Notts County manager John Sheridan has enjoyed an impressive run of September results, despite a poor beginning to the Magpies’ second season in Sky Bet League Two.
Sheridan’s side have experienced a mixed start to the 2016/17 campaign, winning three games, drawing two and losing three in their opening eight matches in the fourth tier of english football.
The Meadow Lane club were on a dire run of results at the beginning of August, with 2-0 away defeats against Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe, in the EFL Cup, a 2-1 loss at home to Plymouth and only a point versus Stevenage.
However, the Magpies have since turned things around, thanks to five victories in seven matches, including a 3-2 triumph over Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road on Saturday. Top scorer John Stead scored a brace to gain three valuable points for the oldest football league club.
“County have enjoyed less than 50% of possession in the majority of their matches, and goalkeepers Roy Carroll and Adam Collin have not kept a single clean sheet so far”
Indeed, the veteran lower-league striker is in form at the moment, and could prove County’s most valuable asset this season. Stead has already bagged 6 goals so far; fellow strike partner Jonothan Forte has also found the back of the net twice.
— Notts County FC (@Official_NCFC) September 17, 2016
It is defensively where the boss John Sheridan has more pressing concerns. County have enjoyed less than 50% of possession in the majority of their matches, and goalkeepers Roy Carroll and Adam Collin have not kept a single clean sheet so far.
The Magpies manager seems in more optimistic mood after the away victory over Cheltenham, however: “We had to put our bodies on the line; I thought we defended really well as a team and to score three goals away from home is always a plus. I’d like to win a few more games like that, not playing great but showing that fighting spirit to get something out of the game.”
These comments and recent results paint a brighter picture at Meadow Lane, compared to that which existed last season. After two managers came and went in the 2015/16 campaign, County’s third appointment of the season, Mark Cooper, departed after their final 2015/16 match due to a dire run of results, which ended in a 5-0 home defeat to Carlisle United.
Sheridan’s improved Notts County have by no means eradicated the turbulence that has surrounded the club in recent years yet, as their 2-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley demonstrated; more consistency is needed if the fans are to be convinced that their club is on the up.
“I understand the supporters as the performance didn’t merit appreciation and I wasn’t happy watching it. I could’ve booed. But I have to stay strong and I will keep faith in my players,” new boss Sheridan said after the loss.
Nevertheless, in twelfth position in Sky Bet League Two, County are in a decent position to progress this season and prove their potential as a high calibre team in that division.
“Their new signings need to gel with the rest of the squad and their form needs to become more consistent if they are to return to League One”
With the size of the city, the capacity of Meadow Lane and the experience present in the squad with the likes of Roy Carroll, Alan Smith and Jon Stead at the helm, John Sheridan will be hoping for at least play-offs as an end of season target.
Their new signings need to gel with the rest of the squad and their form needs to become more consistent if they are to return to League One, and look forward to a brighter future than has been the case in recent seasons.
Words by Joe Tanner
Image courtesy of The Stadium Guide via flickr.com
Video via youtube.com