Matt Tootle being pushed to ‘new levels’ at Notts County with arrival of Nicky Hunt


Kevin Nolan has paid tribute to Matt Tootle’s outstanding form for Notts County and says the arrival of Nicky Hunt is pushing the defender to “new levels”.

Tootle grabbed his third assist in four games in the 1-1 draw against Carlisle United last weekend when he created Ryan Yates’ equaliser.

But the defender knows he cannot rest on his laurels with former Bolton defender Hunt also vying for the right-back spot having arrived in the summer.

Magpies boss Nolan believes the competition has had a major influence on Tootle and has helped the defender become one of the first names on the team-sheet.

We brought Nicky Hunt in during the window and that was to always make sure that Toots pushed on, and if he did have that sticky spell, we had somebody of Nicky’s class to come in,” he said.

“That’s not to take away from what Toots has been doing but I think Nicky has pushed him to new levels.

“He is breathing down his neck for the right-back spot. We haven’t got just a number one right-back anymore.

Notts County’s Nicky Hunt

“We have two who are pushing each other to the maximum. Toots has arguably been the standout player over the last four or five weeks.

“I am delighted with him, as I am all my players.”

Tootle has also chipped in with a goal this season, having showcased his finishing ability with a goal in the 4-1 win over Lincoln City.

The defender was schooled at Crewe as a youngster and his impressive performances there saw him linked with a move to Blackburn Rovers.

And his performances for the Magpies this season suggests that he is recapturing the form which made him a top talent outside the top two divisions.

Nolan says he couldn’t be happier with Tootle’s contribution and he says the player knows he has every confidence in him this season.

“He’s come through Crewe’s academy and anybody who comes through there you would expect them to be good technically and good on the ball,” said Nolan.

“They have that vision and they are taught that from a young age. We’ve been delighted with him. He’s a fantastic lad. He trusts me and knows I want the best for him.

“It’s given him that confidence that he knows I am right behind him. I think he played in a number of positions before I came in and when I got here I wanted him to be right-back and cement that place.

“He’s been brilliant this season as have the majority of the lads.”

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