Notts County manager Kevin Nolan not taking Checkatrade Trophy for granted as he targets win over the old enemy


With their heads bowed, and looking as though they carried the weight of the world on their shoulders, the images of derby day for Notts County remain fresh in the memory.

It is less than month since the black and white juggernaut was grounded to a halt by a Mansfield team who undoubtedly took great joy in inflicting considerable pain on their old enemy.

But in this game you don’t have to wait long for a chance of some redemption and on Tuesday night the pair lock horns once more in the much-maligned Checkatrade Trophy.

While victory will not only severely damage Mansfield’s hopes of progress in the competition, it will also help restore some of the pride lost so disappointingly at the One Call Stadium.

There is also an unbeaten home record to protect so you could understand why the manager Kevin Nolan is treating this fixture with the utmost respect.

“We want to win the game and get through to the next round,” said Nolan, whose side are second in the group table behind leaders Lincoln on goal difference.

“We want to have a good run and keep the momentum going. We are at home and we have that mentality in which we feel we can beat anyone.

“And we should have that feeling, but it’s going to be a tough game because it’s a derby and they will throw everything at us.

“They will raise their game as they did last month when we were top of the league so my lads should not be expecting anything less.

“But since they have beaten us they haven’t won since and there’s no better way to take the pressure off by winning a derby.

Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans will be looking for a second win over Notts.

“It’s a chance for them to get back to winning ways and I am sure Steve Evans will be looking at that.

“We want to use our proud home record to our advantage. Every win means something and hopefully it can start a bit of momentum.”

Had this fixture been played in the league, it would have attracted a five-figure crowd, but such is the continued indifference shown to this competition by the fans, a gate of around 2,000 is expected.

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Both teams are also expected to make changes although in accordance with the competition’s rules, four of the players starting the game must come from the first team.

With Notts’ boasting an extremely strong squad, whatever side Nolan puts out is going to be blessed with a fair degree of experience in it.

And he says it is a chance for those players to show why they should be pushing for a place in his starting 11 when league duties resume at home to Newport on Saturday.

“It’s a great game for the players who haven’t had the exposure of minutes they perhaps would have wanted,” said the former Newcastle and West Ham midfielder.

“It’s a chance for them to show me that they are ready and waiting so if we do get an injury, they are raring to go.

“We have a squad capable of handling the cup competitions as well as the league.

“So there’s no pressure on the players because they are part of this squad for a reason.

“They are pushing the 11 to new heights and maximum levels, but what they’ve got to do is now prove why we either retained them or signed them.

“They’ve got to enjoy it because it’s in a good competition, a great pitch, a great stadium and a great dressing room.

“Enjoy that fact, take the bull by the horns and express yourself.”



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