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Club News

Adapting To The Conditions

31 December 2012

Notts County’s change in style has been implemented due to the deterioration of playing surfaces, says coach Colin Lee.

The Magpies have moved from a flexible 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2 system that was used to great effect in the Boxing Day meeting with Shrewsbury Town. 

Part of the change in tactics has seen Notts adapt a more direct approach to play, at the same time as sticking to the passing game that has provided entertaining football since first team manager Keith Curle’s arrival at the club in February. 

Lee explained that the team now have to play football in the right areas to lessen the risk of mistakes caused by winter weather on pitches. 

Ahead of the New Year’s Day encounter with Milton Keynes Dons, he told Magpie Player: “The pitches are getting worse now and you’ve got to look at our pitch here at Meadow Lane.

“It’s getting affected, not just by the rugby but by the weather, so you have to take that into account.

“It’s not an ideal surface to get it down and play from the back so we’ve had to recognise that and had to change a few of our key performance indicators.

“That’s in terms of the way that we want to play and not invite pressure onto ourselves.

“We take the pressure away from the players and take the play further forward as often as we can, without just launching it.”

Lee feels that the formation will get the best out of the frontmen at the club and drew attention to the experienced duo that started against the Shrews. 

He continued: “When you bring players into the team like a Lee Hughes, you have to play to his strengths, it’s as simple as that. 

“We know that as soon as the wide player gets the ball, Lee moves and he puts himself between centre-halves and full-backs, and therefore we’ve got to try to use that advantage by delivering balls into that area as often as we can.

“In Chris Iwelumo, we know we’ve got to play in to him, because he’s not going to run the channels for us.

“You’ve got to recognise that and play to their strengths, and I think we did that well at Shrewsbury for the first time.

“The question now is: can we produce that kind of performance at home to MK Dons? 

“A completely different style of play, MK Dons will try to get it down and they will try to play through us. 

“They play with one up and one off, which is the way that we’ve played all season, so we’ve got to take our play to them but also recognise their strengths when they’ve got the ball and try to nullify that. 

“It will be an interesting afternoon and I think our wide players will have to do a specific job out of possession and, obviously, a very important job in possession.

“It will be interesting tactically to see which team comes out on top.”

For the full interview with Colin Lee and Colin West, sign in to Magpie Player.

To purchase tickets for the New Year’s Day encounter with MK Dons (3pm kick-off), visit

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