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Preview: Cheltenham (H)

Magpies take on Robins in Sky Bet League Two clash

17 November 2017

Notts County begin a busy week with the visit of Cheltenham Town in Sky Bet League Two.

The Magpies face three league games in a week which will test their credentials as league leaders and, given their strong home record, they will be glad to begin it at Meadow Lane.

Cheltenham did Notts a favour last weekend with their late equaliser against Luton Town at the LCI Rail Stadium, ensuring the Magpies stayed at the summit.

But County will not be out to reciprocate as they look to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack in the automatic promotion places.

Notts boss Kevin Nolan says...

"The way Gary's teams play, he won't be giving us anything for free - we will have to earn what we get.

"We have to respect the fact teams are going to raise their game against us because we are top of the league but, for me, nothing changes.

"The players will be given details about strengths and weaknesses of the opposition but it's about us and focusing on becoming better as a squad and team."

Click here for more from the manager.

Cheltenham manager Gary Johnson says...

"Notts County haven't lost at home in the league so we know it will be a difficult game.

"They have a good squad, so any injuries they get they can bring in quality players.

"Most of the bookies will have them as the favourites so we can go there as underdogs and look to muck up a few coupons."

Team news

Elliott Hewitt is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Stevenage.

Goalkeeper Adam Collin and midfielder Michael O'Connor remain sidelined by their long-term knee injuries but Shola Ameobi is making good progress and will be monitored in the build-up to the game.

Former Notts defender Jordan Cranston tore his hamstring in Cheltenham's last outing against Luton Town and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Finland international Daniel O'Shaughnessy is in line to take his place in the team.


Brian Graham made the move from Scotland during the off-season, joining Cheltenham from Hibernian, who he had helped win promotion back to the Scottish Premiership the season prior.

The striker began his career at Greenock Morton, spending six seasons at Cappielow Park, before moving on to Raith Rovers, where his 38 goals in 68 games attracted the attention of SPL side Dundee United, who made their move for the frontman.

Following spells with St Johnstone and Ross County, he made the switch to Easter Road and scored five times in 33 appearances as the Hibees returned to the top flight of Scottish football after a three-season absence.

However, he was allowed to leave by manager Neil Lennon and quickly agreed a move to the LCI Rail Stadium, where he has got off to a fine start.

He scored his first goal for the club on his eighth appearance in a 3-0 win over Mansfield and has added a further four goals since.

His influence is demonstrated by the statistic that the Robins are yet to lose a game in which the 29-year-old has scored.

We've met before...

Notts have the advantage in the head-to-head stakes between the sides, winning six of the 10 meetings.

The Magpies did the double over the Robins last season and are unbeaten in their last four outings against the Gloucestershire side.

Goals from Jon Stead and Richard Duffy gave Kevin Nolan's men a win in the last contest back in February as the Magpies made it three games unbeaten at Meadow Lane under their new manager.

What are the odds?

Sky Bet have priced Notts up as 21/20 favourites to take all three points while the Robins are 5/2 to be the first team this season to come away from Meadow Lane with three points in Sky Bet League Two. The draw is also available at 5/2.

Notts did the double over Cheltenham last season with a 2-1 win at Meadow Lane, which can be backed at 15/2 this weekend, and a 3-2 victory at the LCI Rail Stadium, that scoreline available at 28/1 this time around.

Elliott Hewitt's suspension could see a recall to the starting line-up for Rob Milsom. The midfielder scored his first goal for the club in the 1-1 draw against Forest Green Rovers in October and is available at 22/1 to open the scoring this weekend.

Lewis Alessandra started last weekend's game at Stevenage and could retain his place up top alongside Jon Stead. The former Hartlepool man is yet to score for the Magpies at Meadow Lane in a competitive fixture but is 11/2 to strike first on Saturday afternoon.

Notts are 3/1 to win the game with both teams scoring or 5/2 to win the game to-nil, which would be their eighth clean sheet of the season.

You can bet on the game here.

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