In an Easter weekend special NCM speak to Notts County writer James Pallat from the Nottingham Evening Post to assess the Magpies chances leading into a vital weekend.

How do you assess Notts' recent form?

Well I think away from home Notts are doing really well. It is now six unbeaten including a fantastic point at Peterborough last week. It was very much deserved but at home they still seem to be struggling. Scoring goals is
Crow...Missed
the problem and it has been the same all season. Peterborough showed us everything about Notts. They never looked like conceding and there was nothing really clear cut for them apart from one which fell to Michael Johnson.

So, defensively sound but it is just scoring goals which is the problem. They have been missing Danny Crow and he must be a loss.

What do you make of the problem up top? Do you expect things to change or will Notts have to get by on no more than one goal a game?

It is very difficult to say really. I mean they have got the strikers. They can score although the stats would tell you differently. I think the fire power is there, they just need to get the balls in the right areas. Crow is more of a poacher and they need to get the ball in the box for him. He has only got the one goal so far at Chester. Ryan Jarvis has done everything but score so far. He works tirelessly up front and only has one goal against Bradford to show for it. I think they have got goals in there but for whatever r
Kevan...Confident
eason they need to find them. I mean Richard Butcher has got 11 from midfield. That shows the situation Notts are in.

How important is this weekend's game?

I was talking to Dave Kevan down the ground and he firmly believes two wins are achievable. Rochdale have got very good away form, they've only lost three all season so it will be tough, but the confidence is there. They should carry quite a bit of confidence in from last week's result. Then if they beat Rochdale, they'll go into Monday's game content I'm sure. On the other hand, two defeats would be a disaster. I cannot see that happening - I would be amazed anyway. Easter is always the defining time of the season. Anyone in football will tell you that. But Kevan says the mood is good going into it. Fingers crossed we can get some positive results.

What have you made of Ian McParland's and Kevan's work and the changes they have made?

I have been reporting on the club since December but I've been told they are trying to play football more than they did under Steve Thompson. I think they are geared to do the job in the long-term future. They have got the club at
Butcher...Vital for survival
heart and that has helped them bring in good players such as Michael Johnson. I don't think he would have come back if it wasn't for Charlie and Dave. They've brought in some good players.

Who is the man who can get Notts out of trouble?

Well they need to look at a striker to get goals. Wayne Corden looked very good last week as well. I think he could make a big impact. The left midfield has ben a problem area with Myles Weston's injury problems and Felix Bastians leaving. Butcher could score goals to resolve the situation. He can play across the midfield and could be very important too.

What do you know about Rochdale?

Adam Le Fondre looks the most obvious threat. He scored a hat-trick last week and could cause some problems. He is a good finisher. We will
Le Fondre...Dale threat
have to beware of him.

What about Shrewsbury?

Well Paul Simpson the new manager has a great pedigree. He had a fantastic record at Carlisle. Things didn't quite work out for him at Preston but that happens sometimes in football. A new manager can come in a get a reaction so we must be careful.

What do you make of the relegation battle - will Notts get out of it?

I think Notts will stay up. It would be stupid to write them off with nine games still to play. It is so tight down there. I don't think you can predict what two will go down. Notts can survive though. Any of eight sides are still in the frame. There will be lots of twists and turns yet. A couple of wins and it will all change.


Score predictions?

2-1 win against Rochdale

1-0 win against Shrewsbury