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  1. We're edging towards the end of February and Notts County's forward problems continue following the backfiring of our January gamble. Bringing Mason Bennett in on loan seemed a great idea at the time, given he's a highly rated and clearly talented footballer, very much admired by most fans of his parent club Derby. Unfortunately, Bennett is also injury prone, something which plenty of Rams fans I spoke to mentioned in sighing tones - were it not for his injury issues, he would probably be an established first-team despite his young age. And he showed his quality on his Notts debut against Crewe, getting the final goal in a superb 4-1 win, but then, the harsh reality of his injury record kicked in as he had to be taken off early on against Barnet with a hamstring problem, on which he has needed an operation. It's a bad situation for all three parties - Bennett is injured and must now go through the healing and rehabilitation process, Derby will be gutted to see one of their most talented youngsters suffer another setback, and Notts are back to square one in terms of their striker conundrum. So we have Shola Ameobi and Jon Stead, who simply haven't got the legs to do 90 minutes week in week out (sometimes twice a week); Jonathan Forte, who remains overlooked by Nolan and, if we're being especially critical, hasn't had the same impact as a starter as he does off the bench; Lewis Alessandra, who hasn't got the quality in front of goal and finishing touch of a centre-forward; Callum Saunders, who is too raw and inexperienced to be thrown in at the deep end now; and Alan Smith, the footballing equivalent of using a plaster to fix an amputation. With the transfer window now closed and the emergency loan system very kindly phased out by the suits up top, that leaves us having to root through the dumpster that is the free agent market in order to find somebody. Maybe that's a little harsh - after all, Shola Ameobi was snapped up last February after the transfer window closed, but Ameobi has always been a model professional who was unsure whether to hang up his boots until former teammate Nolan persuaded him to link up with Notts, and his attitude at the club has been superb ever since signing on the dotted line. This year, the free agent market is noticeably less impressive, and a name that Nolan has mentioned in terms of prospective signings should ring alarm bells among all the fans. Nile Ranger. The talented, prodigious forward who could now be leading the line for Newcastle United, and perhaps England, but who instead finds himself without a club after being dismissed by Southend United due to "reoccurring disciplinary issues". Now, I'm very much one who believes in second chances in any walk of life, and if an individual is genuinely remorseful and shows proper contrition, they should be given another shot instead of being thrown onto the scrap heap, which as a society we are quick to do. Ranger has been given numerous chances by clubs in hope that he could have knuckled down and delivered as per his talent, but every time, it's simply not happened, hence why a player who should be gracing the higher leagues now finds himself without a club. Even if we discount the multiple charges he's had over the last 10 years, some of which have resulted in convictions (the latest just last year for online banking fraud, which resulted in him being tagged and not being able to play evening games due to a curfew), there's also the general attitude issues. Do Notts really want a player who has celebrated a goal by using his boot to mimic a machine gun, or whose timekeeping and disciplinary issues led to his latest club cancelling a contract midway through the season despite having committed to 2020 just a year earlier? And yes, Alan Hardy did confirm on Twitter today that Ranger "was on a list, along with several others, but none of those are being pursued", which seemingly puts paid to that speculation, but let's not forget how Liam Noble wasn't "being pursued" either. So no. Personally I would not like to see Ranger signed by Notts, where he could risk disrupting the dressing room and potentially making the wrong headlines, which by proxy means Notts will make the wrong headlines, before an unceremonious mid-season cutting of ties further down the line. And aside from that, there's got to be a level of principle in the club. And I would personally rather see Notts not get a reinforcement and run the risk of not getting promoted than giving a chance to a player who's spurned far too many over the years. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  2. Kevin Nolan has revealed that Notts County are considering a move for free agent Nile Ranger but is aware of his off-the-field issues and insists that "everybody has to agree" on a decision. The 26-year-old is not attached to a club at present after Southend United terminated his contract in January on disciplinary grounds. Ranger served a month-long suspension following a serious breach of club discipline in his first season at Roots Hall before missing the start of his second campaign after being sent to prison for online fraud. Notts, however, were hit with a setback after deadline day loan signing Mason Bennett was sidelined for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury which required surgery. As a result, the club is back to square one in terms of striking reinforcements and, with the transfer window closed, only unattached players can join between now and the summer. “Nile is a complex character shall we say and he’s had a lot of second, third and fourth chances,” Nolan, who was a teammate of Ranger when the pair were at Newcastle United, told the Nottingham Post. “I am not going to lie but it’s a discussion we have had and we will continue to do so. “The one thing we have got to make sure is that the perception of our club is the right one. No disrespect to Nile, but he has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons and the wrong side of the paper. “It’s something that everybody has to agree on and if Nile does come here then we would have to have a good sit down with him and his representatives. “Everybody has to be on board with it, right the way from the chairman to the players. If there is any sort of doubt, then we have to make sure we protect the club and the squad we have." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.

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