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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bookies Corner: Notts County v Bristol City

Last week easyodds.com tipster and lifelong Bristol City fan looked on course for a winning best bet but a second half fightback from Rochdale put paid to that. It could have been much, much worse though – a fantastic reaction save from Frank Fielding meant we left Spotland with at least a point.

Despite the disappointment of not getting the three points despite being in a winning position, the Robins remain unbeaten and are starting to show the consistency of a side that really can mount a promotion push. Can City remain unbeaten in the Super Sunday clash at Meadow Lane against Shaun Derry’s Notts County? Keep reading below for Ross’ full betting preview…

"The ever changing outright winner market for League One saw another market move following last weekend – and it was a negative one for City. They drifted from 11/2 to 6/1 and lost their favourites tag in the process. Preston North End are the new owners of that tag – and they are now a best price of 5/1.

Much like last week’s match at Rochdale we will be facing a side high in confidence. Rochdale were coming off the back of hitting Crewe for five and Notts County come into this match on the back of two wins on the bounce. This must come into consideration when placing your bets!”

BRISTOL CITY – 29/20 (MarathonBet)
NOTTS COUNTY – 9/4 (Bet365)
DRAW – 12/5 (Multiple Bookies)

Well what a week to be a Bristol City fan! We have started well after the excellent finish to last season, recruited well and brought back the purple and lime – but the exuberance that should be felt for the Robins fans was knocked out of us by the news that captain and top scorer Sam Baldock was sold to Brighton.

The jury is out on the sale and how it will affect the team, but it has to be said we have a more than suitable replacement in Kieran Agard. 24 goals in this league last season proves he is more than a handful at this level and after not getting a game last week, it is likely he will make his debut on Sunday. He is a best price of 7/1 to score first in this match.

In both away matches this season we have taken the lead and another quickfire start should settle any nerves again and mean we remain unbeaten. This seems to be a Cotterill tactic away from home to start strong and then settle into the game – and we are favourites to score first at 5/6.

The defence has certainly improved this season and this season we have conceded less than a goal a game – just three goals in four games have been shipped. A clean sheet would be unlikely in personal opinion because of the confidence in Notts County – but you can get 23/10 on a shut-out.
For those of you that like to bet with short odds, the best bet could be Bristol City in the double chance market at 4/11 – City have lost just once in 17 league matches!

Exactly like Bristol City Notts County have only conceded three goals in four games – proving that currently both defences have been on top. With this in mind it could pay well to back under 2.5 goals. That is available at 19/20.

Whilst the Notts County side is incredibly different in personnel to last season, it is worth bearing in mind that the Magpies are in great home form. They have won six of their last seven at home – so the bookies have taken a big risk at offering odds of 9/4 on a home win.

As mentioned in the excellent ‘Inside Line’ on this very blog – this could well be an ugly game and if that is the case, set pieces could be crucial in this match – and with Frankie Fielding still showing weakness in that area of his goalkeeping skillset take a look at Jake Cassidy being an anytime scorer at 14/5.

Bristol City were robbed of all three points at Meadow Lane last season thanks to a last minute penalty in a 1-1 draw. Our goal that day also came from the spot – and it was that man Sam Baldock – a penalty to be scored in this match is 4/1.

As requested on otib.co.uk I have added a longshot feature to ‘Bookies Corner’ and this week I am going for Aden Flint to be an anytime scorer at 9/1. For those of you that like even bigger odds – he is available at 25/1 to net first!

As I mentioned above, this match probably won’t be a spectacle but you have to assume that Flint will be given at least one opportunity to bag a goal from a set-piece. He was in great goalsscoring form in pre-season but he is yet to score in a competitive game. This could well prove to be the match that he opens his account.

Kieran Agard anytime goalscorer @ 12/5 – BET NOW
With all the talk about Sam Baldock leaving and our perceived loss of goals in the team – I think that people have forgotten that we have a very accomplished League One goalscorer in our side as his replacement.

What a way to announce his arrival to Robins fans it would be for Agard to net on his debut. And you can more than double your money if he comes up with the goods here – just as he did in both home and away matches for Rotherham against County last season!

Back another Agard goal against the Magpies at 12/5.

*All prices supplied by www.easyodds.com and prices all correct as of Sat 30th August 2014*

The Exiled Robin

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Friday, 29 August 2014

The Inside Line: Notts County (31/08/2014)

So that's that then? City's promotion dreams disappeared in one fell swoop with the sale of our captain, our leader from the front? All the hope generated from our good pre-season PR with new signings, good season-ticket sales, the purple and lime kit and a fantastic opening day away win live on Sky, dashed?

Well, not quite. As stated earlier in the week, no-one will now ever know if we would have gone up with Sam Baldock, or if whatever happens from now on in would have happened anyway, and we've still got our target man, the enigmatic Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, a big, expensive signing in Kieron Agard and young Wes Burns who might now be offered more chances to stretch the division's defences with his searing pace.

The new dawn, with Wade Elliott rightly installed as our new captain, begins on Sunday at Meadow Lane in what's sure to be a tough away test.  Our Stu Radnedge spoke to a County blogger also called Stu and he came up with this, brilliantly detailed review of the Magpies. Stu can be followed on Twitter, hereand you can check out his Notts Blog website here.

