Notts County caretaker manager Carl Heggs tried to draw some positives after his first match in charge ended in a 2-1 loss to high-flying Rochdale at Meadow Lane.

The hosts were 2-0 down after just 15 minutes, Craig Dawson converting Nicky Adams' corner for the first before Will Atkinson headed in the second after County failed to deal with a throw-in. Stand-in skipper Lee Hughes eventually did pull a goal back for the Magpies nine minutes into the second half when he latched onto Graeme Lee`s flick-on before converting from three yards.

"The first 15 minutes epitomised what this club has been going through. There's no confidence - I've tried to instil a bit but I've only had 24 hours get something into them," Heggs said. "I said that we've got to look at the second half, we've got to be proud of that. But if we don't do what we did in the second half for the rest of the season, we are in trouble."

The reverse was the Magpies' sixth successive defeat and leaves them just one point and one place off the drop zone, hovering precariously above Dagenham & Redbridge who they travel to on Saturday.

On whether he would be in charge for that game, and his ambitions to take the job full-time, Heggs added: "This football club is far bigger than me.

 

"The most important thing is for us to stay in the league, and as long as I'm here I'll do whatever I can to keep them up."

The victory now leaves Dale just two points adrift of sixth-placed Bournemouth in the race for a play-off spot.

But manager Keith Hill is staying grounded. He said: "We are proud of where we are, but we aren't getting carried away."

Rochdale were promoted from League Two in third place behind champions County last season, but the two clubs' fortunes have diverged since then, with Dale challenging for a second successive promotion while the Magpies are facing a relegation battle.

Hill added: "You look at Notts County's budget, and then you look at ours, and we have come a long way in 12 months. We have no fear at the moment and we just hope it continues."

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