With Notts County winless in nine as they head into the hectic festive schedule, they need to start turning losses into draws, and draws into wins.
They might not find a much better chance to get that first league win since the beginning of October by facing a Tranmere who haven’t won in their last four on the road.
Tranmere’s concession of goals away from home isn’t much better than Notts’ poor record. Notts have conceded 25 goals away from Meadow Lane this season – whereas Tranmere have conceded 21 goals away from Prenton Park this campaign – the league’s respective 1st and joint 2nd worst defences on the road in League Two.
Tranmere conceded five in their last away game – going down 5-2 at Grimsby, a side down in 18th in the division. The away game before that they lost 3-2 at Crewe, who are currently 17th. Their last away win came at the beginning of October, but even they conceded three goals, as they narrowly beat struggling Morecambe 4-3, so Notts should have hope on Saturday.
That being said, the Super White Army do currently find themselves occupying the last play-off spot in the division, although the lion’s share of their points have come at Prenton Park where they’ve only conceded four times.
A look through the Tranmere squad doesn’t show any names that jump off the page – that being said, striker James Norwood has got 17 goals in all competitions this season, 15 of which have come in the league, and his strike partner Paul Mullin has a bit of a reputation for scoring against Notts.
Not to do Tranmere a disservice though, they do sit 7th in the league ladder and even though they have had some defensive frailties on their travels this season, they go into the game as clear favourites.
The Magpies should be able to recall Kane Hemmings to the first-team squad, after his cameo appearance at Mansfield Town last weekend – and Jon Stead should be back fit again to play the full 90, after having to go off after the hour mark last weekend – both have been huge losses.
Aside from that, Notts should have a full squad to choose from, other than the long-term injuries to Enzio Boldewijn and Lewis Alessandra.
These sides last met in 2014 in League One. Tranmere oversaw Notts 3-2 in a League One relegation six-pointer which all but condemned County to the drop. However, a change in fortunes on the last day of the season saw Notts dramatically stay up, at the expense of? You guessed it, Tranmere. The overall head-to-head is fairly equal, with Notts winning 17 to Tranmere’s 18.
This will be manager Neal Ardley’s first game in the home dugout and whilst he’ll be hoping for a tight game, expect goals, as you should with every Notts game this season. But with Tranmere’s defensive record on the road, the Magpies should feel confident that they at least stand a chance of their first win in ten, something that hasn’t been said for a while.
Picture Credit: Notts County