Notts focus on grinding out results

Scrap it out: Hoult believes Notts have to learn to finish teams off.
A cup victory at the weekend provided a much needed confidence boost for the team, but now they have to build on this to put a stop to a run of terrible league form.  

Three losses on the trot and no win in the six games that followed the 2-1 triumph over Port Vale have tipped Notts' promising opening to the season on its head.

Gradually sliding down the table, County have now slumped to 15th position in the table, after collecting 15 points in as many games.

In a recent interview with the Professional Footballers' Association, Russell Hoult put this down to the side's inability to grind out results.

"We've been playing some really good football but not had the results to go with our play," he said.

"We've not been finishing off teams by scoring when we've been on top and that has cost us - we've also not kept as many clean sheets as we would have liked.

"I don't think it's the sort of division that you can just play your way out of - it's the kind of league that you have to battle and scrap to pick up points

"A lot of the sides in this division have got players who can do that and on occasions we have lacked a bit of steel and fight - you can't always rely on playing pretty football."

Thirteen games have passed since Notts last managed to shut out their opponents in a scoreless draw at home to Darlington.

Regular defensive 'blighties' have crept into performances, showing up the inability to take advantage of goal-scoring opportunities at the other end.

Saturday's fixture sees the Magpies take on another team struggling at present - Barnet.

The Bees are without a league win in four and sit behind two points adrift of Notts in 18th place, on a total of 13.

Their poor league standing is mainly due to six defeats in their opening seven encounters.

Since then they have recorded three victories against Grimsby Town, Accrington Stanley and Rotherham.

Just one of them, however, was at the Underhill Stadium. In fact, they have lost four, and drawn two of the remaining home ties.

In County's four visits to Barnet, they have been quite successful, winning two and drawing one of the four clashes.

The most recent - last season - saw a 1-1 draw, with Jason Puncheon and Richard Butcher scoring for their respective clubs.

Studying the indifferent form of both teams, it appears that a similar result could be on the cards.