Match Preview vs. Notts County

Last updated : 31 January 2007 By Richard Brown

When the two sides met on the opening day of the season, City – and, indeed, County – were wading into unknown, and potentially treacherous water.

Under the guidance of the newly-installed management team of John Schofield and John Deehan for the first time, City were stepping very much into the unknown having, arguably, stepped out of their comfort zone under ex-manager, Keith Alexander.

Would the new management be able to emulate Alexander's relative success? Or would City wilt and fail without the familiarity of KA's painfully effective hoof-ball tactics.

In hindsight, though, neither side should have worried.

Jason Lee during his time at Sincil Bank
'Elbows' the Imp
Whilst City have been the perennials of the automatic promotion places, the Magpies have been knocking on the play-off door all season long, exorcising any relegation demons from last term after coming within moments of relegation to the Conference.

Since that opening day draw, County having only really come undone after some miserable home form.

Whilst John Schofield's men have made Sincil Bank something of a fortress, though, County have enjoyed anything but home comforts at Meadow Lane, with the Magpies failing to secure victory in five of their last six home games.

And whilst City's away form does not make pleasant reading, there are fewer sides Lincoln would sooner face on the road right now than Steve Thompson's side.

With Notts having missed two penalties in last night's 1-1 draw with Barnet, City will surely fancy their chances.

One key area where County may threaten, however, is in midfield, where Lee Frecklington and Scott Kerr will definitely have their work cut out. Put simply: if Kerr and Frecklington lose this battle, then the game is there for the taking.

Having signing a permanent deal following a successful loan spell at Meadow Lane, midfielder Jay Smith will prove a key figure in the middle of the park if the Magpies are to nullify any Lincoln advances.

The former Southend midfielder strikes an all-action figure in midfield, with his balance of tough-tackling and ball-playing abilities wowing the Magpies crowd during his short time there so far.

Alongside him is the burly figure of Dan Martin, who, despite his popularity with the Magpies' faithful, will prove a much lesser threat than his midfield foil.

Whilst much of the Magpies play will go through the midfield, neither Smith nor Martin are likely to pose a significant threat to Alan Marriot's goal.

Although both are capable of chipping in with goals from midfield, it will be an experienced former Lincoln man – namely, Jason Lee – who the Magpies will turn to for goals.

The appropriately named ‘Elbows' Lee has made few friends with his aggressive style of play, although has earned plaudits at the Midlands club in scoring 12 league goals for the Magpies, who boast the mantel of being Lee's thirteenth league club.

Tactics: Notts' likely lads
Whilst Lee will weigh in with the goals, it will be the tireless work of partner Lawrie Dudfield that could well undo the Imps' resistance.

The former Hull City striker has hit a rich vein of late, although his duties are more concerned with working for his experienced strike partner, rather than finding the onion bag himself.

Other key players:

David Pipe – The one-time Welsh cap is by far County's most talented player, although has been shifted to a less-efficient right-wing slot due to lack of other options for the Magpies there.

Played a key-role for Notts in the opening day draw, although was eventually marked out of the game with the second-half the introduction of Paul Mayo.

Mike Edwards
– ‘Steady Eddy', as he affectionately known at Meadow Lane, will provide staunch resistance for the Imps' forwards, although could easily be overcome with an Imps front-line firing on all cylinders.


All in all the game should prove quite a spectacle, with both sides priding themselves on ‘playing a bit' in a league otherwise made up of hairy arsed, gorilla centre-halves.

The short trip to Meadow Lane will be one I, and indeed many Imps fans, will relish as City hope to improve their largely disappointing away form.

or exclusive, pre-match interviews with the City management, be sure to check back to LCM over the coming days.