Spotlight On…Notts County
League One outfit Notts County are the next team we look at ahead of the forthcoming season.
The Magpies struggled throughout last season finishing one place outside the relegation places.
Shaun Derry took over the hotseat from Chris Kiwomya in early November as the Magpies found themselves at the bottom of League One with just 10 points from 15 games.
It took seven matches for Derry to see his new side register a win; a 3-1 home win against Gillingham at the start of December. Two wins, two defeats and a draw in that month was the start of a turn-around for the Magpies. Three wins on the bounce at the start of the year saw them move up the table to the heady heights of 16th but they came crashing down to earth when they travelled to London Road although the match started so well. County found themselves 2-0 up inside the first seven minutes but after being reduced to 10-men, they saw that lead cut before eventually going down to a 4-3 defeat.
Their form dropped again after that and by mid-March they were back at the bottom again with just 9 matches remaining of the season. Six wins and a draw in those final games were enough to edge three points outside the relegation places come the end of the season!
THE MANAGER - SHAUN DERRY
Derry came through the youth system at the Magpies and spent his first three professional years at the club. It came as no real surprise that when he was offered the chance to manage the club, he grabbed it with both hands. The 36-year-old was on loan at Championship side Millwall from QPR when he got the call from his home-town club.
The midfielder has had a decent playing career playing for eight different clubs spending a couple of years at each one on average. He moved to Sheffield United from the Magpies for £700,000 before playing for Portsmouth, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, QPR and finally Millwall.
VISITING THE GROUND?
County are the oldest professional club in the world and have been at Meadow Lane since 1910. Meadow Lane is such an easy place to get to for Posh fans and one of the closest.
Sitting across the River Trent from their city rivals, visiting supporters will be housed in the Jimmy Sirrell Stand. The stadium can hold just over 20,000 spectators in their all-seater stadium.
Posh are due to play there on Saturday, 24th January, 2015.
Post Code for SAT NAV: NG2 3HJ
Distance from London Road: 56.4 miles
SUMMER BUSINESS SO FAR
Following County`s survival, manager Shaun Derry released 10 players. Dean Leacock, Manny Smith, Enoch Showunmi, Adam Coombes, Mark Fotheringham, Gareth Roberts, Malcolm Melvin, Romello Nangle, Malachi Lavelle-Moore and former Posh midfielder Andre Boucaud were all shown the door.
Brad McGowan and Harry Andrews have both stepped up from the youth team while six out-of-contract players including Alan Sheehan, Gary Liddle, Jimmy Spencer, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Kyle Dixon and Jeremy Balmy were all offered new contracts by the Meadow Lane outfit.
Dixon and Spencer are the only ones so far to accept new terms while Campbell-Ryce has turned them down opting to join Sheffield United instead. Alan Sheehan and Liddle have also left the club and agreed two-year deals with Bradford City.
Former England striker Alan Smith has joined County on a one-year deal following his release by MK Dons while a two-year contract has been signed by teenage defender Taylor McKenzie who joins the side on a free transfer from Sheffield Wednesday.
Derry has bolstered his midfield with the signing of former Carlisle United player Liam Noble and Nicky Wroe from Preston North End. They both join after signing two-year deals. A one-year deal has been agreed with Hayden Mullins who was released by Birmingham City.
The defence has also been bolstered with the arrival of Blair Adams after he reached a mutual agreement to terminate the final year of his Coventry City contract.
Winger Zeli Ismail has signed on a six-month loan deal from Wolverhampton Wanderers while fellow winger Garry Thompson has joined on a one-year contract following his release by Bradford City.
It`s not all been one-way traffic into the club as they`ve sold goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski to Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee. They`ve also lost another player but this time it`s after he suffered a season-long injury. Striker Jimmy Spencer suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in Saturday's pre-season friendly defeat by Mansfield and will miss the whole of this season.
Derry has moved quickly to fill the gap bringing in 21-year-old Wolves striker Jake Cassidy on loan until January.
THEY PLAYED FOR BOTH
Andre Boucard has already been mentioned after he was released at the end of last season despite making 49 appearances for the club. Boucard came to Posh on loan originally from Reading before making the switch permanent in 2004. He went on to make 34 appearances for Posh in two seasons scoring just the one goal.
There have been a vast number of other players to play for both sides including players such as Ian Benjamin, Terry Bly, Guy Branston, Richard Butcher, John Cozens, Danny Crow, Jason Lee, Andy Legg [pictured below], Clive Platt, James Quinn, Ian Ross, Eric Steele and Jude Sterling, amongst others
There are a number of current Posh employees who have played for the Magpies during their time. They are Grant McCann, who played 2 matches on loan at Meadow Lane in 2000, and Gavin Strachan who moved from Posh to the Magpies in 2008.
Kevin Russell has also played for both teams but he left London Road during this summer.
Posh and the Magpies have faced each other on 42 occasions with all but two matches coming in the League. Posh have the edge with 16 League wins compared to County`s 12 wins while there have been 12 draws.
There have been two FA Cup matches down the years which have both been won by Posh. The last Cup match came in January 1981 when Posh were languishing in the Fourth Division while Notts County were top of Division Two and would be crowned champions later that season.
County were managed by Jimmy Sirrell and called Posh a 'credit to Division Four' after a deflected Robbie Cooke shot clinched a shock win. Cooke celebrated the goal by jumping on the metal barriers holding the fans in! Former Magpie Dave McVay was in the starting line-up for Posh on that day.
Posh scored eight goals against the Magpies last season although they did concede six!
The first clash was the first League match of the season at Meadow Lane but despite County taking the lead, against the run of play, Posh hit four goals with three of them coming in the second half. County did have the last say in things by converting a 90th minute penalty. Tommy Rowe, Tyrone Barnett, Grant McCann (penalty) and Britt Assombalonga were the Posh scorers in a match where the scoreline flattered the home side!
The return fixture was an altogether different affair. The Magpies stormed into a two-goal lead after just seven minutes and were rampant. Had it not been for the sending off of goalscorer Ronan Murray, the final score could`ve been so much different but his sending off swung the match Posh`s way…just.
Posh pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark through Nicky Ajose but couldn`t find another opening until 9 minutes into the second half when Britt Assombalonga leveled matters. Ajose notched his second of the match and with it the lead for Posh but just when everyone was thinking the tie was all over, the Magpies equalised themselves through the Aston Villa loanee Jack Grealish. Posh were determined to get all three points and it was down to Ajose, with five minutes remaining, to snatch the winner and his hat-trick.
WHAT THE BOOKIES THINK
After last season`s near miss with relegation, the bookies think the Magpies will avoid relegation again but only just. They are the seventh favourites to go down with odds of 11/4.
It might be asking a bit too much but they have odds of 40/1 to be crowned champions of League One and 14/1 to get promoted. They have odds of 6/1 to finish in the top six.
UP THE POSH
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Photo courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
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