After the first away clean sheet and first away point of the season last Saturday that stretched their unbeaten run to two matches, Notts County should feel confident of finally getting their first win on the board at the weekend, as they host a Crewe side who are yet to even score a goal away from home so far this season.
The Railwaymen really haven’t done well on their travels so far this campaign, their only point away from Gresty Road coming in the shape of a 0-0 draw at Cheltenham Town. Other than that, they’ve lost to Newport, Carlisle and got thumped 6-0 at Colchester, undoing their impressive 6-0 win over Morecambe on the opening day.
Crewe haven’t got recent form over the Magpies on their side either; the two clubs have met 14 times this millennium, Notts have won nine of these, Crewe just one, and Notts are unbeaten in their last eight meetings with the Alex at Meadow Lane.
Their last meeting came back in February, where despite Crewe taking the lead, Notts ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in front of the highest crowd of the season, 17,274.
There are some names throughout the Crewe ranks that will mean something to Notts fans. Veteran full-back Nicky Hunt made the switch from Notts to Crewe in the summer, and Notts fans will know that his lack of pace can be exploited; it will be interesting to see Notts’ highest league scorer so far this season, Enzio Boldewijn, up against Hunt should he play, as that would be a complete mismatch on the wing for pace.
Crewe’s squad is largely a mix of academy products and vastly experienced players, such as Nicky Hunt. Striker Chris Porter and midfielder Paul Green both add that vital experience to the squad, but they just seem to be lacking a certain something at the moment that could propel them up from their current position of 17th in the League Two table.
As far the Notts squad, Dan Jones has finished his three-match suspension and so could return to the starting eleven for the first time under Harry Kewell, although it’s unlikely that he’ll make any changes to the back four that kept a clean sheet at Northampton a week ago.
There’s no fresh injury concerns for the manager to worry about, but he may have a bit of a selection headache several players had a good game for the Notts ‘Development Squad’ away at Peterborough United in the week. Terry Hawkridge, Nathan Thomas and Kristian Dennis are amongst the names of players who had a good game and could push for a start in the first team on Saturday.
That being said, this really is the perfect chance for Notts to get their first win of the season and start moving up the table. With Notts finally stopping the rot of conceding an average of three goals a game last week, the fact that they’re coming up against a side who haven’t scored a league goal away from home should mean that they would be confident of keeping another clean sheet this weekend.
And they’re more than capable of scoring too, they scored three in their last home match against Stevenage, and so Notts would really be hoping of winning by a comfortable margin whilst also keeping a clean sheet against Crewe.
A 2-0 or 3-0 result would be perfect for the Magpies to build on and would work wonders for the team’s confidence going into next week where Notts face Crawley and Macclesfield, two more very winnable games.
Picture Credit: Notts County