Barnet v Notts... BIG match preview

By Paul Smith
Last updated : 06 November 2007

Two straight wins for Notts - what a rarity! And an away win - just as much a rarity these days! Now there is a chance for consecutive away wins and a third straight win to get Notts surging up the table.

The famous Underhill slope
Optimism is at an all-time high for the season and the players are starting to produce under recently appointed Charlie McParland.

In truth, a trip to Underhill just a fortnight ago would not be at all welcoming, but now the picture is totally different. Indeed, a Notts win would close the gap on the Bees to just three points and they've had a great start to the season while Notts' has apparently been awful.

The chance is there - now can the players take it?

Team news

Notts - Matt Somner and Andy Parkinson are back in the squad after missing

Parkinson... In contention
Saturday's match through suspension and injury respectively. Jay Smith is still shy of match fitness while Spencer Weir-Daley's virus keeps him from the squad. Jason Lee and Mike Edwards are definitely out.

Barnet - Kenny Gillet could return following seven games out with a broken foot but leader Ismail Yakubu is definitely out. There is a doubt over marksman Liam Hatch who could require a late fitness test following a knock on his ankle on Saturday.

Form guide

Notts - Lost four and won two in the last six makes things sound bad for the Magpies but in truth it is two wins on the bounce and things are looking up. Away from home this season Notts have three draws, three defeats and one win on their travels.

Barnet - One win in four for Paul Fairclough's men in the league. Last time out Bury stung them with a convincing 3-0 win at Gigg Lane which followed a home draw with Accrington. However, sitting in eighth and just a point from the playoffs illustrates the good start they have made and from September 1st to October 6th they went eight games without defeat, winning six of them. At home it is three wins, three draws and just one defeat.

The view

Notts - Captain Stephen Hunt thinks it is coming together in defence. "We had a shaky start and obviously the change of manager don't help but I think whoever is in back four we are all good defenders and with 'Pilks' (Kevin Pilkington) behind us aswell its very solid."

Stand in skipper Hunt
The former Colchester man also believes that confidence is at a high.

"When you have won two on the bounce you want to have a game every day if you can because the confidence is there. We've won the last two and the boys are looking forward to it," he said.

Hunt has taken the captain's armband In the continued absence of long-term injury victims Mike Edwards and Jason Lee and he revealed just how much he enjoys it.

"It's a good responsibility to have. You get more respect off the players and people start listening to you so it's a good thing. I know I can say certain things which maybe before I couldn't now I just come out and say it," he admitted.

"It's an honour to get it at my age, 22, usually it goes to a senior player."

Barnet - Speaking after the Bury defeat Fairclough said: "I'm not down, it's not my job to be down. I'm the eternal optimist and I'm looking to win the next game now. The players might be a bit down but I'm going to analyse things and we've got another good chance to put things right (against Notts)."

Key men

Notts - Craig Lindfield made an immediate impact on his debut at Accrington with a superb goal and impressive all-round showing. The on-loan Liverpool teenager showed his pace, work-rate and willingness to shoot making him a

Hatch... If fit a real threat
real danger for the Barnet defence. Despite his age, it is obvious he is from a good background and his movement around the box, coupled with his finishing, will be different to anything the Bees have faced yet this season. That unknown factor could be key.

Barnet - Should he pull through his fitness check there is no doubting Liam Hatch as the hosts danger. Just missed out on the League Two player of the month award for October to MK Dons' Lloyd Dyer, after a superb month of goalscoring action. Hatch has actually figured mainly from the bench, appearing ten times from there and with only three starts. He has still scored five times making him a potent force. A willing worker, at 6ft 3 he is good in the air too.

Big battle

Lee Canoville v Jason Puncheon

Canoville has improved immensely since his return from injury with two faultless performances on the trot and a new found steel about himself. But he faces one of his biggest tests of the season against winger Puncheon. The former MK Dons man is a real attacking threat and has scored five goals in fourteen league games from the left wing. He makes countless chances too, and Canoville will have to be as solid as he has been recently to nullify Barnet's greatest threat. Potentially lapse defensively, Puncheon may allow Canoville chance to break forward which he loves doing, but if it goes wrong there may be trouble.

Possible line-ups.

Lindfield... could be celebrating again
Notts - 442: Kevin Pilkington; Lee Canoville, Adam Tann, Stephen Hunt, Paul Mayo; Richard Butcher, Matt Somner, Neil MacKenzie, Myles Weston; Lawrie Dudfield, Craig Lindfield.

Barnet - 442: Lee Harrison; Joe Devera, Nicky Nicolau, Sagi Burton, Kenny Gillet; Ashley Carew, Josh Wright, Neal Bishop, Jason Puncheon; Liam Hatch, Adam Birchall.

Prediction

Both sides would probably be happy with a point following their respective results at the weekend. There will be goals, but these are two close teams and it will be tight. 1-1 with Notts to go ahead through Lindfield.

Notts. County Match Reports


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