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Toughest game yet

Ardley looks ahead to Newport

18 February 2019

Neal Ardley says Notts County’s clash with Newport on Tuesday night will be their most difficult game of the season so far.

His side have been in excellent form of late, picking up seven points from their last three matches as they faced promotion-chasing opposition.

And with Notts’ good run making them the bookies’ favourites, Ardley feels The Exiles will provide the biggest test of all.

“It will be our toughest and most important game because of the expectation,” said the boss.

“Fine margins can win and lose matches and we need to fall on the right side of them like we have recently.

“They will ask a lot of questions of us and, if we don’t answer them, our unbeaten run will be over.”

A win for Notts will see them climb out of the bottom two for the first time in 2019 but Ardley is keen to keep eyes off the Sky Bet League Two table.

“From day one, I’ve said not to look at it,” he said. “All that matters is that we are out of the relegation zone on 4 May.

“We have to keep ticking the wins off as quickly as possible to give us more leeway towards the end of the season when it's crunch time – if we get to a certain points total, I believe not everyone will.

“The boys now feel they can do it. They’ve got a confidence that they didn’t beforehand and that makes the job a lot easier.”

Supporters have turned out in their numbers in recent weeks and the gaffer hopes they continue to back the side in the same way on Tuesday night.

“Now we have that bit of expectation, we need them to keep driving us on even if we are 1-0 down after 70 minutes,” said Ardley.

“Continue to get behind us for 14 more games, no matter who we are playing and whether we are favourites or not – every single point and every minute of each match counts.

“The fans have been fantastic. It’s good to see the passion, the emotion and the connection between them and the players which we’ve lacked so far this season.”

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