The upcoming local derby between Notts County and Mansfield Town has been labelled by magpies boss Ricardo Moniz as having “No difference between Arsenal and Spurs” and in fact mentioned “This club is also big”.
Notts County have the foundation of having impressive performances under their belt, whilst Mansfield are yet to win within the 2015-16 season.
Pride of Nottingham has taken the time to put several questions to one of the most recognizable match day photographers Dan Westwell.
Firstly, could you please tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a Stags fan?
I've been a Stags fan for 30 years, since I moved up here from Peterborough when I was 11. I wanted to support my local team and that's where it started. My first game was against the Canadian national team, we won 3-0!
At the end of that season we went to Wembley in the Freight Rover Trophy and beat the favourites Bristol City on penalties who had Keith Curle and David Moyes playing for them. I thought I'd picked a winning team here but then the past 29 years have been a bit barren lol.
What are stand-out moments from last season and how have things changed within the pre-season?
There are no stand out moments from last season as it was a disaster. Had there not been 2 worse teams than us we would've gone back to that hell-hole again. We've got a lot to thank Tranmere & Cheltenham for.
This season can't be as bad as that (we hope!). Adam Murray has signed some good players and there was a lot of positivity surrounding the club in the summer, a bit like at Notts, we just need to see how these players gel & then try and find a winning formula as I can't remember the last time we did win a game.
Are you optimisic about your season ahead and what do you think of the squad assembled by Adam Murray?
Yes I am, if you can't be optimistic in August when can you be!? The squad is very impressive, he's mixed it up well with some old heads, some new heads and some youth, so if he can get the blend right then we'll have a good season.
Do you think having players like Craig Westcarr and Kristian Pearce will help you against Notts?
I hope so. I was at the Forest game in the cup when Westcarr scored for Notts and he ran along the main stand celebrating in front of the Forest fans. I don't think he would disrespect Notts like that, but if he does I'll be happy as it means he's scored!
Who do you think will the win the League Two title? More importantly where will Mansfield and Notts finish in your opinion?
I think you can't look beyond Portsmouth & Luton really, but I've had an outside bet on Cambridge as I think they've assembled a good team. Having said that, Notts have been really impressive in the 2 games I've seen so far this season and if they carry this on, then they will win the league.
I would love us both to go up, that would be awesome, especially if Forest got relegated! If I was forced to pick league positions I would go Notts 3rd and us 10th which I would take for sure with how we were last season.
As the clubs official away day photographer, does it make it more interesting to cover these types of local derby games?
It does at Field Mill because obviously I'm there doing the game for Notts yet it's at my 2nd home, so there's a strange feeling about it because I want both teams to win. Personally I want Stags to win because they are my team, but professionally I want Notts to win because it makes my photos better, if you can understand that? Like the pre season game last year when we hammered you ;-) the photos I was sending in were of fans looking fed up and not much action (especially goal action) so the pics weren't very good from a Notts angle (although my Stags mates loved them lol).
As for this game, I would've been going as a freelance not being paid and would just sit in one place and see what happened, but now I am doing it for the local Mansfield paper (CHAD) so I will be doing the Stags attack & Stags fans rather than anything Notts as the home photographer will be doing that.
What line-up would you feature against the Magpies? Who will be your key men?
Matt Green, if he is fit would be our main threat I would say. But you never know if Westcarr & Pearce play then you could have the curse of the returning player. I wouldn't like to guess at our line up as I don't think even Adam Murray knows what team he will pick.
Lastly, what do you think the score and scorers will be?
If you'd asked me this on Monday I would've gone for a Stags win. But having seen what Notts did to Huddersfield last night I am actually pretty damn scared of what could happen to us.
I wouldn't be shocked if Notts tanked us 4-0! We just have to hope that Notts continue their ill discipline and get an early sending off to give us a chance, but then they showed against Huddersfield that they can still see a game out with 10 men, away, at a Championship team. I just hope our good record against Notts helps us out, otherwise we could be in trouble. If you offered me a draw now I'd take it, a nice 2-2 like one of our favourite games when Iyseden Christie equalised 40 yards offside ;-)
Pride of Nottingham would like to thank Dan Westwell for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish him all the very best with his recent fund-raising efforts and fingers crossed he brings Notts the luck tonight! No, good luck Mansfield in this new season.