Tranmere are back on the road in League Two on Saturday as they face a tricky trip to Notts County.
The game will be the first home match which County’s new manager Neil Ardley has taken charge of. So far he has presided over defeats away to Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy and Mansfield in the league (both 2-0).
Notts County’s madcap season so far
County have had a dour start to the season and have, in true Notts County style, made a right mess on the management side of things.
Kevin Nolan led the club to the play-offs last season, albeit with a slightly unattractive brand of football. He was sacked at the end of August after a winless start to the season which had seen the Magpies lose four of their first five league games, condedeing 13 goals in the process. They’d also shipped three in the League Cup at Middlesborough.
Steve Chettle and Mark Crossley took charge of team affairs for a home match with Forest Green at the start of September which finished 3-1 to the visitors and by the time they next took to the field they had appointed another big name as manager – Harry Kewell.
County have often turned to big names be it for managers or on the playing side over the past decade or so, and rarely has it worked. Kewell was unproven and did nothing to halt County’s slide.
He was in charge for just 10 weeks. The Aussie won just three games during that time but a run of five defeats in seven games led to his dismissal in November and County were again looking for a new manager.
They spun the wheel and ended up appointing Neil Ardley – a man who had just overseen a run of three wins in 17 matches as AFC Wimbledon manager, leading to his sacking from the League One club. In fairness, his record in management until that point had been fairly impressive.
Ardley’s Meadow Lane bow
So, Ardley has been tasked of hauling a struggling County side up the League Two table in which they currently occupy 23rd position, just three points above Macclesfield.
Ardley will receive a warm welcome from the Meadow Lane faithful on Saturday, the fans keen to move on from this poor start to the season and begin looking upwards.
However, we know from our own experience that once a severe lack of form sets in at a club, it can be impossible to get out of. The weeks fly-by and before you know it relegation is staring you in the face. County will be keen to find some form as soon as possible so that they can head in to the New Year with some optimism.
Tranmere head to Nottingham on Saturday having got back to winning ways and moved in to the top seven again thanks to victory over Cambridge on Saturday. Despite having a significant list of absentees through injury, Rovers will be out to spoil Ardley’s party and continue their promotion push.
The home side will likely start the game strongly and it will be up to Micky Mellon’s team to keep things tight and look to hit the hosts on the break.
Either way, it should be an excellent game.