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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Big Match Preview

League Two
Notts County vs. Bournemouth
Monday March 15, 19:45, Meadow Lane

It's an important six pointer in League Two on Monday evening as Notts County and Bournemouth meet in a top of the table clash.

The Magpies sit in 4th, just two places and three points behind the South Coast club so the result at Meadow Lane could be crucial in determining the race for League One.

For Notts, it's a game they come into bang in form as new manager Steve Cotterill begins to make his mark in the East Midlands.

It's been a rollercoaster of a season for County, whose Sven-fuelled dreams of the Premier League have now been replaced by a fight for survival off the pitch.

Fortunately, results on the pitch have shown the kind of promise most fans had hoped for back in pre-season.

Cotterill's men have won their last four matches including a 3-0 win at Accrington and a 5-0 thumping of Hereford, and are yet to concede a goal under their new boss.

With 24-goal man Lee Hughes up front and Kasper Schmeichel in goal protected by the division's tightest defence, Notts are looking in good shape for the promotion run-in.

Their record at Meadow Lane is particularly impressive too, with just one defeat suffered and 10 goals conceded on home soil.

New boss Steve Cotterill has had an immediate impact at Notts County

It makes the task for Eddie Howe's visitors all the more difficult as they seek to make the long trip home with something to show for their efforts.

The fact the Cherries are even challenging for promotion this season is testament to their manager's work.

The Dorset outfit have been operating under a transfer embargo and have often been unable to fill their substitute's bench.

However, despite their problems they have managed to maintain their charge for League One.

Defeat in their last two away games though suggests a weakness that could prevent them from finishing in the top three.

Bournemouth's top scorer and biggest goal threat is Brett Pitman, whose 17 league goals have been the catalyst for their promotion assault.

Howe, the youngest manager in the Football League, has built a side that includes experienced campaigners like Steve Fletcher and Sammy Igoe as well as youthful talent like midfielder Danny Hollands.

They will have to be on top form to get something from their trip to Nottingham though. The home side are on top form, as often happens when a new manager takes over.

Their solidity at the back combined with a clinical nature in front of goal makes County strong favourites, and it's difficult to see Bournemouth stopping their fine run of form.

Nobes' Prediction: Notts County 2 Bournemouth 0

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