Written by Chris Gwillam
Notts County are looking to put a heavy derby defeat to Mansfield behind them when they face Gillingham on Saturday in their historic 5000th Football League game.
County, who have started their first campaign in the Football League in four years in impressive style, saw a humiliating 4-1 defeat last week and are looking to right the wrongs against managerless Gillingham.
Currently sitting in second place in the League Two table, County travel to Kent with a point to prove.
The embarrassment of a derby defeat is something which the players will have to put behind them when they face a Gillingham side who have similarly started the season well.
Gillingham, who currently sit in the final playoff spot, similarly faced a heavy 4-1 defeat to Black Country outfit Walsall last time out in a game which saw their caretaker manager, Keith Millen, sent off in a remarkable event where he entered the field of play and tackle an opposition player.
The Gills had started well, winning seven games so far this season but have stalled in recent weeks, leading to Neil Harris being sacked earlier this month.
Despite this, the Kent side will look to bounce back as they host County at Priestfield and as their search for a manager continues, winning difficult games is of importance if they want to continue with their promising start to the season.
Notts County head coach Luke Williams will want to plug the gap in a defence that has leaked goals since coming back to the football league.
Despite having one of the best defensive records in the National League last season, County have already conceded more than half of the goals that went against them in the previous campaign.
Though this may be a concern now, County not playing their best and still being in the automatic promotion places bodes well for the season, especially if the players can improve further.
Gillingham, however, also have a point to prove and, similarly to County, will be looking to return to winning ways and continue with a promising start to their campaign.
Keith Millen, caretaker manager, will hope that they can be more impactful in front of goal, as the current joint lowest scorers in the division.
Gills, who have the upper hand in this fixture (winning 16 times to County’s 10) will look to top scorer, Macauley Bonne to lead the line at Priestfield and continue on from his goal last weekend against Walsall, although that was the only light in a poor game for the Kent outfit who seemingly never got going and looked poor, ultimately dominated throughout by a young Walsall team.
While Gillingham will be looking to improve, it will be for Notts County’s own Macaulay (Langstaff) and strike partner David McGoldrick to show their worth and build on their blossoming strike partnership which has already seen 14 goals scored between the pair.
Notts County will want to win this game more than most as Priestfield Stadium hosts a historic game in the club’s long history as they will play their 5000th Football League match on Saturday. A fantastic achievement which can only be said by a few other teams.
Saturday will be an important test and one which if they pass against a strong, promotion contending outfit will show Magpies fans whether the start of the season has been a fluke or if it is instead something which Luke Williams can build on and continue to keep them in the automatic places.