Another break from Vanarama National League action awaits Notts County, as the Magpies make the trip to West Yorkshire to face FC Halifax Town in the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Notts come into this fixture off the back of an impressive 6-1 victory over Barnet, where a brace from Elisha Sam and goals from Cal Roberts, Ruben Rodrigues, Kyle Wootton and Matty Palmer ensured the perfect response to conclude a rather bleak previous ten days. Ian Burchnall admitted beyond the final whistle Tuesday night that he had hoped his side were competing in the Vanarama National League again this weekend but will surely not mind the trip to one of the league’s toughest outfits as many of his players will relish the occasion of the big trophy tie. The Magpies have already made this trip this season, on an evening that saw them throw away a 0-2 lead to lose 3-2 courtesy of a ninety-ninth minute winner from Matthew Warburton. Beyond the full-time whistle that evening saw an ugly scene transpire, which was said to have been caused by the trading of words between each coaching team. The apparent trade of words turned out to be the catalyst in a spark that saw tussles between both playing squads. With this being the case, an evident disliking on the night for each other last time round could lead to the Magpies seeking revenge this weekend, as I am sure that is exactly what the travelling faithful would like to witness as well. As for injuries, Joel Taylor seems to be the only player doubtful for this fixture. The full back was replaced I the second half against Grimsby Town and was left out of the squad because of this on Tuesday night against Barnet. Apart from Taylor, there are no other injury concerns nor suspensions despite Dion Kelly-Evans and Jim O’Brien not returning to the squad yet despite declaring as match fit.
As for this weekend’s hosts, they come into this fixture with immense relief if truth be told, due to the fact it appears they are fortunate to be led into it with Pete Wild. It was reported throughout the week that Wild looked as if he was departing the club to join Chesterfield, as a journalist surrounding the Spirerites had reported. However, in the same report, it was mentioned that the Shaymen were forced into offering Wild more money to remain their coach, and fortunately for them he stayed. In their last outing in the Vanarama National League, FC Halifax Town were 1-3 winners away at Dagenham & Redbridge. A brace from Billy Waters and a goal again for Matthew Warburton ensured the Shaymen all three points following a very impressive away performance. When it comes to current league rankings, Wild’s side sit third in the table just five points adrift of Stockport County with a game in hand. The Shaymen have only lost twice in their last five fixtures, those defeats coming by the hands of Maidenhead United and Boreham Wood. However, they have won three games along the period of the past five games with the wins coming against Alfreton Town, Grimsby Town, and as mentioned Dagenham & Redbridge. As the opportunity of an occasion beckons for both sides with odds looking increasingly more likely for the winner of this weekend, it is without a doubt that both sides will line-up strong to do all they can to ensure their name enters the hat for the quarter-final draw.
So, what can you expect from this fixture?
Considering it is another match-up of two of the Vanarama National League’s strongest sides, I expect the game to be one that possesses a high amount of quality. Two of the most highly rated managers at this level face off with Wembley on the horizon, the game should consist of large spells of attacking football. FC Halifax Town have not played for twelve days whereas Notts County have and have impressed hugely in their last outing after a tough start to February. This game will not be one in which many would fancy predicting but as far as I can see it, I can only see the game being won by one goal and although the Shaymen are a hard team to beat on home soil, I believe the Magpies will still believe they have a lot to prove, and this will be the catalyst for an impressive away performance.
My prediction: FC Halifax 1-2 Notts County.
- Halifax Town: WWLLW
- Notts County: WDLLW
- Halifax Town: Johnson, Senior, Bradbury, Warren, Summerfield, Woods, Martin, Waters, Allen, Debrah, Warburton.
- Notts County: Jaros, Chicksen, Cameron, Brindley, Richardson, Francis, Palmer, Roberts, Rodrigues, Sam, Wootton.
Venue & time:
- The Shay Stadium, 3pm Saturday 12th February 2022.
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC The Magpies travel to the Shay in fifth round action.