With Notts County winless in seven in the league, Tuesday night’s game at home to Carlisle United isn’t far short of a must win match.
On Saturday, the Magpies yet again threw away a lead towards the death, with veteran Kevin Ellison firing in a Morecambe equaliser in the 88th minute, meaning that they’ve now dropped a staggering 18 points from winning positions this season; Notts would be in the top three had they held on in those matches.
And what makes it worse is that all of the teams directly around them towards the bottom of the table: Macclesfield, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Grimsby and obviously Morecambe, all picked up points.
So Notts can’t afford to lose Tuesday night’s match at home to Carlisle United or else they may well start to get cut adrift in the bottom two.
The Cumbrians are unbeaten in their last three away games, winning the last two but did lose 2-1 at home to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, they currently sit 11th in League Two but their away form is the fourth best in the division.
On paper, Notts’ recent form isn’t too shabby either, with only one loss in the last four, but the other three were all draws, and the performances really haven’t been great.
Steve Chettle will take charge of the side for his final time on Tuesday night, with Neal Ardley not officially taking over until he returns from a family holiday next week.
And whilst it’s understandable that Ardley, who was Wimbledon boss for six years, is on a well-deserved rest, it’s a sign of where Notts are at the moment that the best person they can attract for the job can’t take charge straight away because he’s on holiday.
Notts are in a relegation battle – there’s no two ways about it, yet they seem quite happy to amble about, and somewhat waste games by treating them as ‘freebies’, for everyone’s sake Ardley had best hit the ground running when he eventually takes charge, otherwise they will heavily regret wasting so many matches earlier in the season.
There will be probably be a bit of needle around Tuesday’s match as well, with former Notts boss John Sheridan returning to Meadow Lane alongside ex-players Adam Collin, Gary Liddle and Adam Campbell.
Sheridan left the club at the start of 2017 having led the club to an unwanted club record of 10 league defeats on the bounce, and it’s fair to say County fans weren’t sad to see the back of him.
It’s a similar story for ‘keeper Adam Collin, who was released by Notts in the summer after making a few too many mistakes last campaign. He hasn’t shone himself in a great light since leaving the Magpies having engaged in a few Twitter spats with Notts fans, and so there’ll be a friendly rivalry between the sides on Tuesday night.
Notts will be hoping that they can welcome back both Jon Stead and Kane Hemmings following their injuries that have kept them both out for the last three games. They’ll also be sweating on the fitness of Enzio Boldewijn, who hobbled off just ten minutes into the game at Morecambe on Saturday.
The Magpies are unbeaten in their last three meetings against Carlisle, winning two, and will be hopeful of ending their winless run on Tuesday to give Neal Ardley a boost going into his new reign and hopefully get Notts out of the bottom two in the process.
Picture Credit: Notts County