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Match Previews

Preview: Stevenage (A)

29 March 2019

Notts County travel to Stevenage this weekend in a fixture that could have a big impact on both the relegation battle and play-off race in Sky Bet League Two.

The Magpies are still rooted to the bottom of the table after losing 1-0 at home to Exeter last week but remain just three points from safety.

Their last trip to a play-off hopeful ended in a phenomenal 3-1 win at Carlisle earlier in March and Notts will hope for a repeat as they attempt to put the pressure on Yeovil, who sit just outside the dropzone.

Stevenage were on the receiving end of a late goal themselves last time out, with Notts' relegation rivals Macclesfield scoring a 93rd-minute equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

The late drama at Meadow Lane and Moss Rose took Boro from three points off the play-offs to seven, and they will hope to close the gap with victory at the Lamex Stadium.

Notts boss Neal Ardley says…

“Some of the performances when I arrived were way off the mark but in the last three matches we’ve been the better team and should have had clean sheets in all of them.

“This weekend we’re away from home against a team trying to get in the play-offs and we know there will be no easy games in our last seven.

“In League Two you need to have certain qualities and Stevenage have got them. They are a big strong team who are very athletic so we have to match them physically.

“We’re not worried about how pretty we look. It has to begin with the basics of this division and hopefully then we can find the moments to win the game.”

Stevenage boss Dino Maamria says…

“I felt deflated on Saturday because the margins in football are so small and in the 93rd minute you can go from three points off the play-offs to seven like we did.

“You deal with that by being pragmatic and looking at the facts because there will be more twists and turns.

“We have to grab every game by the scruff of the neck and do our bit, giving it our best shot and leaving no regrets at the end of the season.

“We have to be ready for Notts County on Saturday - ready to give our fans a good performance and a good win as well.”

Team news

Ardley says he has no fresh fitness concerns following last week’s exertions but he could be tempted to shuffle the pack after seeing his side fail to hit the target in their two most recent outings.

Jon Stead returned from injury to play the second half against Exeter and will push for a starting berth, while Lewis Alessandra and Virgil Gomis will also contest places in attack.

Former Notts man Luther Wildin has been a regular for Stevenage this season, making 35 appearances in all competitions, and he is expected to line up against his former club.

Following ankle surgery in February, Danny Newton came off the bench to mark his return to action with a goal in last week’s draw at Macclesfield and will push for a starting spot on Saturday.

We’ve met before

Notts are unbeaten in three meetings with Stevenage and earned a point on last season’s trip to the Lamex Stadium as Elliott Hewitt cancelled out Newton’s opener.

Earlier this campaign, the sides played out a thrilling draw at Meadow Lane where the Magpies led three times through Jon Stead, Enzio Boldewijn and Kane Hemmings.

Stevenage pegged Notts back on on each occasion, though, with Ben Kennedy, Alex Revell and Newton on target for Boro.

Elsewhere in League Two

Yeovil will hope that a change in management signals an upturn in results as temporary boss Neale Marmon takes charge of the Glovers for the first time when they welcome Newport to Huish Park.

Darren Way was relieved of his duties on Sunday after overseeing 10 defeats in 12 games and they will hope for a swift change of fortune against the Exiles.

Macclesfield, meanwhile, sit one point clear of Notts and two behind Yeovil ahead of Saturday’s trip to Sincil Bank to face league leaders Lincoln.

The Silkmen will hope to be buoyed by last week’s late leveller against Stevenage but the Imps haven’t lost since Boxing Day.

Port Vale occupy 21st spot, seven points clear of the dropzone, and travel to Meadow Lane’s next visitors Northampton on Saturday.

In the play-off race, Tranmere - who’ve won six in a row - host Carlisle who are three points outside of the top seven.

Exeter, meanwhile, will look for a third straight victory as they host Mansfield, who are winless in four and have slipped out of the automatic promotion places.

The weekend’s officials

Referee: Andy Haines

Assistants: Wayne Grunnill and Grant Taylor

Fourth official: Ravel Cheosiaua


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