Notts v Histon... BIG match preview

Following the early exits in both the Carling Cup and Johnston's Paint Trophy this season, the FA Cup takes on greater significance for Notts this year.

Meadow Lane... Awaits cup clash
After a poor first round exit at League One Leyton Orient last year, and at Torquay United in the second round a year previously, Magpies fans are desperate for Notts to at least make the potentially money spinning third round draw and a chance at one of the Premiership big boys.

In fairness Histon will most certainly not be the roll over some may anticipate. They are going great guns in the Blue Square Premier - just a division below Notts - and have in their ranks as coach, a famous former league manager by the name of John Beck who is no stranger to cup success.

But, with Notts in decent form and at Meadow Lane, they should have enough about them to embark on some FA Cup magic - which would be a welcome relief from the pressures of League Two.

Team News

Notts - Loan stars Craig Lindfield and new boy Krystian Pearce have been

Edwards... Remains sidelined
given permission from their parent clubs to feature and both are likely starters. Stephen Hunt should be fit after a knock but may be rested anyway. Jay Smith could figure as he continues his comeback from a groin injury but Jason Lee is not yet ready and Mike Edwards remains sidelined. Spencer Weir-Daley is back after a virus.

Histon - Danger man Cliff Akurang misses his sides big day through suspension, while Mathew Mitchel-King has to make do with a place on the bench due to the form of the defenders who replaced him when he was out injured. Histon are likely to be unchanged from their last outing with a small squad seeking continuity.

Form guide

Notts - It is seven points from nine under the management team of Charlie McParland and Dave Kevan with Notts having won twice and drew once in their last three. That halted a run of four consecutive defeats but the last three games have lifted the club who have conceded just twice in that spell. At Meadow Lane the Magpies have been incredibly inconsistent, winning three, losing three and drawing two of their games in all competitions.

Histon - Four wins on the bounce and only one defeat in ten for the non-leaguers. Manager Steve Fallon picked up the manager of the month award for October and his side couldn't come into the tie in better form. On their travels they have won an impressive five times, losing three and drawing once. In the FA Cup Histon got through their only game - the fourth qualifying round - with a comfortable 4-1 home win over Bamber Bridge.

Fallon... Fancies win
The view

Notts - Midfielder Richard Butcher on the cup tie: "Histon is another tricky one and they are only a division below us so we have to be switched on and professional. On cup days form and all that goes out of the window, and we want to avoid an upset that's for sure and make it into round two."

Histon - Manager Fallon fancies a giant killing: "We're only a league below Notts County and we've got a chance, and I prefer being the underdogs as there's no pressure on us. It will be a difficult game as they've got league players, but we'll go up there and give it a go."

Key men

Notts - If Notts are to get an early goal it could seriously harm a confident Histon side who seem to fancy their chances and Lindfield would be a favourite to strike. He made an impressive start to his Notts career with a debut goal and stunning first performance at Accrington last Saturday before fading at Barnet three days later, but the boy is class. His finishing will be

Lindfield... Natural finisher
something Histon aren't used to at non-league level and his pace will give their defenders all sorts of problems. Getting the ball to him in and around the box should put the Stutes defence to the sword.

Histon - In the absence of Akurang, previous bit-part player Danny Wright has stepped to the fore and become a real threat in front of goal, handing Fallon a selection headache once Akurang returns. That will be after this cup clash, meaning Wright has a terrific chance of staking a regular claim on the biggest of domestic stages. The young striker has six goals to his name this season despite largely being employed in a cameo role. But his recent finishing and desire have caught the eye and he will run himself into the Meadow Lane turf. Given a chance, his confidence at the moment would suggest he'll trouble Notts keeper Kevin Pilkington.

Big battle

Passing v Direct football

Beck was well known for his long ball style of play and getting the ball forward and getting bodies up there - and it worked for him in the 90s. It is continuing to work for him now as he and Fallon employ the same style which has seen Histon's incredible rise up the leagues. Since McParland arrived at Notts, the Magpies have started to play better football on the deck and through the midfield, but Histon will be doing their best to prevent this and stamp there direct approach on the game. Notts must get their ball players on the ball and make sure the back four practise heading - there will be more high balls than in a volleyball match.

Smith... Surprise starter?
Possible line-ups

Notts (4-4-2): Kevin Pilkington; Lee Canoville, Krystian Pearce, Stephen Hunt, Paul Mayo; Richard Butcher, Jay Smith, Gary Silk, Myles Weston; Craig Lindfield, Lawrie Dudfield.

Histon (4-4-2): GK: Danny Naisbitt, RB: Craig Pope, LB: Gareth Gwillim, CB: Patrick Ada, CB: Matthew Langston, RM: Erkan Okay, CM: Adrian Cambridge, CM: John Kennedy, LM: Nathaniel Knight-Percival, ST: Antonio Murray, ST: Danny Wright


Notts to come through it but not without dangerous moments. 3-1 to the hosts with Histon scoring to level matters. Expect Lindfield to be amongst the scorers.