Fresh off the news that Harry Kewell will be taking over as the club’s new manager, Notts County are back in Sky Bet League Two action against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
After a busy week off the field, and a difficult opening to the campaign, picking up a win at Meadow Lane would give the squad a boost before they get to work under their new boss.
Currently propping up the table, Notts will hope that a change in fortunes follows the managerial switch starting with a win on Saturday.
Forest Green visit the Lane as one of only four unbeaten sides in League Two – drawing their last four matches since a 4-1 win at Grimsby in the opening game of the season.
First-team coach Mark Crossley will be in the dugout for Notts, with Kewell not beginning his duties until Sunday.
“We’ve tried to keep a smile on the players’ faces and they have been first-class in training this week in terms of their attitude and work ethic.
“Now we want them to go out there and take the game to Forest Green because we are the home team and they need to show Harry what they’re capable of.
“I know their manager really well. I know his philosophies and when he believes in something he’ll stick to it, whether it’s working or not, and they’ve become a better team for it.
“They’re a work in progress and they’re developing very well at the moment. If we take them lightly we’ll have an unpleasant afternoon.”
Forest Green boss Mark Cooper says…
“There’s that 'new-manager' scenario that people talk about where the players get a lift and a free hit because the pressure is taken off them.
“Their crowd will be up for it but, if we go there and play the way we can, we have every right to feel we can get a result.
“We’ve got confidence in each other and in our style of play so, no matter where we go, we feel we have a right to be there and that we can compete.”
Notts are having to shuffle the pack defensively with Matt Tootle and Richard Duffy both sidelined, so Pierce Bird could start following his international call-up this week.
Rob Milsom is available for selection after re-signing on deadline day, while Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain got some minutes in the tank for the Under 23s on Wednesday as he continues to work towards full fitness.
Milsom's fellow new signing, Keston Davies, is ineligible until the away match at Exeter City next weekend.
Conversely, Forest Green have a full squad to choose from and new signing Nathan McGinley is in contention following Thursday’s loan switch from Middlesbrough.
Top-scorer Christian Doidge left for Bolton on Friday so Reuben Reid should lead the line after starting Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Wycombe, and goalkeeper Robert Sanchez could come back in after missing out in midweek.
We’ve met before
Notts have never been beaten by Forest Green, winning two and drawing one of the three meetings between the sides.
In the most recent clash, Tootle scored a late winner to record a 2-1 victory at The New Lawn.
At Meadow Lane last season, Milsom earned a point with a 96th-minute header to preserve Notts’ unbeaten home start to the 2017-18 campaign.
What are the odds?
Both sides are priced 13/8 with Sky Bet to win Saturday’s encounter, while a draw is available at 9/4.
Notts to repeat last season’s 2-1 success is priced 9/1, with Forest Green recording a second 4-1 win of the season at 50/1.
You can bet on the game here.
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