"This has been a summer of heavy transition for Notts County Football Club. The players who filled the side that performed so admirably at Ashton Gate towards last season’s conclusion have largely vanished. The unanswerable trickery of Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Jack Grealish, the midfield steel of Josh Vela and Gary Liddle, and the defensive roadblocks (Ashton Gate aside!) of Bartosz Bialkowski and Alan Sheehan – all moved on.

What does remain are the two men who assembled a team and a system that steered us away from a relegation that appeared a certainty for too much of last season. Whilst Shaun Derry and Greg Abbott I’m sure worked on retaining the services of some of those above, they’ve been given a clean slate free of a dressing room element who too often tried to derail any progress we were making. We’re told of rebels not buying into the new backroom’s ethos, we’ve all got our own opinions on who contributed to that.

With an absurd 16 new additions made over the summer months however, we were never going to hit the ground running. Instead we march on, knuckles scabbing over from dragging them towards seven points in four games. It took us ten last year to reach such a tally so it’s quite the upturn. But we right now are the footballing world’s equivalent to Neanderthal man – a unit as ruthlessly effective as it is disgusting on the eye.

The opening day at Preston North End was a joy. A shaky first half excepted, we had a Preston side - hotly tipped by many – chasing shadows for such long periods. On the face of things a draw was one we should have been delighted with, but such was the balance of play that I’ve still not quite come to terms with just getting a draw! A week later, and the visit of Fleetwood Town was somehow even more dire than some of the dross served up under Chris Kiwomya last season. We lost 1-0 having barely strung together a passing move all game. Comparisons were quickly drawn with a never ending list of sub-par Notts squads over the past two decades. We don’t do patience very well in Nottingham, you see.

Whilst an improvement at least in the effort department saw us through to a 2-1 victory at home to Colchester, things only got better with a win last weekend at Port Vale. Yes we rode our luck massively, and certainly we faced a barrage quite unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time – but victories are seldom more hard earned than this. 

There’s a cynicism in how we go about grinding out results that won’t make us many friends. In fact we’re likely to end this year making Graham Westley look like Santa Claus if things continue in the vein they are.

I’m at a point personally where time wasting doesn’t bother me – it’s a part of the game now and I wish more people would come round to my way of thinking. Every team does it, so why get precious about it? Should things start going Notts’ way on Sunday though, you’ll likely think that a line needs drawing somewhere!

It’s been a good start to the season really, particularly in comparison to last season. I thought it might take a lot longer for us to pick up points. We’ve done that though through blunt force, even if things aren’t quite gelling at a pace Derry and Abbott may prefer. But this is a squad with balls, with more character or spine than we became accustomed to for much of last season.

In goal, Roy Carroll has been inspired. Replacing Bialkowski (he who gifted Sam Baldock the winner at Ashton Gate) was supposed to be a daunting task but the Northern Ireland international is yet to put a foot wrong. In front of him it’s been great to see Hayden Mullins return over the Summer having been a key element of last year’s survival - Haydn Hollis will only continue to improve further with such experience around him.

We’ve been hit by a deluge of central midfielders – perhaps too many – but each is finding their feet nicely. Evergreen Gary Jones was a slow starter but ran the show last weekend at Vale. It’s fantastic to see a man like Alan Smith in the middle for us too, whilst Noble (top scorer with two) and Nicky Wroe were both great additions in my opinion this Summer.

We certainly appear to have gone for quantity over quality for yet another Summer, but things are coming together quite nicely. Up front we brought in Jake Cassidy and he has been a real threat in place of our new golden boy Jimmy Spencer, cruelly ruled out for the season after just 20 minutes of pre-season. It was Cass’ strike that gave us the lead at Preston on the opening day, and whilst he’s not found the scoresheet since, he’s been an absolute menace.

For all the positivity though, there are still those who doubt Shaun Derry. What more can he do to earn people’s trust? In signing on loan another midfielder – Reece Brown from Birmingham City – there are still questions regarding the recruitment. Brown himself was a standout performer against us in a pre-season hammering so I don’t particularly see the issue whilst we press on struggling to find creativity down the wings. Striker Shaun Harrad’s short term deal is certainly one that raises my considerable eyebrows however.

Derry has this week been linked with a move to the Premier League as Neil Warnock’s number two at Crystal Palace. I’m not buying it. Derry – one of our own – has spoke all Summer long about stability, integrity and making Meadow Lane a special place again. To walk away now would go against everything the man has preached to us since arriving last November. No one would blame him if he did make the switch, but I genuinely don’t see it happening.

For all the positive vibes around the club at the moment, of course we’re going to be cautious about the visit of City on Sunday. We may be delighted to see the back of Baldock who almost always managed to score against us, but that of course only tells half the story of the threats we’ll face.

We shan’t be a team perturbed though, intimidated by one of the greater challenges in League One. I don’t expect anything other than an ugly spectacle to be honest. If we take something though, even at this early stage in the season I think we just might be able to put together something special this season."

Many thanks to Stu for this fantastic piece. I particularly like the line about Neanderthal man and the reference to Graham Westley being Santa Claus! 


The Exiled Robin

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