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A different proposition

Clark previews Hartlepool trip

22 September 2017

Simon Clark hopes his side can benefit from playing opposition more suited to their style this weekend.

After an intense start to the season in which Notts' under 18s have faced bigger, more physical opponents, they travel to Hartlepool, where the lead professional development phase coach thinks his team can prosper.

"We had no fixture last weekend so we've had a long time to prepare for this game," he said.

"We let the lads play freely within teams during our free week and it was so competitive; it ended up coming down to one goal.

"Hartlepool are not the biggest side but they have good flow across the pitch and have made a reasonable start to the season.

"It will be interesting because we have come up against a lot of physical sides in the early part of the season but Hartlepool will be a different proposition to what we have been used to - they like to try and play.

"We won't come away from what we do, playing through the thirds and looking to dominate the ball, but we just need a little more structure behind the ball."

That defensive solidity has been lacking so far this season with the youngsters unable to keep a clean sheet in any of their six outings in league and cup.

Their last match ended in a disappointing 4-3 defeat at home to Grimsby Town a fortnight ago. Notts had taken a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Kion Etete and Alex Howes but the Mariners hit back to take a 4-2 lead in the second half.

Owen Newell's late goal was little more than a consolation for the young Magpies, leaving the former Leyton Orient defender to rue a lack of game nous.

"We started excellently and scored two good goals," said Clark. "The second was a six-pass move that was finished off with a great first-time finish from Alex.

"But we conceded poor goals through a lack of game intelligence and not understanding what to do at certain times. Grimsby have scored twice from central turnovers which comes from making poor decisions with the ball.

"We want to be expansive but the players need to strike a balance between that and being defensively sound."

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