Here we are again, back awaiting yet another Saturday on the road. This weekend, Dagenham and Redbridge, an opponent who have not been so easy to defeat away from home previously.
But first, as always, lets recap.
We were good this past Bank Holiday, weren’t we? Everybody knew going into the game on Monday that it would be no easy win, yet our squad made it look that way. Notts almost trebled the attempts on goal that Solihull had and left the game with 20% higher possession with a succession of goal-scoring opportunities cleared from the line courtesy of some heroics from the Moors’ full-back.
What really did impress me the most however was the intensity we played the full game with. From minute one to minute ninety-four, we pressed in a pack rather than as individuals and it was massively effective. I lost count of the number of times we pressed the Moors backline in to making mistakes but the fact we could do that almost effortlessly against a team that will be up there with us come the end of the season is frightening as this squad is doing that already without gelling completely. I likewise the rest of you thought it was quitter harsh when the manager admitted through pre-season that he was making the players train twice on days with blistering heats. However, if these current rewards are being reaped due to those double sessions, long may they continue.
Neal Ardley has returned to the Lane twice since being sacked as our manager and has failed to take a single point from either of the two games. Maybe the decision to dismiss was not the wrong choice after all? Especially given I feel a lot better off with Luke Williams at the helm.
Regardless, we were unplayable this past weekend and long please may that continue for us through the stacked run of upcoming games.
Anyway, let’s talk about this Saturday now, shall we?
Firstly, it must be understood that Dagenham and Redbridge are still one of the league’s stronger sides despite a stop-start beginning to the season. Stop-start in the sense that some results have not gone their way, yet a big factor of that is down to the fact that some key players have been absent through injuries. This past Bank Holiday, several of their key assets returned, and they demolished Bromley 4-1 just proving my point of the fact that you cannot judge them fully off of the start they have made to the season.
This game to them is just as big as it is for us as the Daggers will feel they deserve to be in and around the top seven again this season and another big three points is up for grabs for both sides on their quests to reach that point. In recent years, we have had some bad trips to Victoria Road and if we are wanting to leave with a similar result as the one we got last season there, we need to remain playing at the top of our game as we have done recently.
I fully expect Luke Williams to be dealt another selection headache as a large number of players within our squad continue to perform well. Sam Austin and Kairo Mitchell in particular may feel as if they have staked their claim for a starting spot. However, as much as I agree due to the pair being fantastic, I can only see us remaining unchanged. I am a firm believer in if it is not broken do not fix it and when the squad that started against Solihull Moors performed as they did, it would be harsh to remove any of them from the starting picture this weekend.
One player that must start for Notts this weekend is Geraldo Bajrami. We have all cried out for a midfielder with the nasty side to him for years and I finally believe he has been found in Geraldo. The partnership he is beginning to develop with Matty Palmer is exciting as each game the pair continue to flourish together and that is only a huge positive for us especially in the longevity of the season. We have the options to rotate in the midfield obviously with the likes of Ed Francis and Jim O’Brien but when both Palmer and Bajrami are fit, they simply must be the two that start the game. Both players were fantastic this past weekend and long may that also continue as it could be the real difference maker for us as the season progresses, especially if we are closing in on the top spot towards the end of the campaign.
Regardless of the selection, we know it is important for this unbeaten run to continue. The more points we continue to pick up the bigger the message we send to the others looking for that automatic spot for promotion to the Football League. As mentioned, this game on Saturday will not be easy, but I expect us to win as the confidence is sky high and there is a huge feel-good factor around the place at the moment and hopefully, we do return to Nottingham in the evening with another win and three points under our belts.
As always, Come On You Pies!
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC the County players will be looking for more celebrations this weekend.