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TT OPPOSITION Q&A – Notts County by Paul Mace

TT OPPOSITION Q&A 

Paul Mace from the Magpie Circle Podcast discusses his team Notts County

So let’s talk about the Chesterfield game, a great one for the neutral – how was it for you?

A game that will live long in the memory for all Notts fans – but especially so for your younger generation. Game had just about everything – goals, a comeback, injured goalkeeper, late winner, pantomime ‘villain’ with Chesterfield boss James Rowe banished to the stands etc… Great theatre and a great occasion – almost a seasons worth of action in one game.

Do you think playing last weekend will be an advantage for Saturday?

Debated this extensively on our own podcast this week – Kev Nicholson thinks it is an advantage, others don’t. Last season ourselves and Harrogate finished third and second so missed the first eliminator – we beat Barnet, they beat Boreham Wood, so didn’t hurt us last season.

How highly do you rate Ruben Rodrigues and how far do you think he can go in his career?

Ruben has blossomed under new manager Ian Burchnall and been a hugely influential player for us in our finish to the season. Great technique and ability but is now so much more involved in a game than he was when he first arrived when, to a certain extent, matches would pass him by.

Who would you say are County’s other key players and why?

Former Torquay player Mark Ellis has been massive to us – a rock at the heart of the defence and a phenomenal scoring record for us in the other box too – got the 90th minute last week. Keeper Sam Slocombe returned from injury and has been excellent too. Largely been a real team effort under Ian.

TT PLAYER PROFILE – Mark Ellis

Position: Centre Back

Date of Birth: 30th September 1988 – 32 years-old

Height: 1.88m

Former Clubs: Bolton, Torquay, Forest Green, Crewe, Shrewsbury, Carlisle, Leyton Orient, Tranmere  

National League Stats 20-21: League – Played: 19, Goals: 5, Bookings: 1

Play-Offs – Played: 1, Goals: 1, Bookings: 1

Has Ian Burchnall now won over the supporters or do the team have to go further?

Ian is much, much more popular now – the turnaround coincided with his assistant manager Maurice Ross leaving the club for making a racist comment about one of our own players, Enzio Boldewijn. Michael Doyle has taken over the reins as player-assistant manager and this combination is working very well.

Will the line-up be the same for this Saturday or would you expect any changes?

That’s an interesting one. We have made a few tweaks recently. Jim O’Brien will hopefully be fit – he missed last Saturday. Big question is what he does at the back – he substituted one of our established centre halves Connell Rawlinson at half time last week. Right back Dion Kelly Evans won our podcast player of the year but has been dropped from the last two games.

Who do you fancy in the other semi-final?

Two very strong disciplined, organised teams at this level. Think that that fans will get Stockport over the line at Edgeley Park.

What do you think are the keys to winning the game at Plainmoor?

For us, we will have to defend a lot better than last week, or we will get beat. We are creating chances going forward but have not looked as solid defensively in our last 2 games.

How do you think the club would cope with a return to the Football League?

I think both Notts – and Torquay – would cope fine in EFL. Both have good EFL pedigree and good fan bases. Top 10 in the NL would all hold their own in EFL I suspect, Harrogate did fine this season, and Barrow stayed up despite their influential manager leaving the club.

And finally, two draws between the teams this year but what is your prediction for Saturday?

Very tight, very nervous – but I fancy us to win 2-1.

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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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