An unwelcome mood returns

Injury crisis: Strachan is one of many injuries that have not aided the team's poor form.
It might as well be classed as an annual event like Christmas or Halloween, because doom and gloom appears to set in yearly without fail at Meadow Lane.

Constant struggles at the wrong end of the table have plagued Notts for over a decade, testing even the most die-hard fans.

There was inkling that County would break the trend this term, with a collection of exceptional performances early on in the campaign against some of the division's high-flyers.

Once again, the time has arrived when optimism is traded in for a truck-load of pessimism, following two uninspiring defeats on the bounce.

After 14 games in last season's relegation battle, the Magpies were on 17 points - two more than the total gained this time around.

This would not be the case if the side had been more ruthless in killing off teams in matches that they had dominated.

Couple this lack of cutting edge with a shaky rear-guard of late, and all the ingredients are in place for a disaster.

No doubt, Ian McParland and Dave Kevan will be working tirelessly to ensure that the team get back on track.

"Perhaps some of them need to have a little look at themselves in the mirror and get on with the job in hand against Bury," said Notts' manager, speaking the club's official website.

"We are miles off where I want us to be and it is going to be a long, tough season for us again, whether people like it or not.

Get on with it: McParland is encouraging his team to halt the losing run.

"What disappoints me most is that when we went a goal ahead we panicked and there was no need to do that.

"We have to be able to hold on to a lead and that was where the game was lost."

Notts face more top-half opposition on Saturday, which is worrying when considering that they have failed to earn a single win against a team in this bracket so far this term.

Bury started the season very brightly, but have more recently come unstuck, losing three on the trot to Rotherham United (2-1), Luton Town (2-1) and Bradford City (1-0).

The Shakers' away form has been quite commendable however, with the Bantams clash proving to be their only loss on the road so far.

It was the visitors who walked away with three points in this fixture last year, as Stephen Haslam, Paul Scott and Nicky Adams helped to secure a 3-1 victory.

Another victory at Gigg Lane secured the double for Bury thanks to Adam Rooney and Glynn Hurst strikes.

Triumph for either team would lift a huge weight off the players' shoulders, whose morale has taken a battering over the past few games.