Notts County manager Neal Ardley and striker Kristian Dennis have given their thoughts before Chesterfield visit Meadow Lane for the second time this season.
The Magpies will hope to repeat their FA Trophy home win over Spireites and avenge their 1-0 league defeat at the Proact Stadium in the National League.
Dagenham and Redbridge handed Notts their first defeat since their FA Cup exit to Northampton last Saturday.
The clash will be televised on BT Sport; kick off has consequently been pushed back to 5:20pm. Saturday will also be both sides’ first action since the confirmation of the tragic passing of Matlock Town midfielder and former Spireite Jordan Sinnott, aged just 25.
Clubs around the country and Europe have expressed their condolences to Jordan’s family and have sent shirts with ‘Sinnott 25’ to display at his funeral, which will then be auctioned for Sport Relief.
Both Ardley and Dennis, who played alongside Sinnott during his time at the Proact before joining Notts, paid tribute to him in Thursday’s press conference.
Ardley said “It’s horrific. Our condolences go out to his friends and family; when something like that happens, it really does put life into perspective at such a young age. In football we all get so angst about football and defeats and, like I say, it’s shocked me, it’s really shaken us all, and we’ll all have to try and pay our respects as best we can before the game.”
Former Chesterfield teammate Dennis added “I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my phone after the game on Saturday… I was gobsmacked and you can see now from the tributes that are going out to him, with the shirt campaign that’s going on, just how well-loved he was by literally everyone, so I can’t speak highly enough of him.
“I don’t think anyone would have a bad word to say about him. You walk in and he’ll just brighten up the room and just constantly laughing, he had that infectious laugh that, no matter what mood you’re in, you’ll laugh at it, so just a brilliant guy.”
Speaking to Futbol Callander, the Notts County manager said:
“We’re really happy with the business and the support we’ve done. Are we likely to see any more ins-and-outs? Possibly, with the Sam [Slocombe] situation if we think we’re light in that position, with Nathan Tyson going to Chesterfield.
“You never say never, I think there’s a chance but it’s not a case of we’ve got one just about to get over the line by any stretch.
“We’re disappointed with last week and we’ve had to try and put that to bed but learn from it. I know the fans, with Chesterfield, will want to get one over but for us it’s all about that top seven, it’s all about not falling out of it. We can’t afford to lose too many games, particularly if we want to get one of those top three places.”
Looking back on Saturday’s defeat in London, Ardley commented:
“I think as a manager you have to not brush the defeat under the carpet, you have to look at it, but you’ve got to be careful you don’t come away from all the good work that you’ve done previously. We were nine games unbeaten and one defeat’s one defeat, and it’s just trying to get that balance right…
“It was just one of those weekends with Sam Slocombe going down on Friday injured, to the coach getting a puncture, to no heating in the dressing room, Doyley getting sent off. It was just one of those weekends where everything that could’ve gone wrong did.
“When it’s one defeat in nine, you probably look at saying ‘Well, we don’t need to change too much, let’s make sure we get back to where we were’. If you hadn’t won a game in nine, you might need to look at changing things up a little bit.”
The manager also addressed his side’s lack of goals in recent games.
“It would concern me more if we didn’t have any chances… If you’re not creating chances maybe you look and go ‘Oh I don’t know where our goals are going to come from’; I don’t feel that way, so we’ve got to have fun with it, enjoy it and hope that our forwards and wide players have got goals in them.”
Michael Doyle’s third red card of the season at Dagenham has landed him with a three-game suspension. Ardley said on Thursday:
“He’s annoyed, he’s frustrated. The punishment he gets now, really, is down to the first two sending-offs, not what happened on Saturday. I thought he was very unfortunate on Saturday, and he’s been so good lately.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s local derby, the manager commented:
“I think on Saturday, hopefully, there’ll be a big away following which will add to it. The feeling the whole place had after the Mansfield win last year was great, so if we can do that again for the fans in a season that’s got more positives then it will be great no matter who we play against.
“John [Pemberton]’s got them organised, and having watched their last few games, I think they’ll get out of it if they continue the way they’re going. I expect it to be tight, I don’t think it’s going to be easy to create chances, we’re going to have to work hard and get our patterns going.
“But we’ve got attacking threats and we can’t get bogged down by the fact we’ve had two games without a goal. We’ve got 15 games to try and get as many points as we can and it won’t be decided on Saturday at seven o’clock.”