Notts County were beaten 3-1 in a behind closed doors friendly game against Dorking Wanderers at Meadow Lane on Saturday with Magpies Assistant Manager Neil Cox saying after the defeat “it was all about getting 45 minutes into everybody”.
It was the first game in almost four months for Notts who arranged the friendly with Dorking knowing both teams had respective playoff games ahead this month with the Wanderers set to face Bath City in the National League South Playoff eliminator next weekend and of course on the 25th July, Notts will host the winner of either Yeovil Town or Barnet in the National League Playoff semi-final.
Cox stated “they (Dorking) came out with a strong side, they are probably a week ahead of us and put us under good pressure and we saw one or two things that we needed to see so it was a good work out”.
The friendly was an unofficial, off the record match which was self-officiated due to having safety measures in place and was set up purposely for getting fitness into the legs of both sets of players with Cox implying “It’s all about getting 45 minutes into the legs on a big pitch and getting ourselves organised against a good team with a style we might come up against in the semi-finals.”
Regarding Notts playing their first match post lockdown in an empty Meadow Lane, Cox said “When there’s eight or nine thousand in this stadium you can hardly hear the players but today you can hear them, you can hear some boys talking and you can hear the boys who don’t say a lot and say even less, so they need to stand up and be counted” on the Senior players influence like Jim O’Brien & Michael Doyle, Cox stated “they’re really important, they have already had promotions under their belt and they need to be vocal, but everyone needs to be vocal, we have eleven players out there and seven subs and they all need to be involved. At the moment we are trying to get everyone fit and raring to go”.
Notts may arrange another friendly as Yeovil face Barnet on Saturday in an eliminator to face County which might give the winner of the tie an advantage with them having played a ninety minutes (at least) match of competitive football more than the Magpies so preparing the players to be fit and ready for what will be the seasons biggest game so far is something the Coaching Staff is aware they have to do.
But now, having worked on the pitch against different opposition for the first time since March it is very much back to the training ground to work on some more fitness and getting the players as near as they can 100% ahead of what will be last chance saloon of Notts getting back into the Football League at the first time of asking.
*Main image @Official_NCFC Neil Cox satisfied with the workout Dorking gave the Notts players.