Match Preview: Boston Utd

By Rob Davies
Last updated : 18 November 2005
The Notts County fans who make the trip to York Street may do so with an element of caution. The Magpies have only ever met the Pilgrims three times in competitive action but, already, the very mention of the name Boston will conjure up negative images in the minds of the Notts faithful.

After all, it was barely over a month ago that Steve Evans' side became the first team this season to leave Meadow Lane with all three points, thanks to two comical goals. Notts' performance during that 2-1 defeat was widely-criticised, but so was Boston's conduct, in a match where they had two players deservedly sent-off.

And a scan-back just a few months more, this time in March, saw Notts' first-ever visit to York Street marked by a 4-0 defeat.

The world-renowned Mr Evans
That loss ranked alongside other away-day batterings at Mansfield Town and Rushden & Diamonds as the low point of last season, with supporters - including NCM's very-own Richard Brown - labelling their team 'a disgrace' after the final whistle.

Those two demoralising losses to the Lincolnshire-outfit, coupled with the freezing weather and the shabbiness of York Street itself, means that tomorrow's journey - as short as it is - is likely to be one for the hardcore support.

There is hope, though, that it isn't just the Notts County supporters keen to avenge the past two defeats to tomorrow's opposition.

Remember, as well as the Pilgrims' antics during their victory at Meadow Lane being a particularly source of anger amongst the County players, it was that defeat that triggered manager Gudjon Thordarson's now infamous bootcamp-style training that didn't exactly prove popular within the dressing-room.

There are scores to be settled, make no mistake about that.

Worryingly though, after a slow start to the campaign, Evans' team have gone from strength-to-strength.

The Boston manager took a massive gamble in the summer, signing an array of big-names, the pick of which being former England under-21 striker Julian Joachim, who became the highest-paid player in the club's history when he signed a two-year £4,000 a week contract.

And the gamble is so-far paying off, on-the-field at least.

The Pilgrims' currently lie 10th in the League Two table, though it is their away record that means they are not higher in the division - with their win at Meadow Lane their only success on the road all season.

At home, however, it is a different story. Evans' side have yet to be beaten at York Street, with his teams' recent form illustrated perfectly by a mid-week demolition of Swindon in their FA Cup Round One replay. Boston eventually ran out 4-1 winners, but were 4-0 up by half-time.

Prior to last weekend's last-gasp defeat at Rushden, the Pilgrims' had actually been on a record unbeaten run that had dated 12 games.

Put off making the journey yet?

Evans himself, of course, will be a source of irritation for travelling fans, with the po-faced, opinionated Boston manager's latest rant being at Football League officials for daring to give someone else the October Manager of the Month award.

One man who certainly won't be concerned with getting another Manager of the Month award is Thordarson, whose side have tumbled down the table since he received the accolade for August.

Gudjon: May opt for 4-5-1
The Magpies' mini-revival ended last weekend, with a dire display at home to Cheltenham resulting in a 3-2 defeat.

However, Thordarson has a near-clean bill of health as he looks to select a team capable of ending Boston's home unbeaten record. Steve Scoffham is the only absentee, with the striker still suffering from the broken cheekbone he sustained in the FA Cup win over Bristol City.

Tha absence of Scoffham, plus the Pilgims' excellent home record and the poor showing from Andy White last week have led to rumours that Thordarson will opt for a 4-5-1 system tomorrow in a bid to stiffle the opposition.

However, should the Iceman stick with the 3-5-2 formation that had proved successful up until last weekend's defeat, then White will compete with Matty Williams - who netted twice in a mid-week fixture - for a place in attack alongside Glynn Hurst.

Dan Martin misses out on the 18-man squad despite recovering from a rib injury, though Emmet Friars is recalled after missing out last week. Non-contract defender Adam Tann is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up.

Notts (possible): Pilkington; Tann, Baudet, Wilson; Pipe, Long, Edwards, McMahon, Ullathorne; Hurst, White.

Subs (from): Marshall, O'Callaghan, Friars, Gill, Palmer, Sheridan, Williams.

Enjoy the game.

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