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Why this factor could push Notts County to League One

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Three wins in 11 matches and a 8-1 FA Cup drubbing doesn’t sound like the recent form of a side hunting promotion, but Notts County seem to have weathered the storm nicely. They’re currently fourth in League Two, despite being 11th in the current form table.

The loss of Ryan Yates in January was perhaps more detrimental than some might have realised. The midfielder, on loan from Forest, had gone about his business rather quietly with team mate Jorge Grant drawing most of the plaudits. However, there was an air of deflation after his recall and a visible drop in form. He had bagged six times from midfield and perhaps had more influence on their league positon than a casual observer believed.

With Yates in the side the Magpies lost just one in 12, including a superb FA Cup victory over Brentford. Since he returned to Forest, they’ve hit a slump. Despite the loss of form, there’s still plenty to play for and Kevin Nolan might have enough experience in his side to see them through the tricky spell.

Three players with a combined age of 107 have been integral to their form this season, Shola Ameobi (36), Jon Stead (34) and Alan Smith (37). They’re all old hands who have played in the top flight and know exactly how the game works. For some, the pressure of a League Two promotion race might be too much to bear, but when you’ve battled relegation with Newcastle or played in the Champions League with Manchester United, it might not seem as daunting.

Indeed County’s last two wins have been due in no small part to the sprightly duo of Ameobi and Stead. It was a brace by the latter that put paid to Carlisle three weeks ago, and an early goal by the former that helped them on their way to last weekend’s 2-0 win against Stevenage. Along with Nolan in the dugout, I’m sure their current battle doesn’t seem much of a mountain.

Now, with two of their play off rivals experiencing management upheaval, they seem to have steadied the ship and weathered the storm. With two wily old campaigners leading the line, the likes of Terry Hawkridge, Jorge Grant and Lewis Alessandra can play with a little more freedom and creativity. Those three players are fantastic at this level, but when mixed with the experience of their team mates they might just be a perfect combination.

Up next for the Magpies, weather permitting, are Cheltenham, Forest Green and Mansfield. The first two are winnable, the third a crunch derby match which could push one of the sides out of the play off hunt. With Nolan steering a calm and steady vessel and Mansfield experiencing choppy waters, the Magpies could well be looking at a League One spot next season.

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ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Why this factor could push Notts County to League One

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