Oppositions view SPECIAL - Chris Maidens v Phil Smith

By Paul Smith and Gary Moss
Last updated : 19 November 2007
How do you assess your sides recent form?

Lincoln: Well since Jacko (Peter Jackson) has taken over we have certainly picked up. I think the performances are a lot better. I think there's still one or two players when the transfer window opens that he'll want to get rid of and bring in his own, but overall I think our form has picked up. We've been

Jackson... Picked players up
a little bit unlucky. On Saturday the referee spoilt the game by sending off Ollie Ryan with a straight red. But up until that point the official was fair.

Notts: Until Saturday it was going really well under the new manager. Now we hope to continue where we left off and with a new manager you are going to have your setbacks.

What were the pre-season aspirations?

Lincoln:
Everybody was going for automatic promotion but I thought that we'd make the play-off's. I thought we could get automatic promotion but maybe the playoffs was a more realistic target for us.

Notts: Playoffs. We were beginning to get the strength and depth in the squad and had a good mixture of youth and experience.

What are the aspirations now?

Lincoln:
When you look back over the last three or four years the team right at the bottom doesn't necessarily go down. If you look at Macclesfield last season they were dead and buried, they were that many points adrift but look where they finished. So it's not impossible for us to push up the table. If you put a decent run together the playoffs are not out of the question for sides near the bottom. You can never rule it out but maybe it's a bit too far for us. A bridge too far this season.

Notts: I think we've just got to look to consolidate in League Two. It is too late for a playoff place. If you can't beat teams like Macclesfield Town at home then you aren't going to be good enough.

MacKenzie... Player of the season so far?
Who has been your sides player of the season so far?


Lincoln: I personally think that (Alan) Marriott has been the most consistent but at the same time he has made some howlers that have cost us. The one that sticks out in my mind is the one at Bury when we were leading 1-0 and there was no way Bury were going to get anything out of that game, and he went walkabouts and they score a goal out of the blue. Also, the new lad Danny Hone. He has only played three games but he looks very impressive to come into a team that is struggling and make his mark.

Notts: Neil MacKenzie. You could see we definitely missed his creative spark on Saturday. In the middle he is creative and scores goals too. Richard Butcher's also scoring from midfield and has filled the role on the right-hand side very well. MacKenzie must go straight back in if he is fit on Saturday.

Who do you see as Lincoln City's danger man on Saturday?

Lincoln:
Up until Saturday I would have said Louis Dodds. But he didn't look
Dodds... Dis-interested at City?
as though he was interested. I am just wondering whether if (Mark) Stallard is fit, he may play. And maybe (Jamie) Forrester. They did so well last season and will be dangerous if they get a look in.

Notts: Lee Frecklington is the obvious choice. He is there main creative threat and the player who pulls all the strings for them. Matt Somner has to play in there up against him for Notts and rough him up at the start and he'll be out for the rest of the game.

Who do you see as Notts' danger man on Saturday?

Lincoln:
Jason Lee always looks liable to knock you about. You've got to stand up to him. He is probably the player I fear most because if you're not prepared to play the physical game with him, you will lose out. You have to match him. He will punish you.

Notts: MacKenzie for the reasons above. If he doesn't make it then I think Lawrie Dudfield's creativity. His goal a couple of weeks ago hopefully has given him the confidence.

Do you agree with the earlier sackings of your respective former managers John Schofield and Steve Thompson? Will the decision pay off?

Lincoln:
I think it will yes. We will never find out whether it was best, but I am happy with the changes I've seen and how Jackson operates as boss.

Notts: Yes, he had his time - a year and a bit, and it wasn't working. You could see he had a great eye for a player but his tactics just weren't working in this league.

What do you make of your respective new bosses Peter Jackson and Charlie McParland?

McParland... the right choice
Lincoln:
Even before he was named manager and his name was touted about - I was happy. You only have to look at him at Huddersfield and how he reacts on the touchline to see how determined he is. He has got plenty of passion. He parades up and down the touchline and is bursting to escape the technical area. He likes to communicate to the players and he has given the players a wake-up call for them to show they warrant a place in the team.

Notts: He has had a good start. He likes to get the ball down and play it which is what we want to see. He seems to play through MacKenzie too which is what we need. I think he was the only real candidate other than maybe Peter Jackson but he never seemed to be touted about. He has passion for the club and good contacts and he knows everything about the club.

How important is the game for your club?

Lincoln:
It's a six-pointer as they say because they're in trouble as well and they are only a few points in front of us. We can claw some points back on them put the pressure on them. It's very important on Saturday and a win is very much overdue. I thought we would win at Wycombe and some of the fans I spoke to there said the same. They didn't fancy their chances at all against us.

Notts: Very important. Lincoln are bottom so we must win if we want to consolidate and move away from the bottom. Lincoln have got some good players and I can't really understand why they are at the bottom after their last few seasons.

Where will Lincoln City finish this season?

Lincoln: I have still got the slight aspirations for a playoff place. It is getting now to being a bridge too far but the likes of Peterborough and teams at the top who have spent lots of money, they're not pulling away. It's getting more
Dudfield... A scorer for Notts?
and more difficult but I'd like to think mid-table. Tenth place would be an excellent finish. I think there's a good finish still in Lincoln when Jackson gets it sorted - I reckon we can put a run together.

Notts: Mid-table. Jackson is a good manager in the lower leagues.

Where will Notts County finish this season?

Lincoln:
Again they're a funny side and the fans there are more restless than we are. They finished fourth from bottom the season before last - they are capable of a good run but they struggle to pull it together. I fancy our chances better than theirs. So, mid-table.

Notts: Mid-table aswell. Then next season McParland can bring his own players in and challenge for the playoffs.

Prediction?

Lincoln:
I keep saying a win, but it's going to come and I think it will be Saturday. 2-0 to Lincoln.

Notts: I think a 2-2 draw with Dudfield and Butcher to score for Notts.

Notts. County Match Reports

Sky Bet League Two Sat 18th November 15:00

Notts County 3 - 1 Cheltenham Town

Last game - Match Centre


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