After the hope engendered by County’s Carling Cup away win at Plymouth last week, the Magpies were once more plunged into despair by the sound beating dished out by Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park on Saturday.
Four days after County’s second 3-0 defeat in little over a week, fans are no doubt still trying to work out why Notts are finding it hard to get going in League One.
Manager Craig Short lost no time in letting his players know that he was not happy with their display on Saturday, stating that he was most disappointed with their attitude, lack of passion and desire, and that this was not acceptable.
He feels that it’s all about the mentality of his team and believes that they need to give 25 per cent more now that they have stepped up a division, as well as accept responsibility for below par performances.
Are these comments fair, or are County giving their all and just taking a little time to find their feet at this new, higher level?
Well, it could be argued that Saturday’s score line was a little harsh. The Magpies created a number of chances in the first half, and if one or more of these had been converted, things could have been completely different at full time.
With the exception of the inclusion of Lee Hughes in place of John Spicer, the team was the same as that which beat Plymouth away in midweek. With this in mind, it is also possible that an element of tiredness contributed to the heavy defeat. Short refused to accept this as an excuse.
Midfielder Neal Bishop also believes that the County players cannot make any excuses for their losing league start this season. He said that the team were gutted following the game on Saturday and fell apart after going 1-0 down.
Furthermore, Bishop insists that the team should show character and fight back when they find themselves behind. He echoed his manager’s words when he said that the players need to take the responsibility for bad performances and defeats.
Long-serving defender Mike Edwards upheld the views of his manager and team mate: “We know it's not acceptable and, as players, we will hold our hands up and accept responsibility for it.”
However, he insisted that County believe in their ability to compete in League One, and thinks that their excellent form of last season will re-emerge before too long.
Bishop and Edwards are determined to put things right in Notts’ next game, which is at home to Dagenham on Saturday. They, and the rest of the team, are desperate to put their frustrations behind them and work harder for each other to get their league season on track with a win at Meadow Lane.
It’s still early days, and just as Oldham won’t get carried away by their victory over County, the Magpies should not dwell on the defeat. They know what they need to do, so they need to roll their sleeves up, work hard and fight on.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.