Bringing it Home

Last updated : 24 January 2004 By Richard Brown

Pipe : Impressed me no-end
First of all let me start by saying what a difference the four starters made to County’s performance today and what a huge part this crop can seriously play in our now inevitable battle against the drop.

I will start my round-up where Notts looked their strongest today – in the middle of the park. It was here where two of the five debutants – namely Frazer McHugh and Andy Parkinson – excelled for the Magpies.

The first, wearing the number 26 jersey this afternoon, was former-Bradford City man Frazer McHugh. Now in my eyes, this bloke seems exactly the type of midfielder that we have just released in Michael Brough but with bucket loads more talent.

McHugh’s performance, along with Paul Bolland’s contribution, outlines what the new-look Notts side is all about: commitment, passion and attitude.

However in flooding a midfield with this breed of midfielder, the side will only – as they did today – lack what it took to make an impact in the final third.

The next home-debutant was last Saturday’s ‘scorer, Andy Parkinson.

Handy Andy played a strange sort of role today in that he was everywhere. You looked up and you saw him tearing away down the left flank, you look again and there he was on the right before you blink and he was in the middle.

Parkinson looked as versatile as an egg yet much more mouth watering proving that his pace will make him just as useful in the foreseeable future for Gary Mills as his versatility.

Rumour also has it that his manager at Sheffield United, Neil Warnock, was at the game today to keep an eye on his patent talent.

The third – Paul Boertien - and fourth – David Pipe - of the five played in the left and right wing-back slots respectively. It was these two players who really stood out for me today as their presence illustrated, to me anyway, what a pair of proper wing-backs can make a side achieve.

This achievement being added width and speed which Steve Jenkins and Kevin Nicholson never really had to offer the side.

The added width to the side also allows the midfield men to perform more openly and with a little more confidence – Paul Bolland taking full advantage of the new-found freedom.

Pipe, an international with Wales, looked the more effective of the pair as he looked the far more established in the side – possibly down to having got to grips with his team-mates in training for more than a week now as opposed to the day or two which Paul has spent with the squad.

Nevertheless, both looked to be very useful additions to the squad.

Last, and judging by the amount of time for which he was involved, and least is school-boy striker, David McGoldrick.

The 16-year old’s role in the game was minimal at best after being brought into the action just four minutes from time. And in just four minutes, it seems extremely unfair to pass judgement. So I won’t do so.

The performances put in by the new signings certainly give Gary Mills and every other Notts fan food for thought ahead of a week which will see the return of Mark Stallard to the ‘Lane – just a week after leaving for T’Barnsley – and the possible return of Notts legend Tommy Johnson on permanent basis.