Pompey v Notts County: The Opposition View

Notts County striker Jon Stead
Notts County striker Jon Stead
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss weighs up best attacking formula

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The aim for Notts County this season is promotion.

And John Sheridan hasn’t shied away from suggesting that has to be the case.

He thinks that’s achievable and we haven’t seen the best of this Notts team – and I agree with him.

It’s been a solid start and I think most people would have taken the position the team are in at this stage.

They were on a fantastic run of form, but the game against Mansfield, a derby, came at the wrong time.

A game like that can be a flip of a coin. They could’ve won and been two or three up after 25 minutes, before Mansfield got a foothold.

There’s been two defeats and a draw, and, as seems to the case in football these days, it feels like a crisis after one loss.

Everyone is singing the team’s praises one minute and saying it’s rubbish the next! That’s football everywhere, it seems.

The biggest problem for the team has been the mistakes they’ve been making.

As a unit they look quite solid but are making defensive errors.

Pompey fans will know Richard Duffy, who has been excellent since he came in.

He’s definitely been one of the best signings and added experience to the defence.

Richard has led the back line well but the habit of conceding stupid goals has been costly.

Carl Dickinson is also here and has been okay.

Notts lacked any kind of leadership and that hurt them on several occasions.

So Sheridan has added experience and character. Carl is one of those men.

He was captain at Port Vale, leads by example, and has not been afraid to dig people out when necessary.

Haydn Hollis is a massive Pompey fan and could well feature, too. He’s come back in since Sheridan moved to 3-5-2 – and done okay.

Jon Stead will miss the game and that’s a massive blow because he’s been excellent.

He came off at half-time last weekend with an ankle injury and was in real pain.

Stead scored 14 goals last season in a poor team and has nine so far this term.

He’s started so well and looked to be on course for 20 goals by January the way he’d been going!

The injury has come after he was named League Two’s player of the month – and he even joked about hoping it wasn’t a curse!

Stead may be 6ft 4in but isn’t your archetypal target man. He likes the ball to feet and that gives his game another dimension – so it’s a blow.

Captain Michael O’Connor has been another man to stand out. He’s a lovely footballer but has been injured and missed.

He returned to training last week so there’s hopes he’ll be fit for the game.

This league is much of a muchness, so there has to be hope of forcing their way into the promotion battle for this Notts side.