Stand-in right-back Gary Liddle was full of praise for the Magpies’ new-look centre-half pairing, following the goalless draw with Crawley Town.
Reliable defender Dean Leacock missed Saturday’s trip to the Broadfield Stadium after picking up his 10th caution of the season against Leyton Orient.
As a result, Manny Smith, who had played only three times prior to Saturday’s game due to a serious knee injury picked up at the start of the season, came into the side and looked assured alongside youth team graduate Haydn Hollis.
Hollis had only started one game in 2012.13 prior to the Crawley clash but also made a number of vital contributions to ensure that Notts kept a clean sheet.
“It was a patched up back four, because Haydn’s just come into the team and Manny’s just come in from the cold, if you like, as he hasn’t played much football since he’s come back fit,” Liddle told the press.
“For them two to come in and be part of a back four that’s kept a clean sheet, I thought they were terrific.
“There was a lot of defending that needed doing today – a lot of heroic defending – and we were just determined that the ball wasn’t going to go in our goal.”
He added: “Manny’s been itching to get back in, there’s nothing worse than not playing.
“Haydn’s ideal for this league, he’s a big lad and he can match those big, robust forwards that most teams seem to have in this league and in these two games he’s done very well.”
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The Magpies are in action again on Tuesday night against Preston North End at Meadow Lane. To purchase tickets, visit www.nottscountydirect.co.uk.