19 games gone. 25 points secured. A -3 goal difference. 27 games left. 81 points to play for. For all the opinions, finger pointing and “he’s shit get rid of him…” That’s how Notts’ season looks from this point.
It seems as though a lot of the early season optimism is slowly draining form Notts supporters… But what do Notts need to improve? Here’s my 5 point plan from December 8th onwards.
1. Balance the back four.
Moniz seems to have settled, as much as he can settle on anything, on what he wants his back four to look like. At the heart he obviously wants two no nonsense centre halves. Alan Sheehan has shown his obvious quality and Mike Edwards is rolling back the years to combine to make an adequate pairing. Elliot Hewitt seems to have made right back his own but he must, enter stage right Dean Yates, be coached on how to defend when a team plays in behind him. Left back is the obvious sticking point. For me it’s very simple; Blair Adams was an able League 1 full back so should be more than able in League 2. Fair play he went out for a month, but as soon as possible he should be recalled and played at left back. Bye bye Theirry…
2. Move Aborah forward. (If Moniz insists on 4-1-2-2-1).
Stanley Aborah has easily been the brightest spark of a dull season so far. In order to get more out of him he must be pushed further forward (if Moniz is desperate to play with one up front). Sit Noble and Thompson in behind as a flat two; the mixture of passing range and all round energy and ball winning ability would allow Aborah to use his exquisite passing and strength on the ball to link up with whoever plays up front to put Notts on the front foot further up the field.
3. Wingers, wingers, wingers…
Moniz has 3 excellent wide players to choose from; Burke, Snijders and Campbell. Burke must play wide left and one of the other two must play wide right. I’d be telling them to sit as wide as possible and demand the ball. As soon as they get the ball they must play to their strengths. With Burke’s quality he should be actively encouraged to get the ball in the box. Snijders should be told to run at whoever is in front of him, hit the byline and get the ball in; similar with Campbell. If they know this is their job, and the midfield is told, at least Aborah and Noble, to get forward I guarantee we will out score most teams in this league. Wide wingers would also allow Adams and Hewitt to roam forward in different channels.
4. Stick with Izale.
Izale McLeod is more than capable of scoring 25 goals this season. If he insists on playing one up front, we must adopt tactics as specified below. If he bails and goes 4-4-2 the Izale will flourish; either Stead or Spencer should be the preferred partner. I’d plump for Spencer over Stead’s woeful hold up play. Stick with Izale.
5. Inspire the fans.
A lot of Notts fans are pissed off. We have a huge squad with some fine players in it and in most people’s eyes we are underachieving. Moniz needs to win back the fans quickly. The obvious way to do this is by winning; winning regularly both home and away. What we want to see is a team who look like they know each other, players who look like they’re dying for the cause and a manager who can motivate a set of (probably) highly paid players in a shit storm of a league.
“Tom from Eastwood” Matchtalk December 1st 2015.