Notts v Chester... NEW START match preview

By Paul Smith
Last updated : 18 January 2008
It has been a hectic week on NCM, even in spite of a lack of transfer activity - even though a striker must surely remain a priority for Notts boss Ian McParland.

McParland of course entertained NCM editors Paul Smith and Gary Moss into
Meadow Lane... Home comforts?
his managers office at Meadow Lane earlier in the week, and discussed, amongst other things, the time for Notts to begin a run, to start a fresh if you like.

So let's start as we mean to go on with a much needed victory against a good side in Chester.

The Bluebirds have slipped up of late but have one of the finest away records in the division and are still only seven points from a playoff spot.

The time has come Ian...

Team News

Notts - Neil MacKenzie is out having flew back to Germany for work on his hernia injury. Guy Branston is also out suffering with the calf injury sustained
Butler... His return huge Chester boost
on his debut a fortnight ago. Myles Weston and Jason Lee are available, while Jay Smith is set for a return the squad. Krystian Pearce is now back with Birmingham City.

Chester - Former Notts loanee Craig Lindfield has signed and will start. Captain Paul Butler is set to return to bolster City's defence having missed out recently through injury. He'll take the place of the suspended Paul Linwood. Tony Dinning misses out, as does John Murphy. Simon Yeo is at Bury and Tony Grant is some way off a return.

Form guide

Notts - The Magpies are on a run of no wins in six games with the last coming at home to Shrewsbury Town 2-1. Four of the six have been defeats, with Notts now sitting in 20th position, only four from the drop zone and having won just five all season.

Chester - Eleventh placed Chesterfield are seven points off the playoffs but are in their worst run of form of the season so far. They are without a win in five and have lost four of those, failing to hit the target in three of the games. They did find the net three times in two of the games - once losing 5-3 at Morecambe.

Last time out

Notts County 1-2 Chester City (January 1 2007)
Lee... Prolific last term


Notts' New Years Day was ruined by a poor showing that ended with a deserved loss to the Bluebirds at Meadow Lane.

In front of just 4,019, the visitors took the lead after 34 minutes when Jon Walters hit an unstoppable drive beyond Kevin Pilkington from 25 yards out.

Notts managed an equaliser when the then prolific Jason Lee headed home an Ian Ross free-kick right on half-time following a contentious freekick awarded after Lawrie Dudfield was fouled by Jamie Hand.

The second half was a scrappy affair, but City won it on 78 minutes when Ashley Westwood headed home a perfectly flighted Roberto Martinez corner.

Key men

Notts - Felix Bastians has provided some excitement for McParland with two
Ellison... Goal threat
bright displays since his loan move from rivals Nottingham Forest.

His ability to whip a good ball into the box, and his shoot on sight policy makes him a real threat for Chester on Saturday.

Bastians has provided a lot of width and he will be a key component of the Notts attack.

Chester - Another left winger on show will be Chester's main man.

Kevin Ellison has the ability to pop up with a goal from anywhere, and his physical approach upsets many a full back in this league.

His height make him a threat from set-pieces also, but it his directness and willingness to get forward that is most impressive.

Big battle

Richie Partridge started the season in imperious form for City, and is a
winger with a lot of ability.

The right sided player loves to run at defences and has a good eye for goal to go alongside his impressive assists tally. Partridge has lost his way a little bit recently - something that has unsurprisingly coincided with City's own bad run, but on his day he is a crucial player for them.

That means whoever plays at left back for Notts will have a tough test.

It is likely to be Austin McCann with the lack of centre-backs forcing Stephen Hunt back inside. McCann has the experience to deal with Partridge, but might have to negate his attacking will.

The Scotsman was a regular last season but has been forced into a bit-part role this time around.

That he has stuck to his task and kept working hard to keep forcing his way back into the team is testament to his work rate - but his inability to keep his place also illustrates a bad point.

Tomorrow he knows he must perform.

Possible line-ups

Notts - (4-4-2): Kevin Pilkington; Lee Canoville, Adam Tann, Stephen Hunt, Austin McCann; Ali Gibb, Gavin Strachan, Richard Butcher, Felix Bastians; Lawrie Dudfield, Spencer Weir-Daley.

Chester - (4-4-2): John Danby; James Vaughan, Shaun Kelly, Paul Butler, Laurence Wilson; Richie Partridge, Mark Hughes, John Welsh, Kevin Ellison; Craig Lindfield, Paul Holroyd.

Prediction

With both teams in dire need of points, and both on such a bad run of form it doesn't look too much an enticing encounter. Both are struggling for goals, so a low scoring draw looks the smart money. 1-1.

Notts. County Match Reports

Sky Bet League Two Sat 20th January 15:00

Notts County 1 - 2 Exeter City

Last game - Match Centre


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