Notts County host Exeter City on Saturday in Sky Bet League Two action.
The Magpies will be looking for a second win in three games as they continue their battle against the drop and could move level on points with Yeovil in the fight for survival.
Notts bounced back from a 4-1 loss to Cheltenham with a 3-1 victory at Carlisle before a goalless draw against Morecambe at Meadow Lane last week, taking them to just three points from safety.
Ahead of the clash with Exeter, the Magpies will take confidence from their record against teams in the play-off race having beaten Forest Green, Mansfield and Tranmere in addition to the Cumbrians.
The Grecians, meanwhile, climbed back into the top seven with a 3-0 victory over Colchester last week, which ended their three-match winless run.
They’ll be looking to solidify their spot in the play-offs and go one step further than last season when they were beaten in the final at Wembley.
Notts boss Neal Ardley says…
“Exeter play with energy, press well and have threats like Lee Holmes so it’s no surprise they’re in the play-offs.
“They play with penetration so we’ll have to react to them trying to get in behind us and be aware of how they play and how good their players are – then we need the one-v-one moments to go our way.
“We have to look at the best way to approach this game, give Exeter a real test and give ourselves the best possible chance of winning.
“If we perform to the plan and work together to execute it, I believe we can win every game and that starts on Saturday.”
Exeter boss Matt Taylor says…
“Notts have got a good set of players and the manager has got them organised and given them some structure and belief.
“Only one of the top 10 teams have beaten them at home this season and that shows how difficult it is going to be this weekend.
“We have got a bit of confidence on the back of last weekend and we go to Notts County hoping for another positive outcome but we know how difficult it will be.
“We expect it to be a tough test but all our concentration has to be on ourselves – we know that if we put in a performance that we are capable of, we are a stern test for any opposition.”
Jim O’Brien had stitches removed from his leg on Thursday and will hope to prove his fitness.
Ardley has confirmed captain Jon Stead will be available for selection after going off injured at Cheltenham a fortnight ago.
Exeter could welcome back several key players who have missed out recently with Troy Brown and Aaron Martin featuring for the reserves in midweek.
Pierce Sweeney and Lee Martin have both returned to training and are also in contention.
We’ve met before
Last season’s meeting at Meadow Lane ended 2-1 to Exeter, while Notts were 3-0 winners at St James Park with Lewis Alessandra’s opener followed by Jorge Grant’s brace.
Earlier in the campaign, Enzio Boldewijn’s strike wasn’t enough for the Magpies as the Grecians earned a comprehensive 5-1 win in Devon.
Elsewhere in League Two
Yeovil sit just three points above the drop zone and will look to avoid a fourth straight defeat when they visit MK Dons on Saturday, who have the division’s third-best home record.
Macclesfield are level on points with Notts and will hope to capitalise on the Glovers’ tough trip to Milton Keynes when they welcome Stevenage to Moss Rose.
Cambridge and Morecambe will hope to go one step closer to safety when they visit Carlisle and Swindon respectively, while Port Vale will look to go five without defeat as they host Forest Green.
The afternoon’s officials
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Assistants: Simon Shaw and Steven Rushton
Fourth official: Mark Griffiths