Bap­tism of fire but a win would be big boost

The Notts owner hopes new boss Neal Ard­ley can give Mag­pies’ fans the suc­cess they de­serve

Nottingham Post - - SPORT -

FOOT­BALL has a habit of throw­ing up strange co­in­ci­dences and it’s dealt us an­other one this week­end as we pre­pare to go into a Not­ting­hamshire derby with a new man­ager for the se­cond time in two years.

Back in Jan­uary 2017, shortly af­ter I had taken over the club, the first task fac­ing Kevin Nolan was to earn us a re­sult against our clos­est ri­vals Mans­field Town.

Neal Ard­ley faces the same bap­tism of fire in his first league match in charge this Satur­day, although this time the game is at One Call Sta­dium rather than the more homely sur­round­ings of Meadow Lane.

Kevin earned us a hard-fought draw on his big day, halt­ing a long run of de­feats and pro­vid­ing the spring­board for us to com­fort­ably re­tain our EFL sta­tus – an achieve­ment I’ll be for­ever grate­ful to him for.

Hope­fully, Neal can have a sim­i­lar im­pact this week­end but, with us still only in early De­cem­ber, it cer­tainly won’t make or break our sea­son whichever way the re­sult goes.

From my point of view the most im­por­tant as­pect of a vic­tory would be the joy it brings to our sup­port­ers, who have been starved of derby-day suc­cess since we beat the Stags 3-2 on their own patch back in 2005.

There have been Foot­ball League tro­phy wins for us since then but noth­ing com­pares to tak­ing three points off “the en­emy” in a league fix­ture.

A win would be the per­fect “thank you” to our fans, who have stuck by us bril­liantly through­out a very dis- ap­point­ing sea­son so far, and would give Neal and his play­ers a huge lift go­ing into the busy Christ­mas pe­riod.

It cer­tainly won’t be easy against a Mans­field side who have lost only one match this sea­son and con­sid­er­ing we have a num­ber of key play­ers ei­ther still miss­ing or lack­ing match sharp­ness fol­low­ing in­jury.

But I have ev­ery faith in Neal to send out a side who will go toe-to­toe with Mans­field in terms of ef­fort, com­mit­ment and de­sire while also har­ness­ing the un­doubted qual­ity we have within our ranks.

We’ll be backed in ex­cel­lent num­bers and I ask ev­ery­one in the away end to give Neal a bril­liant re­cep­tion and get right be­hind the play­ers from the off. Our sup­port­ers truly can make a dif­fer­ence.

Notts County fans have stood by their team so far, de­spite re­sults

Kevin Nolan also be­gan his ten­ure with a derby clash against Mans­field

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