Talking Notts: "Notts aren't too good to go down"

Last updated : 07 January 2008 By Paul Smith and Gary Moss
Smith: Once again I find myself in a bad mood right through until next Saturday just because of Notts County. Another defeat, and another that came because the players made crucial errors and didn't have the necessary quality or heart. I'm appalled and I fear for the future of Notts. We have to realise now that we are in grave danger of going down. Do you agree?

Moss: Notts aren't too good to go down because very few sides are too good to go down in the modern game. That said, there are worse sides in the division and sides with poorer players. But that attitude will not stand up on the football pitch. What will keep you up is the manager and players realising
Edwards... One of few Smith would retain
there is a problem and knuckling down. Playing for each other and playing for the fans. Once that attitude is applied you may say a month or so down the line that there is still a top half finish on the cards. The way things are going at the moment results wise relegation is a possibility but there is time and quality in the squad for circumstances to change.

Smith: I agree we definitely aren't too good to go down - far from it in fact. Out of the current crop of players I think the only ones I'd keep are Kevin Pilkington, Adam Tann, Stephen Hunt, Neil MacKenzie, Richard Butcher, Mike Edwards and Lawrie Dudfield. Obviously Krystian Pearce and Felix Bastians if we had the chance but that seems unlikely. Talking of Bastians he had a decent debut on Saturday, but the other debutant Guy Branston had an absolute nightmare. What do you make of their signings?

Moss: Well the squad needs freshening up and new faces should help. It is not really fair to judge Charlie on the players he hasn't brought to the club. And Krystian Pearce and Craig Lindfield have both made some positive contributions and if the new lads can do the same then he will be starting to show his managerial capabilities. My next game is against Chester so hopefully I will get a chance to see them in action. I think I am a fairly good judge of a player. Or I have been in the past.

Smith: Just not with Paul Robinson at Spurs just now it seems! To be honest Branston was that bad I would be surprised to see him get another chance to make a positive contribution. He was awful, but you could tell he cared and that was his first game. That is what is missing a bit at the moment from some of the players. Fight, heart, passion and desire. There's no leadership, no communication, nobody crunching into tackles, nobody chasing lost causes just incase. That is what cannot be tolerated. It's painful to watch.

Moss: As a fan that's all you ever demand is effort and drive. If that is missing then there is a right for questions to be asked. Hopefully one result will change things.

Smith: That brings us to the next game nicely - Bradford City away. Is that the game to change things? How do you see it going, I'm fearful.

Moss: Bradford have enjoyed an up turn in fortunes of late and to be honest, brutally honest, Notts are going to be second favourites for most games for now. There will be a big crowd at Valley Parade and maybe that will stir a reaction from the players. It's a place where County can go and win there is no doubt about that.

Smith: I think we can go and win anywhere, we just won't because we don't perform consistently collectively, we rely on midfielders to score, and we haven't got the bite needed to win at a decent team. I still believe in some of
Knight... Nearly joined Notts before Wycombe move
the players at the club, and the likes of MacKenzie and Butcher can be match winners, so that is some hope. But as a squad the problems are huge, particularly when we will be facing a certain Peter Thorne who always scores past us. We could so do with a natural goalscorer right now.

Moss: That's true and many people thought Leon Knight was that man. But then again everyone thought Spencer Weir-Daley would step up and score 20 goals. Fair enough he hasn't played as many games as he may have liked but on the whole he has been disappointing. As for Thorne he is a class act at this level - not an out and out goalscorer, but his contribution to the team will cause Notts problems.

Smith: Problems we could do without considering our predicament currently. The situation has started to get so bad that the man many championed to replace Steve Thompson as manager, Charlie McParland, is now being called to step aside already by some. I cannot understand this and think that would be silly. In McParland we have at least got that passion, somebody who knows the club inside out and somebody who will work his hardest. He needs time, and to be honest it isn't his fault, the club has been dying for a while now. Sure I think he could have done one or two things better, but calling for his head is ludicrous. I trust you'll agree?

Moss: Calling for his head is silly, we all saw what happened to Charlton in the Premiership when they went through three managers in a season. Notts chose to axe Thommo and they must live by there decision. It is hard for McParland to do much without a summer to rebuild and bring in his own players. That may sound like an excuse but it is simply true. My honest opinion is that Notts would have picked up more points under Thompson than they have under McParland. That is not because I believe Thompson to be a better manager, quite the opposite. But I feel that he would have got more from his squad but by the same token if McParland can get through this season and be given time to bring in his players he will do well. You can tell he is a good manager by his choice to try and relaunch the youth system along with his policy to bring in young players.

Smith: I'm preying he does the business. I'd love him to succeed, and if he gets us clear of trouble comfortably, then has a big summer, maybe he can do something next season and Notts can start again the plan to rebuild a club capable of Championship level football by 2012. Talking of Championship level, Colchester United were dumped from the FA Cup by Peterborough this week. League Two teams did well didn't they? Good round four draw for Mansfield too.

Moss: It was an excellent weekend for League Two. And over the last couple
Middlesborough... Tricky trip to Field Mill
of years I have been really impressed by the standard of football at this level. Some of the weekend results just goes to show this. And the great thing about it is that it wasn't a massive surprise to see Posh beat Colchester. It shows that when clubs in this division target Champiosnship it is actually not that unrealistic. You only have to look at last seasons Champions Walsall in the League One playoff places at the moment. I was particularly pleased for Barnet and Paul Fairclough. He has had a tough time of late and claiming a late draw at Swindon may give them the confidence to put their season back on track. Mansfield's victory really was a shock and I am even more sure now that the Stags will stay up. They have fight and goals in their team. To draw a Premiership side next is great for the fans and players. Middlesborough should have too much for them but we should never doubt the magic of the cup.

Smith: Mansfield will beat Middlesbrough. We did away last year, and Mansfield will score at least two in that game. If they defend better than ever, they will win. I sincerely believe that - and it will also put them in further trouble in League Two unfortunately for them. Great point about clubs targeting Championship level football. Notts have for 2012, but that looks wide of the mark currently. But it gives us hope at a time where hope is all we have!

Moss: I fail to see how you can be supremely confident of the 91st ranked team in the Football League beating an improved of late Boro outfit. I suggest you get down the bookies - it could see you begin 2008 very healthily.