Magpies Heading To The Woods

Here we are again, back on the road for our first away trip of the season. Boreham Wood await us in what is forecasted to be extreme heat at Meadow Park as Notts look to make it two wins on the bounce.

But first, let’s recap, shall we?

How good did Saturday feel? Back down the Lane, sunshine, Notts County, more Macaulay Langstaff goals and three points. For me, that is exactly how we needed to begin this campaign. Performance wise, good but not our greatest but we certainly made our intentions known with the result. One thing I noticed in particular was just how clinical we were. Last season, we simply did not have a forward who would have made the run Langstaff did for his first goal never mind the finish and we certainly had no forward who could swivel as he did and finish across goal in the same fashion for his second. Granted, our build-up play may have not been as attractive as it had been previously, but it is important to remember it was the first game of a new season and there is still a whole marathon to go which will see us continue to make improvements.

Our gaffer touched on post-match the fact he is still actively searching to make improvements on the squad. But, in all honesty, I believe he will struggle for all the right reasons. Why you may be thinking? Well, who out of that starting eleven is not good enough for their place? Exactly! As well as that, we must mention the squad depth. It almost inevitable that once fully fit, Matty Palmer regains his place in the squad. However, though it is likely Jim O’Brien will be the man sacrificed, we know exactly what he can offer from the bench, something I believe will help us greatly when our opposition begins to tire. It is not just the matter of bringing Palmer back in, it is the overall squad depth. Saturday undoubtedly saw our strongest bench since being a member of the Vanarama National League, and when squad depth was an issue last campaign, you simply cannot help but he happy that problem has been left in the past.

Speaking of the past, as that game is in the past, shall we speak about this weekend?

We’re now no strangers to trips to Meadow Park, are we? Each time, the games seem to increase in difficulty, and I would personally expect no different this weekend. Luke Garrard, arguably one of the best and most exciting young coaches found within this level, knows how to set his side up to win all kinds of games and you only have to look at the fact they managed to come away with an away victory against Southend United last weekend with nine players on the pitch.

One thing that does fill me with great sadness is that we will not be seeing Dion Kelly-Evans line-up against us this weekend due to him being suspended. A red card on your debut for a new club? Sounds like a typical Dion Kelly-Evans thing to do, I know. We were all huge fans of the boy, how couldn’t you be? Always gave one hundred and ten percent for our shirt, was evidently a big fan-favourite and was never shy of going in for big tackle, which every crowd loves. What makes the story of his at Meadow Lane even better is the fact he began as a trialist during our financial struggles. Who would have ever begun to have thought we would all fall in love with a trialist? A truly phenomenal servant to our club.

With sadness always comes joy and, on that note, 5lets speak about the travelling faithful. Personally, I am fully expecting the lads to be backed by a noisy away end. Everybody loves an away day, but this one is backed up by the feel-good factor around the club that is currently present, the excitement we have within our team, the glorious weather expected and the fact that we look like serious contenders this season. We are always heavily backed wherever we go, regardless of the weather conditions, and although we have the unfortunate pleasure of our first open terrace of the season on Saturday, I am confident there will be plenty to sing and shout about.

Now, Dion Kelly-Evans is not the only familiar face within the Boreham Wood ranks for this weekend.

Zak Brunt:

As we all know, Zak’s loan spell at Meadow Lane did not go as first planned. Everybody had heaps of expectations for the boy given his impressive beginning to the season at Southend United. However, typically for us, we never got to see the attacking midfielder flourish in our colours and due to this, his gametime became limited towards the back end of the season. But, although his time at the Lane was unsuccessful, you cannot take away the evident qualities in his possession, the same qualities that could give us a few headaches this weekend. Although we set-up to play a high press, which is ultimately the nightmare for players of his calibre, a lot of the way of playing is similar to how he was coached by Ian Burchnall. So ultimately, with this know-how in abundance, his current knowledge of the system could come back to haunt us this weekend. If you asked me do I think he will find the back of the net? I could not say no confidently. We have all seen it in recent seasons where former players have came back to hurt us, you only have to look at the defeat to Woking last season where both Inih Effiong and Tahvon Campbell both netted on that miserable afternoon. Zak will feel as if he has a point to prove this weekend, but with the quality of our recruitment across the backline, you would not look past another clean sheet for us on the road.

Erico Sousa:

Not a man who has played in our colours, but a man who gave us three headaches last season on three separate occasions. If we played a system here that suited Sousa, I strongly believe we would have recruited him following his departure from Grimsby Town. His name floated around as speculation this summer, but the Portuguese winger put pen to paper elsewhere. Last season, other than Ruben Rodrigues and Joe Sbarra, I would have said Sousa took the third spot in the top three most creative players in the division. For readers unfamiliar with the name, as mentioned, the boy spent last season at Grimsby Town and was a very speedy, strong carrier of the ball and caused many teams, ourselves included a number of problems last season. Now, under the management of another good coach, I can imagine he will be a big hit for Boreham Wood this season. He is most certainly the player I am most worried about this weekend, but likewise with Brunt, I am confident our backline can keep him quiet for the ninety minutes.

This weekend will be no easy game. I am fully expecting a completely different test to the one we began our campaign with last weekend. That is with no disrespect to Maidenhead of course, they set up differently and play a way in which will hurt sides in this division this season. The way they faced off with us last week reminded me as to why they upset the so-called big teams last season but were no match for us again fortunately. With Boreham Wood, always good when playing at home. Despite small home attendances, they are quite passionately backed by the ones who do turn out and set-up in a fashion that is difficult to break down as we discovered in our narrow victory over them last season.

A big test but one which will show us where we are at. Here is to what is hopefully another three points.

As always, Come On You Pies.

*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).

*Main image @Official_NCFC Macaulay Langstaff had a fabulous two goal debut.

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