The Opposition View: Notts County

Last updated : 11 January 2013 By Jim Bonner

How do you assess the season so far? Do you still believe County can finish in the top six?

So far the season's been one of great disappointment. After starting the season well, things were really starting to look up culminating in one of the most complete performances I've ever seen from a Notts side, at home to yourselves. Since then, we've remained unbeaten away from home (approaching A YEAR unbeaten away from home now) but we've been easily picked off on our own patch.

We're certainly still capable of making the play-offs, Curle just seems to be lacking the formula required to combine all the talent and skill in the squad. He's certainly on the hot seat in the eyes of the fans, failure to win on Saturday could be the final nail in the coffin unfortunately.

Your owner had some choice words to say about the Notts fanbase this week. What do you make of his comments? 

The comments were blown well out of proportion by various media outlets. I think the comments are positive, it's no secret that attendances don't pay for the squad and the overspend is coming straight from his pocket, he's quite right in his stance, he may have deep pockets but after investing £12 million of his own money since taking over the club, he certainly can't keep going on that way. Shrinking the wage bill and squad size will be beneficial in the long-run, especially if it helps to speed up the promising youth set-up.

Portsmouth has seen a mass exodus of players in January. Do you fear the same thing happening at your club? 

Definitely not. As stated, the comments were grossly exaggerated, so I don't expect to see key players leave and this is reinforced by Ray Trew's admirable reluctance to cash-in on Alan Judge despite the fact he'll most likely leave for nothing in the Summer if we fail to achieve promotion. I do expect a few fringe players to be on their way though, especially the likes of Gavin Mahon, Hamza Bencherif and Krystian Pearce. 

Are there any players in this current Pompey "squad" that you covet? 

I must admit, I had to Google this one, it's that hard to keep up with Pompey's playing staff. Without question, Lee Williamson is someone I've long admired and last season ran rings around us on two separate occasions. Dumbuya is the one that impressed me at Meadow Lane earlier this year but that's the only occasion I've seen him so I won't give him Julian Kelly's spot in the starting XI just yet.

The Magpies are 22 games unbeaten on the road, have beaten Pompey twice comfortably this season already and we have not won in 14 games. This should be another cruise to victory, should it not? 

On paper, yes. There's a reason Notts County were crowned the most stressful club to support a few years ago though, nothing is ever 'easy' and our defence has looked less than convincing since Dean Leacock was sidelined with a hamstring injury. We are 22 games unbeaten on the road, quite stunning really but the wins have been replaced with tedious draws recently which only add to the pressure of our dismal home form.

There's an interesting side-story to this weekend's game where if we win we'll have beaten you in all 3 of our kits this season, exciting stuff. I expect a win obviously given Pompey's freefall and anything else would be very hard to take, especially the following game being against Sheff home!

Predict the outcome of the game. 

Call me pessimistic but I've always had a feeling our unbeaten run would eventually be ended by an unlikely candidate and that sticks in my mind with Saturday being a huge banana skin. I'll go with my gut however and plump for another pressure-building draw, most likely with a costly defensive mistake thrown in. 1-1.