Where it's all gone wrong

By Dane Vincent
Last updated : 04 November 2008

Butcher: The midfielder admitted that confidence is an issue.
The Notts County camp was buoyant, brimming with belief and bursting with optimism, but now - just two weeks later - the players appear to be lacking confidence and the fans are more miserable than Icelandic bank managers.

NCM has decided to take a look at what has gone wrong, following such a promising opening to the campaign.

One loss in the opening 12 games signalled a bright outlook, but three defeats on the bounce has been enough to convince many that the season has descended into yet another battle against the drop.

Injuries have taken their toll with Stephen Hunt, Jay Smith, Adam Tann, Gavin Strachan and Michael Johnson currently sidelined.

Adam Nowland, Paul Mayo, Russell Hoult, Jason Beardsley have also been missing at points through an assortment of ailments, making the 22-man squad look incredibly thin at times.

Despite Lewis Neal's arrival the team still looks stretched, with competition for places almost non-existent across the board.

Even with a full selection of players to choose from, fights for a starting spot are somewhat feeble, particularly on the wings and in attack.

Delroy Facey and Jamie Forrester appear to remain unchallenged for their shirts by an absence of strength in depth, in addition to Myles Weston and Matthew Hamshaw, who must feel that their places are cemented by a deficiency of natural wide-men within the ranks.

No reserve or youth team adds to this lack of motivation, as players struggle to gain match practice and prove their worth.

Lacking competition: Canham is just one of many players suffering from the lack of a reserve team.

Something needs to happen to rekindle the players' self belief, because morale is clearly low at the moment, and it is filtering through to the stands.

Nothing could have been more of a blow than consistently seeing dominating performances go unrewarded.

A handful of the draws totted up could have easily been converted into victories, but a shortage of composure at one end and silly errors at the other proved costly.

Goal scoring is however, one area that County have progressed when comparing it to the back end of last term.

Defensively, things have gone in the opposite direction, with the side seemingly unable to keep a clean sheet.

Whether Ian McParland needs to revert to last season's reserved mentality could be strongly argued, but what is for sure is that the flurry of concessions needs to be halted.

Most importantly, if Notts are to extricate themselves from this rut, they need to eradicate the all too frequent moments of indecision that played a significant part in dumping them into it in the first place.

This weekend's FA Cup tie away at Sutton United is the perfect opportunity to lift the mood in the dressing room.

Everyone remembers last year's defeat to Havant and Waterlooville though, and a repeat of that may well indicate a very difficult season ahead.

Notts. County Match Reports


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