Final thought: Notts County - the soft touch

Last updated : 13 January 2008 By Paul Smith

Perusing the message board following Bradford City's comfortable 3-0 win at Valley Parade yesterday, it is obvious that the majority of users are now facing up to the reality that this time next year Notts could be travelling to the likes of Altrincham, as opposed to sides like Leeds United in League One.

Because at the start of the season all the talk, from both inside and outside of

Inviting... Altrincham's Moss Lane
the football club, was of a promotion push.

Instead, after winning just five of the 25 league games played, relegation out of the Football League for the very first time is looking a hugely realistic occurrence.

The oldest league club are in danger of losing that title, and the ship is sinking faster than Marion Jones' athletics career.

There are a whole host of reasons as to why the once proud Magpies have come so far down from their heyday under Jimmy Sirrell, but one of the more recent reasons is that the team - on the pitch - have become a soft touch.

A comfortable three points even for footballing lesser powers such as Macclesfield Town and Bury.

An easy clean sheet for goal shippers Mansfield Town.

Ricketts... So that is what Bradford's keeper looks like
The easiest game a goalkeeper will ever have - ask Bradford's Donavan Ricketts (that is there stopper in case you didn't realise).

A guaranteed away win.

Because Notts, at the moment, have got nothing going for them.

In every side there is usually a shining light to cling to. Something, or someone, who gives hope that it can be turned around.

Take close rivals Mansfield for example. Despite being below Notts and ensconced in the drop zone, the Stags are always capable of winning football matches. That is because they have goals in them. Michael Boulding, whose brace deservedly beat Notts at Field Mill in October, has fired fifteen goals this term for a side second bottom in the league.

Then there is Lincoln City, another side just below Notts, but another who have something to cling to.

In Lee Frecklington they have arguably the divisions best central midfielder. A player who also saw off Notts with ease as the Imps won 2-1 in November. He has been the subject of two transfer bids by Peterborough United in the last week - both turned down. It is understood City would hold out for a stonking £500,000.

Sell him and they have money to play with, the possibility of huge re-

Frecklington... Great talent
enforcements to move away from trouble. Keep him and you have the best at this level anyway.

Where's the money at Notts? The star midfielder? Another point to note about Frecklington is that he is a product of City's youth academy - Notts haven't even got one of them.

No goals, and no strikers capable of scoring goals.

No money, and no player to sell off to boost revenue.

Notts County - officially League Two's soft touch. Welcome next Saturday to three points Chester City.