Notts County boss Kevin Nolan eager for Magpies to keep soaring to new heights


As good as Notts County have been this season and amid the verbal confetti which has rained down upon them, it has been easy to forget this team has yet to fulfil its true potential.

Kevin Nolan will be the first to admit that if his team are to continue defying all expectation in what has been a remarkable start, then there remains a great deal of work ahead.

Nobody had expected this team to be among the division’s frontrunners so early on especially when the original objective was to consolidate after last season’s tumultuous campaign.

The challenge facing Notts is to stay there until May in what would represent an astonishing achievement given this team is still very much in its infancy.

While Nolan accepts that he has individual players who have felt this kind of pressure before, it’s still very much a new experience in a different environment.

“This is new to everybody right across the whole board,” he said.

“I’ve had three promotions myself from the Championship into the Premier League, Shola Ameobi has, Nicky Hunt, and so too has Alan Smith.

“Then you’ve got the lads who have moved from League Two into League One, and League One into the Championship.

“But it doesn’t matter because it might have been a totally different part of their career. They might have only played five games, 10, 20 or whatever.

“They might have played a major part, or just a little one. But what they would have seen is how good the experience is when it does happen.

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Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan is seeking a win over Newport.

“What this group is learning is they have to work so hard to maintain it so they can get to the ultimate goal which is to get up and out of the league.”

Prior to the Mansfield Town league defeat last month, Notts had gone 10 games unbeaten, but their form since has, in keeping with the rest of the division, been up and down.

After beating Barnet 2-1 at Meadow Lane, a 2-0 defeat came at Crewe before a fine second half performance rescued a point at Carlisle.

They are not the only team in the top seven experiencing this kind of turbulence which underlines just how competitive it is.

Top can beat bottom, but bottom can also easily beat top if you are not prepared, which was underlined by Forest Green’s recent victory over Coventry.

That is why Nolan is eager for his team to build some momentum because consistency in results, allied with performances, is what will undoubtedly be the difference come the end of the campaign.

Saturday presents a chance to “get back on the horse” as Nolan called it when he looks to secure a win over a Newport side undergoing their own renaissance.

They managed to stay up on the last day of the campaign in May when a 2-1 win spared them from a return to non-league.

Now they are sixth and Nolan admits whichever team he puts out cannot afford an off-day.

“The players know it’s not going to be easy,” he said.

“Three or four weeks ago, we were putting teams to the sword. We had put four past Lincoln and three past Exeter and everybody is going ‘wow’.

“But you go to Mansfield and they go ‘right, you’re coming back down to earth’.

“It is a relentless league and you just go back to the old saying in that the next game is the most important.

“We have a massively important one on Saturday against Newport and that’s not because we are second, and they’re sixth.

“If Newport were bottom of the league, I wouldn’t take them for granted anyway and I wouldn’t be doing anything different in terms of preparations.

“I just think it’s a mentality shift when the lads have got to think ‘right no matter who we play, we have to be on song’.”



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