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Match Previews

Preview: Colchester (H)

25 November 2017

Notts County host Colchester United looking to extend their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two to six games.

The Magpies backed up their 3-1 win over Cheltenham last weekend with a point away at Yeovil in midweek and now return to home soil looking to end a busy week with another positive result.

However, they face difficult opponents in the U's, who arrive at Meadow Lane in fine form with one defeat in their last 10 league outings.

They come into the game having kept three clean sheets in succession since being knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup in the first round by Oxford City, who Notts host next weekend in round two.

John McGreal's team have been decimated by long-term injuries to key players but, despite that, the Essex outfit are two points outside the play-off places.

Adult tickets for the game are priced just £10. Click here for more details.

Notts boss Kevin Nolan says...

"They've got a good side and were unlucky not to make the play-offs last year. I expect them to be there or thereabouts again this season

"It won't be an easy game. They've kept three clean sheets in a row, they play some good stuff and have players who are in form. We'll be well-prepared and well-drilled."

Click here for more from the manager.

Colchester head coach John McGreal says...

"Kevin Nolan is doing a terrific job. He got them off and running and he's continued that this season.

"They have quality players - you only have to look at the front two in Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi. We found it tough against them last season but it's a bit different now. We're in a bit of form but they're in great form too.

"They're joint-top and have had a great start. It should be a good game."

Team news

Stead could miss out after being withdrawn during the first half of Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Yeovil with a thigh injury but Shola Ameobi could replace him on the forward line after sitting out the trip to Huish Park.

Defender Dan Jones returned to training earlier this week but Adam Collin and Michael O'Connor remain on the sidelines with knee injuries.

For Colchester, midfielder Doug Loft suffered a slight tear in his bicep during Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Lincoln City with Brandon Comley in line to replace the former Port Vale man in the middle of the park.

Captain Luke Prosser has resumed training after a year out with a knee injury but the central defender will not be available for the trip to Meadow Lane, nor will Brennan Dickenson and Kurtis Guthrie, who scored 24 goals between them last season.

Dangerman

Sammie Szmodics is one of several homegrown players in the first team at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, though his career has been hampered by injuries thus far.

Last season saw the attacking midfielder have an operation on an ankle injury in December before breaking his leg against Crewe in March, limiting him to 23 appearances overall.

He returned from that setback in time for pre-season and has been making up for lost time this campaign, scoring six times in 14 matches to date.

With better fortunes from a medical point of view, it may not be long before Szmodics’ talents are being exhibited at a higher level.

We've met before...

Notts have an outstanding record against the Essex outfit, suffering just one defeat in their last nine meetings.

Colchester certainly do not enjoy coming to Meadow Lane, losing their past seven visits with their last win coming in November 2002.

Last season saw Haydn Hollis and Shola Ameobi's brace secure three points for Kevin Nolan's side with Chris Porter's stunning strike rendered a consolation.

What are the odds?

Sky Bet have priced Notts up as 11/10 favourites to take all three points while the U's 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 available at 12/5.

The last meeting between the sides ended in a 3-1 win for Notts and a repeat result this time around is 16/1 or a 2-0 home win available at odds of 17/2.

Notts are 3/1 to win the game with both teams scoring or 5/2 to win the game to-nil.

The Magpies have scored 11 goals in their past three home games and are 7/2 to score three or more goals again at Meadow Lane this weekend.

Shola Ameobi was on target with a brace against the U's in April and can be backed at 6/1 to score the first goal of the game or 12/1 to score twice again.

Elliott Hewitt scored his first Notts goal in the away fixture between the teams last season and would love to get another against his former team after opening his account for this campaign at Stevenage a fortnight ago.

The midfielder is 28/1 to open the scoring or 9/1 to find the back of the net at any time.

You can bet on the game here.

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