Preview: Imps v Notts County

The league is beginning to take shape right now, but already one or two teams are looking to be a long way off from where they’re tipped to be. Notts County are one of those sides, but don’t be fooled into thinking tomorrow is going to be an easy ride.

Before we go on, I’ll contradict myself a little bit here. Tomorrow will go one of two ways. Either we face the same Notts County side that are effectively on their arse, struggling for a shot and looking lost in possession. That could happen, but far more likely is we get whipped with the tail as they lash out and start their fight back. Their squad has too many good players to languish in the lower reaches for long and their resilience and determination last season hasn’t gone overnight. My fear is tomorrow we see the latter.

The last time we went into a game against a local rival playing in black and white expecting a win we didn’t get it. Last weekend. No easy games, no matter what Yeovil fans tell you after last weekend.

There seems to be some confusion as to what County’s best side is. They normally go 4-4-2 with a traditional pairing up front which you’d expect to be the two £100k men, Dennis and Hemmings. Against Newport in midweek they started with Jon Stead, a decent player in his day but one surely passed his sell by date now. Having said that, he scores past us so if he does start don’t rule him out of the goals.

Boldewijn is active and lively down their right flank and I fear he could give Harry Toffolo a torrid time

They’ve signed Boldewijn in the summer and he is a real threat. He’s active and lively down their right flank and I fear he could give Harry Toffolo a torrid time. He’s not a player you can sit off, nor one you can afford time on the ball. His main danger comes from his crosses, so there’s a chance to cut that out of he gets the better of our full back, but if he’s allowed to carry the ball into the area there could be trouble. Be warned.

Of course, we offer our own threat and County’s defending has been calamitous at times. They possible won’t have their regular right back fit which means our left flank might bring joy, but bear in mind that is Harry bombing on ahead of Bruno. Most of the action will come from that side, Neal Eardley should have the beating of Nathan Thomas.

The middle of the park will be interesting as there isn’t a lot of legs in there. Much depends on who we start, but you’d expect them to have David Vaughan and Noor Husin in there. I’d fancy us to win that battle if we had Pett and Frecklington, but I also think we might see O’Connor in the side. There’s the added spice of this being his old club and players love to get up for games involving their old clubs. apart from Scott Spencer, anyone remember him against Southend in 2011? Awful player.

Here’s some stats to bear in mind; the Imps have won 55% and drawn 35% of the last 20 home games,  scoring in 80% of those matches. The likelihood of us ending with a ‘0’ is slim, the likelihood of losing the game is equally as slim. We do well at home, Sincil Bank is a fortress and County are not expected to bring as many fans as they have in recent years. that could be used to our advantage.

Similarly, Notts County have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last 19 away matches. with our range of attacking options and their fragile defence, we will score. that, I’d be willing to stake my house on. The one I rent out, not the one I live in. Worryingly we’ve only kept a clean sheet in 35% of our last 20 home games. Food for thought.

Notts County last beat us at the Bank in 2009, a game I remember all-too well. We were thrashed 3-0, Luke Rodgers scored in the first minute and went on to bag a hat trick. You have to go back eleven years to find our last home league win against Notts County, we secured a 2-1 win courtesy of Lee Frecklington’s 75th minute strike Freck scored last season too, the County game was his second Imps debut and levelled the game in the 37th minutes after Jon Stead’s opener.

Only four or five of the players who started that game in January will likely start tomorrow. Evolution.

If you followed my betting tip last week you’d be £75 better off. Thanks to Colchester’s last-minute equaliser against Mansfield, my three team accumulator came in.

Away from the match, it’s time for my top tip. If you followed my betting tip last week you’d be £75 better off. Did you? Thanks to Colchester’s last-minute equaliser against Mansfield, my three team accumulator came in.

I like the look of Boro and west Brom to draw tonight, but one of my rules is never throw a Friday fixture into a three match bet because you can get majorly hacked off if it doesn’t come in! There’s two home bankers in there on Saturday though, Villa to beat Reading and Forest to beat Birmingham. I’m taking Villa as it is better odds at the minute, if you’re a proper gambler you might take both. In League One, Barnsley are nailed on to beat Scunthorpe at Glumford Park, but where the sport in betting on that? Instead, take Burton Albion to win at Oxford United. They’re 6/4 on Betway, the same odds as a home win. Oxford have been awful so far and listening to their fans, it isn’t going to get better.

That brings you into our League for the third game, where MK Dons and Exeter has draw written all over it. League Two is always close and there’s more draws than most divisions so it is as safe as you’ll get without picking bankers.

Villa, Burton and a draw in the final game should pay out £70 from a £5 bet. If you want to take a slightly riskier bet, go for Villa, Forest, Wigan and Burton, that’ll be a much juicier £93 with Betway. I’ve gone with the last bet, it depends on whether you fancy risking a League Two draw over a Wigan and Forest double. It’s your money!