Two sides with conflicting form, this matchup is now a game between 10th and 11th, a sentence which may have seemed unthinkable earlier in the season.
Notts’ form since the turn of the year has seen them pick up only two points from a possible 15, coming in a 1-1 draw at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Barrow and a thrilling 5-5 away draw at relegation-threatened Grimsby Town. Their defensive woes have been evident throughout the season, as they have conceded over ten more goals than anyone else in the top half of the table.
Their away form may also be a concern going into this game, as they have only picked up three victories on the road all season, earning 13 points from their 15 matches.
The side they travel to face have had a much better time of it recently. Newport’s winning run of four in a row is better than any other side in the division at the moment.
Graham Coughlan’s side may have spent most of the first half of the season in the bottom five, however, with only one loss since Christmas, and that being to Manchester United, they are certainly turning that around.
A win could see Stuart Maynard’s men return into the playoffs if results went their way, whereas a home victory could see Newport push as high as eighth place.
Here is how two of The Real EFL’s writers see it going…
“If you told someone back in November that in a few month’s time this fixture would be a six-pointer, you’d have been laughed out of the room. The job that Graham Coughlan has done to turn around Newport’s fortunes from potential relegation to now being in a fight for playoffs is nothing short of extraordinary. Their recent form, as well as their record at home this season makes it difficult to look past them for victory in this one.
However, there is no denying that even with their recent issues, Notts County are still an extremely impressive side. Even throughout this difficult spell, stars such as Jodi Jones, Macauley Langstaff and Dan Crowley have continued to contribute to masses of goals. Maynard will be coming into this searching for his first win, and the longer that doesn’t come, the more questions begin to get asked over whether the playoffs are even a possibility anymore. The extra night’s rest is unlikely to make too much of a difference in this, however, the travelling fans will be right behind their team as they look to turn things around, even though I predict they’ll just fall short of a victory here.”
Newport County 1-1 Notts County
“The two sides come into this one with drastically different recent form. Notts County are winless in their last four, and Newport? They’ve won each of their last four.
Due to that, a Newport win is probably the most obvious option and they would in fact leapfrog their opponents in the table if able to gain all three points. However we know in football that you can never count anything out and therefore a win for the hosts might not be as obvious as recent form suggests.
Notts County are bound to end their winless run at some point and likewise, the home side’s winning run will also most likely come to an end at some point this season. I don’t think Notts County will be able to end their run but they could end Newport’s with a draw, which wouldn’t exactly aid either of the two sides’ play-off chances.”
Newport County 2-2 Notts County