Being second place in League Two, the Magpies have had a cracking season so far. Swansea, however, find themselves stuck to the bottom of the Premier League. Whilst two whole divisions of football separate these two sides, their contrasting fortunes makes for an intriguing cup tie. To form a cup run that might well be just the icing on the cake of a long overdue season of positivity at Meadow Lane, County will need to make use of their relative confidence if they are to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
After recruiting the managerial services of Carlos Carvalhal at the end of December, Swansea have had a change of form, with two wins in their last five games marking a notable improvement. One of these was their impressive 1-0 win over Liverpool recently, with Klopp’s Formula 1, as Carvahal had it, stuck in gridlock. Swansea frustrated his team by stopping them from playing the game how they wanted. The Swans are in better spirits ahead of their trip to Nottingham, yet still lie bottom of the Premier League.
“At the Swansea press conference, Kevin Nolan said the cup tie was a welcome break from the pressures of the league and saw an opportunity for his players to enjoy themselves”
Although they will want to beat League Two high fliers County, they have a league game against Arsenal on Tuesday, leaving one to question how many first team players will be rested for this cup tie. Carvalhal has acknowledged this issue, stating before the game that the congested fixture list is ‘not good for the cup’ as there should be ‘more days for the cup so all coaches can put out their best teams’ and that he will change his mind ‘20 times’ before picking a squad for Saturday’s game.
Notts County on the other hand are higher in the league than many expected. At the Swansea press conference, Kevin Nolan said the cup tie was a welcome break from the pressures of the league and saw an opportunity for his players to enjoy themselves, calling it a ‘fantastic occasion’. He also talked of his hope for a positive performance and their desire to cause an upset, which he thought could happen with a bit of luck. New signing Noor Husin also spoke at the press conference, speaking of his first few games with County and how the whole squad has welcomed him into the team. He was delighted to get the call to go to County and is looking forward to the game on Saturday.
“he doesn’t fear anyone when they play at Meadow Lane”
He said ‘it will be great to test ourselves against a Premier League team and see what we can do’ and also spoke of the fans, with the game having the potential to sell out, saying he hoped the team could give the supporters what they deserve. From what was said today, both the team and the management think a win on Saturday is not an impossible feat. Nolan said that he believes County can beat Swansea and that he doesn’t fear anyone when they play at Meadow Lane.
Impact Magazine spoke to Notts Chairman and Owner, Alan Hardy, as he and Nolan celebrate their one year anniversary at the club. The upbeat owner spoke about County’s cup draw:
AH: “I think it’s great. I mean, I was after a Premier League side, a top six side, a Man United, a Spurs or a Liverpool. It wasn’t to be, but the next best thing is a home game and to sell out, so with due respect we didn’t want a Yeovil or a Rochdale. We wanted a side where we sell out the stadium.
“That’s really important for us from a financial angle. We want 20,000 here, we want it absolutely rocking. Kevin Nolan said after the game on Saturday he doesn’t care who we play as long as were home, as this is a fortress here. We call it our fortress, we’ve only lost here once in twelve months, to a Portsmouth side on the last day of season where they were promoted at the top of their game.
“We’ve beaten a League 1 side in Bristol Rovers, beaten a Championship side at the weekend, who says we can’t go one further and beat a Premier League side!?”
Touching on his tactics for Saturday, Nolan stressed that to win the game the team need to stick to their plan and step up to the quality the Swans will bring to the game.
As 3pm on Saturday rolls around, the Notts County squad will be apprehensive but excited for the opportunity to test pit their wits against a Premier League side. How important this tie is to Swansea will be clearer once their team is announced. If the expected changes to the first team do occur, County could have a real chance at nicking it and causing an upset.
After all, everyone loves an underdog in the cup.
Featured image: Impact Images