Notts County have the opportunity extend their unbeaten run to five games this weekend, as the Magpies travel to Surrey to face a struggling Woking.
Ian Burchnall’s side come into the fixture off the back of a 1-1 draw this past Tuesday evening with fellow promotion chasers FC Halifax Town. Aaron Martin pounced on a mistake from Vitezslav Jaros before turning home the opener for the visitors, yet the Magpies were level before the break courtesy of Elisha Sam. Despite a dominant second half display, Notts were held to just a point for the first time in three Vanarama National League fixtures. During this game, Zak Brunt was removed from the field of play after suffering a heavy whack to the head in an aerial duel with an opposing player. Many felt that the midfielder would have been a doubt for this weekend’s clash with Woking, yet head coach Ian Burchnall confirmed Thursday afternoon that Brunt had trained and will be in contention for a place within the squad at the weekend. With that good news in mind, the only player still unavailable for the Magpies this weekend is Jim O’Brien, as the Scottish midfielder is still awaiting his return to full-contact training following a lengthy spell on the side-lines. A win this weekend could be very significant for Notts County, as it could see them return to the Vanarama National League play-off places before Tuesday evening’s huge game away to Chesterfield, who only have two points from their last twelve available. As this is the case, the Magpies have the perfect opportunity to extend their impressive run further, and I am sure this has already been emphasised within the camp building-up to the trip to Surrey on Saturday.
As for Woking, they are coming into the fixture off the back of a midweek draw away to Dagenham n Redbridge. The home side went 1-0 before the breakthrough strike from Paul McCallum before Inih Effiong levelled the game up seven minutes before the end to secure a much-needed point on the road for the Cardinals. Alan Dowson’s side currently sit fifteenth in the Vanarama National League and have failed to pick up a victory in any of their last six outings. However, Woking did in fact beat Notts County in the reverse fixture at the beginning of October. On a rainy day in Nottingham, the Cardinals ensured it poured for the Magpies as they were rather shockingly defeated 1-4 for their first defeat of the season at Meadow Lane. Since this victory, Woking have failed to win consecutive games on the bounce, which has been a factor in the fact that many supporters have called for managerial changes. Furthermore, a win for the hosts this weekend would only see them move as high as fourteenth given Eastleigh fail to collect any points away at Boreham Wood. However, defeat this weekend could see the Cardinals drop as low as nineteenth yet it must be said that is unlikely given teams beneath them face challenging games in which they are unexpected to achieve anything other than defeat. In conclusion to this weekend’s hosts, it goes without saying how big a win would be for everyone involved with the football club, especially Alan Dowson.
So, what can you expect from this fixture?
I expect a very brave performance from the hosts, given they are in a situation where they are fighting to keep the current manager in his job. Despite this, Notts have scored four on both of their visits to Woking since being a Vanarama National League outfit. Although I cannot see the Magpies repeating their past habits, I do see them leaving with all three points. Ian Burchnall will be demanding for his side to maintain their current run of form, especially given a return to the play-off places is a guarantee with a victory.
My prediction: Woking 0-3 Notts County.
- Woking: LDLLD
- Notts County: LWWWD
- Woking: Ross, Diarra, Lofthouse, Annesley, Ince, Nwabuokei, Allarkhia, Champion, Effiong, Kabamba, Johnson.
- Notts County: Jaros, Chicksen, Cameron, Brindley, Richardson, Francis, Palmer, Roberts, Rodrigues, Sam, Wootton.
Venue & time:
Laithwaite Community Stadium, 3pm Saturday 26th February 2022.
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC Ian Burchnall will be hoping his side stretches its unbeaten run.