Following a week absence from competitive fixtures, Notts County return to Vanarama National League action against Southend United this weekend.
Prior to the break, the Magpies faced Dagenham & Redbridge at Meadow Lane. Despite it not being the greatest display thus far this season, Ian Burchnall’s side picked up a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from Frank Vincent and Kyle Wootton. During their break, results have led to movements within the Vanarama National League play-off places leading to Notts dropping to seventh. However, a win this weekend against a currently deflated Southend United could see a rise as high as third achievable for the in-form hosts. In terms of importance, this fixture kicks off a compact festive period for Notts County and is the last domestic fixture before they travel away to hot rivals Chesterfield, who currently sit top of the pile in the Vanarama National League. A player the Magpies will be heavily reliant on during this period is forward Kyle Wootton. In his previous game, Wootton increased his tally to ten for the season with a fine header. The striker has already netted some vital goals already this season such as a key goal against Stockport County and the equaliser in the Emirates FA Cup away fixture against Rochdale AFC. Nearing the end of his current contract with the club, if the forward is to leave Notts County this summer, there’s an expectation that he will want to leave something behind for the faithful to remember him by. For me, there would be no better place to start than finding the back of the net multiple times during this festive period, which could be pivotal come the end of the season when the race for promotion becomes heated.
One plus for Notts is the addition thsi week on loan of full back Jayden Richardson from over the Trent. The Nottingham Forest youngster will add quality in depth to the County defence.
As for the visitors, their week could go from bad to worse. Southend United were in action this past Tuesday evening against Maidenhead United. The Shrimpers went ahead in the first half courtesy of a goal from Rhys Murphy. However, one goal wasn’t enough as Kane Ferdinand equalised in the second half to take a point each from the fixture. Following off the back of this fixture and just a day later, the club announced that they have entered an embargo. Current accuse of an owner Ron Martin has already been at the front of protests for him to sell the club and leave, and I imagine even more so now deservedly considering on-going financial scrutiny he continues to put the club under. The Shrimpers have only won four out of seventeen fixtures thus far this season and because of such poor form, they evade the relegation zone by three goal difference despite having a current difference of minus twelve. Given such a poor beginning to life in the fifth tier, travelling Southend United supporters will be hopeful that the point in midweek can be one to build off. However, I think they know full well that the last team they want to face away from home whilst chasing a victory is Notts County.
So, what can you expect from this fixture?
Although I would like to say that this game is bound to be close, I personally cannot see it. Whilst I believe Southend United could come good in this league, poor ownership from the clueless above gives every fan the impression that times will not improve until Martin’s face becomes a distant memory. The Shrimpers possess high quality within their side but low confidence whereas the Magpies are flourishing with confidence and will not be in no mood to drop points this weekend. Whilst remaining hopeful of an enjoyable occasion, I believe those travelling to Nottingham attending the away end will have one very clear message unrelated to any on pitch situations. But, in terms of what happens on the pitch, I can see Notts County have next to no problems this weekend.
My personal prediction: Notts County 4-0 Southend United.
- Notts County: WWLDW
- Southend United: LLLWD
Previous matchday line-ups:
- Notts County: Slocombe, Taylor, Brindley, Cameron, Lacey, Parsons (O’Brien 60), Palmer, Vincent (Francis 85), Roberts, Rodrigues (Mitchell 90), Wootton.
- Southend United: Arnold, Lopata, Ralph, Hobson, Demetriou, Ferguson, Atkinson (Gard 81), Brunt, Walsh (Egbri 65), Murphy, Dalby.
Venue & time:
- Meadow Lane Stadium, Saturday 11th December 2021. 15:00 KICK OFF
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC Notts return to league action this weekend at Meadow Lane.