THE BIG MATCH

Notts County endured only their second defeat of the campaign in midweek, and on Saturday they face table-toppers Tranmere Rovers, who are yet to lose.

The Magpies went down 2-1 to Stevenage, with Robin Shroot scoring a last-gasp winner for Gary Smith's side, but they will want to bounce back at the first attempt.

That defeat to Boro came off the back of three draws and three victories, which leaves County fourth in the npower League 1 standings.

Jamal Campbell-Ryce scored the goal for the Magpies in midweek, and he believes the team are eager to make amends.

"It's a test of character of how you bounce back and it's a perfect game against a side at the top of the league at the moment," the 29-year-old commented on www.nottscountyfc.co.uk.

"I think they [Tranmere] will try to frustrate us and hit us on the counter, like Stevenage, but if they do come at us, we've just got to show them what we can do.

"I don't think there's anything to be scared of, because we've got a lot of ability in our squad."

Tranmere picked up another victory in midweek - a 3-1 success over Scunthorpe United - which was their seventh of the campaign, after just 10 matches.

Winger Joe Thompson, who joined the club in the summer from Rochdale, believes the blend of players in the squad is the reason behind the success so far.

He told www.tranmererovers.co.uk: "There's a lot of lads who are here who are young but they've got a mature mentality. They want to be doing that bit extra, they want to be in the gym and they want to be doing injury prevention.

"And then you see people like Andy Robinson and Ian Goodison, who've got experience, and it gels really well together.

"We can't really go any further than top so we just have to make sure that everyone is doing the right things and staying focussed and professional and we'll see where it takes us."

The experienced Robinson may have been one of the stars of the show so far for Rovers, with seven goals to date, but he will be missing for the trip to Meadow Lane after picking up a hamstring injury during their match against Scunthorpe.

The Magpies, meanwhile, will be without defender Alan Sheehan, who was sent off for a deliberate handball against Stevenage.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Yeovil Town and Colchester United are locked on 10 points in the bottom half of the npower League 1 table and they meet at Huish Park on Saturday.

After a good start to the season, which lifted them to top spot after three matches, Yeovil have now tasted defeat in each of their last six fixtures - which is the league's worst run.

Their latest result was a narrow 2-1 home loss against Portsmouth and boss Gary Johnson wants a reaction from his men against the U's, telling Glovers Player: "The next game always gives you a chance to turn a bad run of form around.

"We have been a little bit short of form and confidence but what we did say at the start of the season is, it's all very well winning games and people being up for it after a win but we want to see the characters of some of them in adversity - some have come through okay and some haven't.

"We're all positive people and we want to be at the top end of this league and we will keep trying, and I will keep saying things like that.

"We have to be aware that there will be situations where we have some losses, though, and then you just have to do what me Darren [Way, coach] and Terry [Skiverton, assistant manager] do, which is work every hour that god sends, to put it right."

In a bid to spark a revival in his side's fortunes, Johnson may hand a debut to striker Paddy Madden, who has joined on loan from League 1 rivals Carlisle United.

Colchester have managed a revival of their own in recent weeks, with two successive wins following the managerial appointment of Joe Dunne - 3-1 against Hartlepool United last Saturday and 1-0 away win to Swindon Town in midweek.

And Dunne is concentrating on his own team ahead of their clash with the league's out-of-form side, he told the Daily Gazette: "The players' motivation is to win, no matter what.

"The fact that they [Yeovil] have lost six on the bounce really doesn't interest me. For me, it's all about us and its how we turn up, how we prepare and what we're going to do.

"What Yeovil do is down to them and the one thing that I believe in is that we must focus on our strengths and do what's right for us. We need to impose ourselves on the opposition, irrespective of who we're playing or where we're playing."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Second-placed Stevenage will aim to pile the pressure on league leaders Tranmere Rovers as they face lowly Scunthorpe United.

Gary Smith will want his side to maintain their momentum from a midweek victory over Notts County, while the Iron will hope to kick-start a run of good form, having lost their last two. Prior to them two defeats, Alan Knill's men had picked up eight points from four matches.

Crawley Town will also want to close the gap at the top of the division - they are on the road to Brentford, who have drawn three of their last four.

Bury remain in search of their first victory of the campaign and they host Swindon Town. Boss Kevin Blackwell could hand a debut to defender Matt Doherty, who has joined on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Paolo Di Canio's team lost narrowly to Colchester United in midweek but will be eager to put that defeat behind them in their visit to Gigg Lane.

Hartlepool United remain with just one win so far and this weekend they are up against Crewe Alexandra.

Bournemouth and Coventry City have also managed just one win and they go head-to-head at the Ricoh Arena.

The Cherries are the latest club to become managerless in The Football League, with Paul Groves departing this week. The Sky Blues, meanwhile, have improved under new boss Mark Robins, with a draw and a win in his first two fixtures in charge.

Sheffield United extended their unbeaten run in midweek with a 2-1 away success in the North East against Hartlepool, and their next opponents are mid-table Leyton Orient.

Milton Keynes Dons are also on an unbeaten run, of five matches, and they welcome Portsmouth to stadiummk. The Dons have won four and drew one of their home matches to date, conceding just once, so Pompey will be up against it on Saturday.

In contrast to Karl Robinson's Dons, Oldham Athletic are yet to win at home this term. The Latics will hope to change that statistic against Preston North End, who sit just outside the Play-Off places.

The final two fixtures in npower League 1 this weekend see Doncaster Rovers host 15th-placed Shrewsbury Town and Walsall, who have 17 points from their opening 10 matches, take on Greg Abbott's Carlisle United.

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