Why it’s important to keep the expectation levels in check at Notts County – Leigh Curtis


It may be very early in terms of the season, given the amount of games which have been played, but there is something incredibly special about seeing Notts County top of the league table.

Whether they can stay at the summit remains to be seen, especially as the lead has changed hands so many times so far this season.

Luton Town and Exeter City have both given up the crown in what is an extraordinarily tough division which underlines the different kind of pressure you face when leading the pack.

All of a sudden the hunters become the hunted and, as we have already seen this season, your rivals invariably take their performance up a notch as they want to claim the prized scalp.

Mansfield Town and Crewe have already done that and it’s no coincidence that the managers of both teams felt they had produced their best performances of the season to date.

As manager Kevin Nolan admitted, teams to tend to run that little bit further and tackle that little bit harder when the league leaders are in town.

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan has done a fine job of transforming the club’s fortunes.

And not for the first time this season, Notts are again being tasked to find a way of keeping hold of the baton when everybody else has them in their sights.

There is plenty of experience in the dressing room which is undoubtedly a bonus and will no doubt aid the younger members of the squad.

But while they may have experienced this pressure elsewhere in their careers, as a group it’s a totally new experience.

You would hope that, having already had the pleasure of sitting top before, they can now predict what will be thrown at them when league duties resume in a fortnight.

But is important to remember that this is also a new experience for the manager who, in his first full season, finds himself in a position nobody thought possible in the summer.

We should not put unfair pressure on him given he is still finding his feet in a tough environment which is still very much new to him.

He has done a remarkable job of transforming this club’s fortunes in the short space of time he has been here, and deserves a huge amount of credit for what he has done so far.

But when you take everything into account, it is important not to get too carried away with the scenario Notts find themselves in.

It’s hard enough to maintain a place at the top of the league, let alone trying to manage soaring expectation levels.

Both support and belief are going to be absolutely crucial as to whether the Magpies can continue to sit at the top of the tree.

For now though at least we can dream at what could be achieved this season and Notts should already feel like winners given the transformation which has taken place over the last few months.

Indeed, Nolan’s team has defied all expectation in what has been a remarkable tale of resurgence given the travails of last season.

And who knows, come May, it could be rewarded with an incredible fairytale ending.



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