A ROUGH GUIDE TO... ALFRETON
Notts' pre-season campaign is beginning to resemble a magical mystery tour of small, mostly irrelevant Derbyshire towns, with Alfreton being added to the weekend's pair of Buxton and Ilkeston as Keith Curle's side step up their preparations for the new season. Notts face Nicky Law's Blue Square Premier side at the Impact Arena this Wednesday evening, with the match kicking off at 7:30pm. NCM will be covering the match on Twitter, so follow @NottsCountyMad if you like that sort of thing.
WHAT WILL I HAVE TO SHELL OUT?
Adults - £8
Concessions - £4 (Over 65 & Under 16)
HOW DO I GET TO ALFRETON, THEN?
The trip to Alfreton is an easy one, with Google Maps estimating a journey time of around half an hour. The suggested route sends fans briefly north on the M1, exiting at Junction 28 to head into Alfreton itself. The Impact Arena is in the centre of Alfreton, just off the B600 Nottingham Road, which represents the slower, scenic route if you enjoy looking at fields.
Alfreton is also reasonably easy to access by train, with direct services running from Nottingham and taking just under half an hour on average. Trains depart Nottingham on the outward journey at quarter past and quarter to every hour, arriving in Alfreton at around twenty to and ten past respectively. Coming back, fans will need to catch the last train back to Nottingham at 22:05, which arrives in at 22:38. A standard adult, off-peak day return ticket costs £8.40 and can be bought from the station. Fans arriving by train should exit the station and turn right onto Mansfield Road, following it along until they see a left turn called Prospect Street. At the end of Prospect Street, take a right turn onto Nottingham Road and the ground should be immediately on the left.
The bus is also an option for fans wishing to use public transport, with Trent Barton's rainbow one service running to Alfreton and back via Eastwood. The 17:40 service from Victoria Bus station arrives in Alfreton at 19:00, but there are no bus services back to Nottingham after the match.
WHAT IS ALFRETON LIKE AS A PLACE AND A TEAM?
Alfreton has an interesting enough name, for one, having been derived from King Alfred who supposedly founded the town himself. Unfortunately this seems to be all that Wikipedia can tell us about the fine town of Alfreton, apart from that East Midlands Today weather lady Sally Pepper is apparently from the town. That needs a citation though, so don't get your hopes up. The football team, however, a far more interesting - at least in recent years. They're riding the crest of a wave at the minute, with Nicky Law's side having just exceeded expectations by staying up comfortably in their first season in the Blue Square Premier. Former Buxton manager Law has rebuilt the entire playing side of the club, winning few friends with an uncompromising style that sees the Reds pick up plenty of red cards, but also making them extremely difficult to play against. They even picked up a Conference North title along the way.
The current squad lacks experience but makes up for that in heart and a willingness to fight for the club. Having lost top goalscorer in their title season, Liam Hearn, to Grimsby last summer the club had to rely on Nathan Jarman for goals last season, but with his departure to Chester having been finalised, there is a big hole to fill. The main candidates seem to be Paul Clayton, Hearn's former partner and consistent performer and Chris Senior, who once hit double figures for Altrincham in the Conference and scored Darlington's winning goal in the FA Trophy final against Mansfield. Other players to watch out for include former Mansfield trainee Nathan Arnold, Derby defender Theo Streete and experienced defender Darran Kempson. There may be some talent on show - Alfreton have sold Kyle McFadzean and Aden Flint to Crawley and Swindon in recent years, with both having become two of the Football League's most sought after young defenders.
IS THE IMPACT ARENA NICE?
It seems reasonable. The capacity is just 3,600 but with 1,500 of that being seated and 1,000 covered, there should be plenty of room to sit down and a bit of protection from the elements. The ground also boasts the club's bar, which serves the "cheapest beer in town", apparently.