Notts County have moved quickly to announce their new Head Coach, in the form of former Östersund FK manager Ian Burchnall.

The 38-year-old arrives at Meadow Lane after Neal Ardley’s departure on Wednesday surprised many fans, but supporters already seem positive about the rest of Notts’ season.

Burchnall started his coaching career at Leeds United’s academy, before moving onto Bradford City and then leaving for Scandinavia.

His time on the continent began with Sarpsborg 08 in 2012, as assistant manager under Brian Deane.

He then moved to Norway and spent three years as Viking FK (formerly managed by Roy Hodgson and Uwe Rosler) manager after originally taking the assistant manager position.

He was sacked in 2017 amid ‘off-field issues’ as he tried to slash the club’s wage bill in his first spell in senior management.

His most recent appointment before arriving at Notts was a two-year spell at Östersund FK in the Allsvenskan, replacing Brighton manager Graham Potter.

Potter had taken the club from the fourth division to the first, the Europa League and a Swedish Cup victory before joining Swansea City.

The Leicester-born head coach took charge of Östersund for one game in an ‘interim’ spell, but ended up being appointed permanently on the strength of that performance alone.

Burchnall was quick to point out the way he hopes to set the Magpies up, which equally excited supporters.

Notts have flattered to deceive in front of goal for much of this season, missing Kristian Dennis’ goals after his summer departure to St Mirren, and are relying more heavily than ever on Kyle Wootton.

Wootton is the club’s top scorer so far this season, but Notts have only scored 36 goals in 27 National League games at time of writing – the lowest tally of any club down to Dagenham in 16th.

Notts went on a spell of six league games without scoring two goals until a 2 – 0 win over Solihull Moors in January; attacking intensity is something Burchnall seems keen to address.

“I’m a coach that believes in positive football, attacking football, and I want players to be brave”, he told the club website on Thursday.

“I want brave players that want to get on the ball and want to express themselves, even under pressure.

“I try to place myself in the stands and think, ‘What would I want my team to look like’ when we play the game.

I think how the game looks is also important, of course the results are massive in football, but how it looks, for me, is important.”

Burchnall should have no lack of attacking options, with Inih Effiong, Wootton, Elisha Sam, Jimmy Knowles, Enzio Boldewijn, Ruben Rodrigues and Cal Roberts (once fit) just some of the bodies Notts can rely on to make their ‘goals for’ column look a little more respectable.

That said, he inherits the best defence in the league, having let in just 23 so far. That record, at least, bodes well for the rest of the season.

“I’ve watched a lot of games now, in a very short period of time, and I’ve learnt a lot”, Burchnall added.

“I think the team has got some really good assets, and has had some really good performances.

“We’re sitting sixth because there’s been some really good performances.”

Notts County’s new man will have a chance to take his new club to Wembley in his first game as Head Coach, as Notts host AFC Hornchurch in the FA Trophy semi-final on Saturday. Some motivation.

His first league game will be the Magpies’ rescheduled trip to Aldershot on Tuesday night, postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the hosts’ squad.


Featured image credit: Notts County Football Club

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