t may not have been pretty, but last Saturday’s 1-0 win over promotion rivals Coventry will have given Paul Tisdale’s Grecians a welcome lift during a particularly tricky run of fixtures, and with City’s home form this season finally on the right track Tisdale will be hoping to arrest an alarming slide away from home, with City having failed to win on their travels since beating Carlisle back in October – indeed, it is now five straight defeats for City away from home. Skipper Jordan Moore-Taylor has been the most notable recent absentee and every week since his injury has seemingly been rated “50/50” to return, so hopefully this is the week he actually does come back. Kane Wilson is back having extended his loan spell until the end of the season and will be challenging Pierce Sweeney for the right back slot.
After a wretched season last time, Notts County confounded their critics by storming to the top end of the table – that they have stayed there as the season developed has come of little surprise to anyone who has seen them in action. Manager Kevin Nolan has instilled the same grit and determination that marked his playing career and the Magpies have lost just four times in the league this season. In addition they are another fourth tier side in t
he FA Cup fourth round where they will face Swansea having defeated Championship side Brentford in the third round. Key to their success has been the re-signing on loan of Jorge Grant from neighbours Nottingham Forest – Grant has 17 goals in all competitions, while veteran Jon Stead has a habit of scoring against City and has eight to his name. Former Grecian Richard Duffy will expect to feature.
The reverse fixture saw City’s 100% home start ended comprehensively with the visitors running out 3-0 winners thanks to an early goal from Lewis Alessandra before Grant scored twice in the second half. The corresponding fixture last season was one where supporters leaving early to enjoy some Valentine’s Day fun missed most of the action. City led 1-0 through David Wheeler, and that was how it was until Jake Taylor picked up a red card in the dying minutes. Undeterred, City made it 2-0 through Ryan Harley, only for stoppage time goals from Duffy and Grant to secure a point for the hosts. Notts County have a healthy Football League head to head lead with 17 wins to City’s eight, but you may wish to mark an X on your coupon as this fixture has yielded 18 draws.