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Preview: Coventry City (A)

Notts begin 2017-18 campaign at the Ricoh Arena

4 August 2017

Almost three months on from a dramatic final-day contest at Newport County, Notts return to Sky Bet League Two action full of hope as they begin the 2017-18 season away at Coventry City.

The Magpies have made a number of key additions to the squad over the summer, most recently Ryan Yates on a season-long loan from near neighbours Nottingham Forest.

Popular playmaker Jorge Grant, who was so influential for Notts in the second half of 2016-17, has also crossed the Trent, while Lewis Alessandra and Shaun Brisley have also arrived.

With the nucleus of the squad which showed play-off form under Nolan kept together, it's been a positive pre-season at Meadow Lane.

Home friendlies against Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic demonstrated promise within the Notts squad and supporters, as ever, head into the opening day of the season with boundless optimism.

Notts boss Kevin Nolan says...

Kevin Nolan pre-Coventry

"I'm absolutely buzzing for it now. The boys have been ready for a number of days so we're really looking forward to it."

Click here for more from the manager.

Coventry manager Mark Robins says...

"We're set, we're ready and we've been working really hard in preperation for this game. We've had a good pre-season with very few casulties , which is all you can ask for.

"The season can't come round quickly enough. I think the lads would have wanted it to start a couple of weeks ago, but it's a good, tough game, played at home which is always a bonus."

Team news

Curtis Thompson in action

Kevin Nolan confirmed a clean bill of health for his side with Curtis Thompson recovering from a hamstring problem to give the manager a full complement to choose from.

Dangerman

Peter Vincenti was one of the more eye-catching additions made by Coventry over the summer.

The Jersey-born midfielder fell out of favour at Rochdale last season despite scoring 24 goals for the Greater Manchester club over the previous two campaigns.

At the age of 31, there is still plenty for Vincenti to offer, particularly with two promotions under his belt. No doubt he will want to add a third with the Sky Blues.

We've met before...

Notts won 1-0 on their last visit to the Ricoh Arena as Garry Thompson's goal proved enough to seal a narrow victory.

The game was made all the more remarkable by the presence of Roy Carroll in the Notts goal. The keeper had played for Northern Ireland in Romania the night before and boarded a flight back to England to to play against the Sky Blues, keeping a clean sheet after completing a journey of almost 1700 miles.

Don't I know you?

There are plenty of Coventry connections in the Notts squad. Captain Richard Duffy had four loan spells with City over the course of a three-year period. In total the central defender made 64 appearances with the west Midlands outfit.

Carl Dickinson and Jon Stead, meanwhile, had shorter stints with the 1987 FA Cup winners. Dickinson played seven times on loan from Watford in 2012-13 while Stead scored twice in 10 appearances on loan from Ipswich Town in 2010.

Meanwhile, former Notts loanee Kwame Thomas scored three times in 14 appearances last season for the Sky Blues.

What are the odds?

Sky Bet have priced Coventry up as 23/20 favourites to start the 2017-18 season with a win. Notts are 23/10 outsiders with the draw at 12/5.

If you fancy Notts to come away from the Ricoh Arena with another 1-0 win, you can get odds of 9/1 or a more adventurous 3-0 victory for the Magpies can be backed at 40/1.

Jon Stead in action

Jon Stead scored 14 goals last season and wants to hit the 20-goal mark this time around. The striker is 5/1 to open the scoring against his former club or 50/1 to bag an opening day hat-trick.

Supporters who sign up to Sky Bet using this link can help the club financially.


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