Whilst the Stags and Pies rivalry doesn’t have the venom of other local clashes, it has proven over the years, to be a full-blooded, often controversial affair.
Last year’s 2-0 victory for the Pies in the JPT over Paul Cox’s rather one-dimensional Stags serves as no form guide whatsoever for this season’s encounter.
Stags have signed numerous players, whilst Notts have amassed 18 new signings (at the time of writing) as we both chase the latest solution, following a turbulent season.
Notts County have gone far and wide in search of fresh talent, plucking youngsters released from Premiership academies (Cambell, Atkinson, Burke, Da Silva), an array of European players (Jenner, Swerts, Snijders, Amevor, Aborah) topped off with a couple of hardened lower league pros (Stead, Loach, Milsom)
Our victory at Stevenage was convincing as much as it was re-assuring. The 2-0 score allayed the fears of many fans, myself included, that our side, albeit bejewelled with European flair, may not stand up to the rigours of an afternoon at Stevenage.
In truth, we gave as good as we got, whilst having more than enough to look the superior outfit, despite the huge squad turnover.
Notts County will play entertaining and attacking football this season. Ricardo Moniz will not accept anything else.
Last seasons ‘big characters’ and ‘great lads’, devoid of the necessary footballing ability, signed hastily by Shaun Derry, have been shipped out, and the new slick Dutch regime is now well and truly taking hold at Meadow Lane.
I expect Notts County to win on Friday, and win with style. I may well eat those words, as so many football fans have done in the past, but the whole vibe at Meadow Lane is positive, progressive, entertaining, and focussed on a genuine promotion challenge.
I don’t know much about the Stags this season. I only recognise a couple of our ex-players in Westcarr and Pearce, two players who should more than do a job for Mansfield. However, I feel we’ve got enough in our armoury to overcome the yellow challenge.
I sincerely hope to see an army of Stags fans at Meadow Lane on Friday, it always adds to the occasion, and wouldn’t it be great to have over 10,000 inside the ground for an East Midlands clash in League Two?
My prediction is Notts 4, Stags 1 Stags. Come on you Pies.