After Tuesday night’s superb 4-2 win over Ebbsfleet made it three successive wins for United, Gary Johnson’s men travel to Meadow Lane in a bid to maintain their excellent run of form against one of the division’s pre-season favorites.
One of the country’s most recognisable football stadiums will host an encounter between two in-form sides, with Notts County looking to Saturday’s fixture to fire their own play-off place ambitions.
Who’s The Boss?
Neal Ardley was appointed manager of County in November 2018, following a highly successful six year stay at AFC Wimbledon, which saw him take the reformed south-west London side into League One for the first time. Taking over at Meadow Lane following the dismissal of Harry Kewell, Ardley faced a sizeable task in trying to preserve the club’s EFL status, and despite managing to take the battle for survival to the last day of the season, a 3-1 defeat away at Swindon saw the club drop into the fifth tier. Confidence remains high around the club however, that Neal will be the man to ensure their National League stay will be a brief one.
How have they been doing?
Notts County’s relegation to non-league football was a dramatic fall from grace for a club that had previously been the oldest league club in the world. Following an indifferent early start, Ardley’s men have begun to get to grips with their National League surroundings, and currently sit one place and one goal outside the play-off zone, following three wins and only one defeat in the last six games. Their only home defeat so far this season came on the second weekend of the season, with Barnet emerging from Meadow Lane with all three points.
Player to watch
21 year-old Regan Booty joined County in the summer from boyhood club Huddersfield Town. A talented playmaker who has excelled since being introduced to the side this season, his midweek opener against Dagenham and Redbridge was his second strike this season. Booty has plenty of recent experience of National League football, having spent last year on loan at Aldershot, making 40 appearances.
Played For Both
Cultured left-back Kevin Nicholson played a significant role in the history of both clubs, which helped endear him to both sets of supporters. Following his release from Sheffield Wednesday and a brief spell at Northampton, Nicholson spent three years at County, the highlight of which was scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 home win over Huddersfield on the last day of the 2001/02 season to secure Division Two survival. Stints at non-league Scarborough and Forest Green followed, before Kevin answered the call to join Paul Buckle’s side in the summer of 2007. The seven year stay at Plainmoor that followed would include promotion to the Football League and two League Two Play-Off campaigns, before he left to join Kidderminster in 2014. A short-spell at Bath City then preceded a return to United for a two-year stay as player-manager between 2015-2017.
It’s almost ten years to the day that United last travelled to Meadow Lane, with Buckle’s Torquay taking some time to adjust on the return to the Football League, whilst big-spending County were big favourites to secure promotion. The inclusion of the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Ade Akinbiyi in the County line up aroused the interest of Sky Sports, who broadcasted the game live. The match looked to be following the script following early strikes from home favourites Craig Westcarr and Ben Davies, however a Mark Ellis strike just before half-time threw The Gulls a lifeline. A gutsy point against the odds was then secured 13 minutes from time, with Tim Sills notching his first league goal of the season.
Notts County v Torquay United | Meadow Lane NG2 3HJ | Tickets Details Here