things around. The former Derby boss seems to have introduced a bit of determination to the squad after a disappointing defeat against Gillingham FC.

Their highest goal scorer, Harry Maguire, has a meagre five goals to his name this season, followed closely by Jose Baxter on four. Maguire also joins us with a joint six yellow cards, along with teammate Tony McMahon. Meanwhile, former Notts striker Fabien Brandy is their only player to be sent off.

In their last four games, Sheffield United have picked up five points. They beat Cambridge United 2-0 in the F.A Cup 2nd round, followed by winning Swindon Town 1-0 and then drawing in a goalless game against Stevenage FC. In their last game they drew 1-1 with Oldham Athletic after an early second half equaliser.

Peterborough United, who a fan deemed 'one of the best teams in Europe' earlier in the season with us, modestly contains many key players who could be playing Championship football. They haven't fallen outside of the play-offs all season and have been league leaders a number of times, until a string of four defeats in a row – a reminder it happens to the best of us.

Britt Assombalonga has scored a sensational 17 goals so far, and is Peterborough's highest goal scorer by far - Lee Tomlin, the second-highest, is on seven. Assombalonga, Michael Bostwick and Danny Swanson all have five yellow cards each, while three have each been sent off once.

In their past four games, Peterborough have picked up a total of 4 points. They beat League Two Newport County in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy Southern Semi Final 3-0. They then drew 2-2 against struggling Gillingham FC, with a late 97th minute goal coming from Assombalonga. They then beat Bradford City 2-1 and lost against Coventry City having taken the lead twice, 4-2 the final score.

Stevenage FC are a side whose misfortunes have seen them move clear of the relegation drop after beating Crawley, only to free fall back into the relegation zone. They are a below-average League One team with some very capable players, one of which Notts fans may remember.

Francois Zoko is their highest goal scorer with 10 goals, who signed on a free transfer after we decided he wasn’t up to scratch for the Magpies. Filipe Morais is a close second with 7. Michael Doughty, a player I'm going to punt will be sent off against us, currently has a total of 9 yellow cards to his name this season but surprisingly he hasn't been sent off! However, Lucas Akins and Roarie Deacon have a red card each.

In their past four games, Stevenage FC have picked up 2 points. They lost to Swindon Town in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy Southern Semi Final after an 82 minute equaliser in normal time led to a penalty shoot-out, which they lost 3-1. They then drew to Port Vale 2-2, Sheffield United 0-0 and surprisingly got thrashed by Colchester United 4-0. Perhaps a good sign? Don't get your hopes up, Zoko is no doubt going to score against us; how many times have we seen ex-players turn up to their old hunting ground and have the game of their life?

I see Notts getting six points from these five games. Realistically you could say four, but in football you never know – we might come away with much more.

My key game is against Sheffield United – they're a side I hope we can get something out of and perhaps surprise ourselves. The games against Crawley Town and Stevenage FC are the winnable ones; we cannot slip up.

Let's hope Shaun Derry can inspire our lads to start the near year off brightly, we can do this! COYP!

Edited by notts-joe

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Always positive here upthepies! I think we can create some surprises and don't forget we might see some movement in January. Reinforcements will help us, especially if they're quality signing. I still think we can come away with 6 points from 5, hopefully a few more!

Thanks for the comment.

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My key game is against Sheffield United – they're a side I hope we can get something out of and perhaps surprise ourselves. The games against Crawley Town and Stevenage FC are the winnable ones; we cannot slip up.


not only did you predict the correct score but you highlighted this, what a surprise! im looking forward to the stevenage game now, i will come on the pon match chat!

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We need to start getting something from away games as well at least coming away with a point.

Isn't it weird, last year it was our away form and this season it's the home. I have a feeling we might come out stronger if we survive and perhaps might content as a 'good' League One team. Perhaps like MK Dons who I doubt will escape any time soon!

It's good to have you back buddy.

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Pride of Nottingham

Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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