NCM Report Cards: #14 - #19

Last updated : 15 July 2005 By Rob Davies
With the first Xl (and Chris Palmer) reviewed individually, NCM have decided to group the other squad members together as we look to polish off our report cards.

So, we begin with one of THE world's best number fourteen's. No, it's not Thierry Henry. Not even Johan Cruyff. It is, simply, the one and only Sir Paul Bolland.

#14 Paul Bolland

Position: Midfielder
Appearences 04/05: 43 (2)

Season Highlight: Captaining the side for the first time.
Season Lowlight: Sustaining the first red card of his career for a dreadful two-footed lunge.

This was the last season of Paul Bolland in a Notts County shirt, after the ginger-haired midfielder was released at the end of the season to join League Two rivals Grimsby Town.

Despite one of his better seasons since signing from Bradford in 1999, few fans' will shed tears at his exit.

Another season where his lack of genuine ability was painfully apparent, the 25-year-old's tremendous work rate at least managed to sufficently impress then-manager Ian Richardson enough to give him his Player of the Season award. A nice leaving present, then.

Season Rating (out of 10): 6

#15 Matty Williams

Position: Forward
Appearences 04/05: 11 (12)

Season Highlight: Tearing Bradford apart in the Carling Cup First Round.
Season Lowlight: His continual frustration as his attempts to break into the side were denied.

A season that started with much promise ended up proving to be hugely frustrating for the player signed from Man Utd in March '04.

After being branded the new Tony Hackworth before the season began, the lightweight Williams proved he did have the ability to make an impact at this level in early fixtures at Bradford and Lincoln. However, a mix of bad luck and lack of faith from management meant the nippy forward was unable to build on those displays and cement his place in the Magpies' line-up.

With him now one of six strikers at the club, Williams may now find that midfield could be the option after a season that harboured just one goal.

Season Rating: 5

#16 Steve Scoffham

Position: Striker
Appearences 04/05: 3 (4)

Season Highlight: Finally returning to the first-team as a substitute against Bristol Rovers.
Season Lowlight: Breaking his leg for a second time, meaning his season was reduced to just seven appearences.

If Williams' first full season for the Magpies was frustrating, Scoffham's was borderline unbearable. Desperate to take his chance in his first season as a fully-fledged professional, Scoffham began the season recovering from a broken leg he'd sustained on the final day of the previous season.

When the 21-year-old was then close to a comeback in November, the crack re-opened in the leg, leaving the homegrown striker stricken until a late-season return in March.

After an understandably quiet return after so long on the sidelines, Scoffham has been given a new one-year deal to prove himself once and for all. For him, it is without question, a make or break campaign.

Season Rating: 5

#17 Rob Ullathorne

Position: Left Back
Appearences 04/05: 37 (2)

Season Highlight: No stand-out moment, just consistently good displays.
Season Lowlight: Sustaining a groin injury that kept him on the sidelines for eight weeks and plauged him ever since.

One of the few success stories' of a miserable campaign, reliable left back Rob Ullathorne's experience has proved a valuable asset throughout the past season.

By far the most consistent (if consistent is to be taken as a positive term) of the entire playing squad, the former Premiership and La Liga man even earned the dubious honour of the NCM Editor's player of the year.

Played almost the entire second half of the season with a groin injury, with that hopefully now sorted - we should be able to look forward to another season of quality from the veteran.

Season Rating: 8

#18 Shaun Harrad

Position: Forward
Appearences 04/05: 5 (10)
Season Highlight: Impressing infront of a nationwide audience on his first senior start.
Season Lowlight: Being sent off whilst on-loan at Tamworth, even if it did eventually prove a blessing in disguise.

Like his striking compatriots Williams and Scoffham, season 04/05 was a season for Harrad that promised a lot but delivered little - largely through no fault of his own.

After being handed his first ever pro contract, young Harrad's attempts to break into the senior team were largely unsuccesful, initially being farmed out to Tamworth on a three-month loan.

After the removal of Gary Mills, things did pick-up for the homegrown forward though. A first start in the televised FA Cup match against Swindon saw the youngster really shine, whilst impressive cameos led to supporters asking why he wasn't given a regular run in the first-team.

What's more, after finally netting his long-awaited first senior goal at the very end of the season, Harrad has plenty to build on going into the coming campaign.

Season Rating: 6

#19 Emmet Friars

Position: Defender
Appearences 04/05: 5 (5)

Season Highlight: Producing a display of tremendous assurance against Swansea.
Season Lowlight: Constantly being over-looked, despite the Magpies' on occassion being down to the bare bones defensively.

Another product of the Meadow Lane youth system, it's been a tough first season in pro football for Friars. Despite twice leading the Youth Team to the Midlands FA Cup and regularly captaining the reserves in the past two seasons, the defender found first-team apps hard to come by.

Clearly has the potential to go far in the game, the reliable Northern Irish under-21 cap may again struggle to make the breakthrough as he is now one of a sizable EIGHT centre backs in the first-team squad.

A huge task, but one Friars will be more than happy to take on.

Season Rating: 6

For the conclusion of the Report Cards, be sure to stay tuned to NCM.