New Notts County boss Ian Burchnall has not had the easiest first week in charge. A loss to lower-league Hornchurch in the FA Trophy semi-final was followed by an agonising National League defeat by Aldershot, putting him on the back foot. But a win tomorrow against Wrexham would bandage over the wounds.
Wrexham sit fifth, directly above the Magpies in the National League table with two games in hand. A win tomorrow lunchtime would move Notts up to fourth – at least until Stockport face Aldershot at 3pm.
Burchnall said: “We know this is a really valuable game. It would be great to give ourselves some momentum and take some of theirs.”
Wrexham haven’t lost in their last seven games, taking 15 points from a possible 21 in the process.
“They are extremely well organised and like to move the ball from back to front quickly – very similar to Aldershot in that regard,” said Burchnall.
Burchnall accepts that Notts’ status adds to the pressure to get results. “Because of the size of the club there’s a general narrative around the place at the moment that we have to win, we have to get promoted, and we have to finish in the play-offs, and I don’t think that other clubs have that,” Burchnall said.
The new boss believes that the pressure placed on the players isn’t helping their performances. “We need to try and take a bit of that pressure off the players and allow them to play with a bit more freedom.”
He believes that’s what hampered them in a dire attacking performance on Tuesday night that saw them take 86 minutes to register a shot on target. “The players need to take a few more risks in the final third, and sometimes play the one final pass to unlock the defence,” said Burchnall.
Notts fans will be boosted by the possible return of The Geordie Messi, Cal Roberts. “He came through training OK, so he could in contention, but certainly not ready to start.”
In last week’s edition of The Non-League Paper, columnist Adam Virgo said: “We also shouldn’t forget that Callum Roberts, who is arguably the best player in the National League, has hardly been available this season.”
Burchnall was keen to make sure that expectations aren’t too high ahead of Roberts’s return. “Look, he’s not played a game since November. He’s a wonderful talent, a good footballer. I don’t expect him to come in and change a whole game, if he does wonderful, but it’s about building him up so that for the last 10 games of the season we’ve got a top player that’s ready to influence games.”
Notts County v Wrexham 12:15pm – BT Sport 1
By Alex Brinton