Sports Mole previews Saturday’s League Two clash between Notts County and Bradford City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Both looking to end runs of consecutive defeats, Notts County and Bradford City will do battle at Meadow Lane on Saturday.
On the back of two straight losses, the hosts have dropped to fifth spot in the League Two table, while their visitors now sit 18th having suffered a defeat in their first game under the new management of Graham Alexander last time out.
Notts County head into the weekend aiming to bounce back from consecutive league defeats for the first time since January 2022, having experienced a slight dip in recent weeks after their fine start to the League Two campaign on their return to England’s fourth tier this term.
Luke Williams‘s outfit were quickly able to put themselves in the leading pack, as a 3-0 beating of Newport County in October took them onto 30 points from 15 outings, having managed nine victories in those games while scoring 33 goals, but they would then suffer a setback in a 2-0 defeat to fellow back-to-back promotion-chasers Wrexham at the end of the month, with Elliot Lee and Ollie Palmer netting the goals in the final 20 minutes.
The Magpies would then bounce back with a 3-2 FA Cup first-round win over Crawley Town, but following a 2-0 defeat away at Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy last weekend, Williams’s side travelled to Crewe Alexandra last weekend and left empty-handed following a contentious ending.
The game remained goalless until deep into added time, when a Magpies attack was halted by an injury for an official, before their hosts won a 98th-minute penalty at the other end which Courtney Baker-Richardson converted to snatch all three points.
Having now dropped to fifth spot and behind Crewe as a result of that late heartbreak, but remaining just two points outside of the automatic promotion spots, Notts County will be keen to bounce back at Meadow Lane on Saturday and make a return to the top three.
In their way stand a Bradford City side who are also aiming to return to winning ways at the weekend, having now lost each of their last three outings to drop to 18th spot in England’s fourth tier.
Following a slow start to the campaign, former manager Mark Hughes was dismissed in early October, and while interim manager Kevin McDonald was able to inspire back-to-back 1-0 victories over Swindon Town and AFC Wimbledon last month, the Bantams have been unable to continue a sustained improved run and now find themselves in the midst of a four-game League Two winless run.
A 1-1 draw at home to Wrexham was followed by consecutive defeats at the hands of Milton Keynes Dons and Sutton United before the Yorkshire outfit appointed Graham Alexander as their new boss last week, but he did not manage to inspire a turnaround in his first game at the helm.
Bradford hosted Barrow at Valley Parade on Saturday and the contest was tied at a goal apiece heading into the final 15 minutes, thanks to Tyler Smith‘s first-half equaliser, but they would eventually come away empty-handed as George Ray restored the visitors’ lead in the 77th minute.
Having now dropped back down to 18th spot with seven-point gap up to the playoff places having already formed, the Bantams will be desperate to get up and running on Saturday with a first win under their new manager at Meadow Lane.
Notts County League Two form:
Notts County form (all competitions):
Bradford City League Two form:
Bradford City form (all competitions):
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In Luke Williams’s preferred 3-4-3 shape, Notts County’s attack will be spearheaded by talismanic front man Macaulay Langstaff, who has already notched up 11 fourth-tier goals this term after helping fire them to promotion with 41 National League goals last season.
Dan Crowley and former David McGoldrick should join him in attack, having contributed seven and six league goals respectively this campaign, while Jodi Jones will provide further attacking threat on the left flank from a wing-back role.
Key midfielder John Bostock remains sidelined by injury, although recent arrival and former AFC Bournemouth and Watford man Dan Gosling may earn a first start in the centre alongside Jim O’Brien.
Despite their defeat last time out, Graham Alexander should deploy a similar Bradford starting XI on Saturday to the one from his first game at the helm, likely in a 4-4-2 shape.
The attack will be spearheaded by Andy Cook, who has managed six league goals so far this season after netting 28 last time around, while Tyler Smith should again join him after hitting his fifth goal of the season against Barrow.
Jamie Walker is another attacking threat on the left wing, while Alex Gilliead should again join Richard Smallwood in the engine room, in front of the centre-back pairing of Sam Stubbs and Ash Taylor.
Notts County possible starting lineup:
Slocombe; Macari, Baldwin, Cameron; Nemane, Gosling, O’Brien, Jones; McGoldrick, Langstaff, Crowley
Bradford City possible starting lineup:
Lewis; Halliday, Stubbs, Taylor, Ridehalgh; Pointon, Gilliead, Smallwood, Walker; Cook, Smith
We say: Notts County 2-0 Bradford City
Both teams possess plenty of quality throughout their squads and will fight to bounce back from runs of defeats, but given their strong start to the season and with home advantage on their side, we envisage Notts County being too much for the Bantams at Meadow Lane and taking all three points.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.