“It Couldn’t Be More Difficult” – The Real EFL Team Predict Notts County v Stockport

In the tastiest game of the League Two list this weekend, leaders Stockport County travel to Meadow Lane to take on Notts County.

Dave Challinor’s side were on a roll earlier in the season, but just three wins out of 12 in all competitions has severely dented their title aspirations. They’re two points clear of Wrexham, but having played a game more, their fate is out of their hands. Of course, there’s a long way to go, but when you consider they finished their 18th November clash with Colchester eight points clear of Wrexham, having played the same games, it could be seen as a mini-collapse.

They have extended their lead over Notts County from eight points to 11, and the Magpies have had issues of their own. With 60 goals, they’re the division’s leading scorers, but having conceded 52, they have a leakier defence than bottom-side Forest Green. With manager Luke Williams moving on, this is the first opportunity for former Wealdstone boss Stuart Maynard to say hello to supporters. Games don’t get much bigger than the league leaders at home when you’re clinging on to a play-off place with all your might.

If that wasn’t a big enough challenge for Notts fans, they’ve also got the recent memory of defeat at Edgeley Park. Stockport ran out 2-1 winners just before Christmas, with Kyle Wootton and Paddy Madden getting the goals. However, they’re without a win away since November 11th, whilst Notts have scored 15 goals in the five games since that defeat against the Hatters.

It promises to be an exciting, pulsating game of football, but how do our Real EFL writing team feel the game will go?

 

Gary Hutchinson

“As a neutral, these are the games you have to love. Two good teams who play attacking football going out to win a game. However, there’s a caveat – with it being Maynard’s first game, Notts fans might be apprehensive. He’s a good appointment on paper, but Mark Molesley was seemingly a good appointment for Southend a few years ago, and look how that turned out.

“I’m afraid that will make this a really tough encounter, and I can see Stockport coming away with the win. I remember the first game after Danny Cowley left Lincoln City – a defeat. Michael Appleton came in and put the club in the top six of League One, but his first game was a defeat. I’m tipping Stockport for this one because, as far as first games go, it couldn’t be more difficult.”

Prediction: Notts County 2-3 Stockport County

 

Ivan Newsome

“Stuart Maynard’s first game in charge as County boss couldn’t technically come against a harder side as they welcome league-leaders Stockport County to Meadow Lane. It does, however, seem quite a good time to be playing Stockport, whose form has somewhat plateaued in recent weeks.

“It is a huge boost for the Magpies that the game is at home given their shoddy away record this season, and although we might not see another 10-goal thriller as we did last week in their game against Grimsby Town, goals can no doubt be expected from the two highest-scoring sides in the league in this one. I think Maynard may get off to a fairly good start to his managerial tenure, and the two sides may just cancel each other out, and the spoils could be shared on Saturday.”

Prediction: Notts County 2-2 Stockport County

 

Charlie Beeston

“This is a huge first game for new Notts County head coach Stuart Maynard, coming up against the current league leaders. With the game taking place at Meadow Lane, County fans will be optimistic, considering their stellar home form. However, with Maynard only taking one training session before the match, it is unlikely there will be any real changes on display come Saturday at 3 pm. With their defensive issues still halting their promotion chances, they could find Stockport difficult to overcome.

“The Hatters have not had the easiest run of form themselves recently, and Wrexham and Mansfield have both closed the gap to the top in the past month. However, their ability in front of goal has continued to shine through. I see both sides scoring more than one in this game, which could make for a really intriguing encounter.”

Prediction: Notts County 2-4 Stockport County

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