Brentford v Notts... BIG match preview

Last updated : 29 January 2008 By Paul Smith
Griffin Park... Next stop for Notts
Notts are now two games unbeaten, only the third time since Ian McParland took over in October that the Magpies have gone at least two games without defeat.

And they won't want to stop there.

The improvement in the last two games has been in the amount of work rate, dedication and commitment of the players compared to before - and there is little doubt that the win over Chester gave so much more confidence to McParland's charges.

To give up on the run now, and to halt it with defeat at improving Brentford, would be extremely disappointing.

Griffin Park isn't an easy place to go, but the confidence should be up for Notts providing they didn't read NCM's final thought that revealed the statistic that Notts haven't won a Tuesday or Wednesday night fixture since 2006 - eleven games ago.

For that to change would be some result, and another step in the right direction.

Ide... Doubt for Scott
Team news

- McParland is close to having a clean bill of health for the first time under his stewardship with Neil MacKenzie close to being back in contention. Mike Edwards is ready for his second start of the season and Lee Canoville is available following his suspension on Saturday. Guy Branston, whose deal ends shortly, is again ruled out.

Brentford - Ben Hamer's loan deal from Reading has been extended and he starts in goal, with fellow keeper Simon Brown ruled out. Key midfielder John Mousinho is in contention after a lengthy layoff. Scott has new loan signings Osei Sankofa, Craig Stone and Jordan Parkes in his squad. Charlie Ide is a doubt.

Form guide

Notts - Two games unbeaten for Notts, and in the grand scheme of things a fair month having also drew at Hereford on New Years Day even with two defeats following that one. Away from home Notts have won just once all season, drawing seven and losing five. Notts are 18th in the table, eight points above safety.

Brentford - The Bees have just come back from a mid-season break in Spain having not had a game since January 12. Before their break Scott's men were in fine form, having won their last four games and avoiding defeat since Boxing Day. Brentford are 14th, eight points above Notts.

Last time out

Notts County 1-1 Brentford (Saturday August 18, 2007)
O'Connor... Opener last time out

Optimism abound Meadow Lane for the first home game of the season as many anticipated a promotion push. But this was the second in a four-game sequence of draws that saw fans lose their optimism fast.

Both sides now have different managers but then Bees boss Terry Butcher saw his young side take the lead against the run of play just after the hour when Kevin O'Connor tapped home.

The defensive midfielder had been moved up front following a succession of injuries, and tapped home good work from Charile Ide and Sammy Moore.

But current nine-goal top scorer Richard Butcher came up with his first of the campaign with a late strike that sealed Notts a deserved point.

Jay Smith launched a deep centre and Butcher latched onto the loose ball to drive home from the exact spot where moments earlier he had hit off target.

Stephen Hunt then had a late header cleared off the line for Steve Thompson's men.

Key men

Notts - Brentford writer Stuart Amos revealed in NCM's oppositions view that the Bees defence is vulnerable to a tall, powerful player, and Jason Lee fits that bill. Lee has not been a favouriote with a lot of Notts' fans this season
Lee... Too powerful for Bees?
having had to withstand a number of injuries and suspensions. But last seasons 16-goal top scorer has returned to some sort of form of late, playing a huge part in Notts' win over Chester City. He has the ability to ruffle a few feathers which the young Bees defence might run scared of. Naturally, this will leave gaps for the Magpies to exploit. And with goals scarce from strikers, that makes Notts' forwards even more key - isn't it about time one of them scored?

Brentford - Glenn Poole is earning rave reviews since Scott took over with some cool displays on the left wing and some classy goals. Poole has hit a couple of stunners and is a good ball player. If Notts lose sight of him anywhere near the box he has the ability to punish them, and he has an impressive eight goals so far this term - most of which have come since Scott replaced Butcher.

Big battle

Mike Edwards
returned from his long-term injury for his first appearance of the season on
Saturday and performed as reliably as ever at the back. That said, in fairness he wasn't overly extended by the Morecambe attack but is more likely to be if veteran front man Lee Thorpe returns as expected for the Bees tonight.

Thorpe has been in the game a long time, and his nasty streak coupled with his abilities in and around the box make him a chief threat for Notts to deal with.

Edwards' famed composure will have to be on show
against the lively Thorpe who will work hard and do his best to wind up the Notts man.

If Edwards is able to come through a second 90 minutes in four days it will be a great achievement, but stopping Thorpe will be another achievement and one which could prove vital to the game.

Possible line-ups

Notts (4-4-2) - Kevin Pilkington; Adam Tann, Mike Edwards, Stephen Hunt, Austin McCann; Ali Gibb, Richard Butcher, Gavin Strachan, Felix Bastians; Jason Lee, Lawrie Dudfield.

Brentford (4-5-1) - Ben Hamer; Craig Pead, Karleigh Osborne, Matthew Heywood, Ryan Dickson; John Mousinho, Kevin O'Connor, Smith, Alan Connell, Glenn Poole; Lee Thorpe.


Notts have got mnore confidence and the Bees may be rusty. If Notts ride an expected early storm given Brentford's lack of recent action, then they could get a draw. 1-1.