Video: Notts County manager Kevin Nolan on the ‘biggest games of managerial career’
Notts County manager Kevin Nolan has said he and his players are ready for the ‘biggest games of his managerial career’ as the Magpies prepare to face Coventry City.
Notts travel to the Ricoh Arena to play Coventry City tomorrow (Saturday May 12) for the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final.
The Magpies finished fifth in the league with Coventry sixth – the sides were separated by two points in the finished table.
And ahead of the first leg, Nolan said he had seen an added spring in the step of every player in training as they all compete for a starting place.
He said: “The sun’s been out and the guns have been out; everything’s been out with it all on the line!
“The lads have got that little bug in them which I love to see and it’s always better kicking a football in the sun when you’ve got a wet pitch and everything seems much more rosier.
“It’s going to be a tough one on Saturday but that’s why I want to be the manager, that’s why I want to be employed as the manager to make those tough decisions in selection.
“Hopefully, I’ll make the right ones and I’m not scared to say at times this season I haven’t got it right every time.
“But what I will do is have great belief in the 18 I pick in that that will be the right selection for that occasion and that will be my decision and my decision only.”
Watch: Kevin Nolan on Coventry City
Nolan thinks he has found the weaknesses the Magpies can exploit ahead of the first leg.
He said: “They do all the things right, have great attributes and great strengths but I believe we have found a few weaknesses and if we can exploit them and match them, hopefully we can get a good result.
“We know it’s going to be tough – if we go back to the first game of the season, we lost 3-0 at the Ricoh; I spoke to the chairman and he thought we were going to need a new squad!
“He was obviously in his infancy of how football goes and the lads’ response to that was absolutely amazing and to be where they are now is a credit to them.
“It’s about making sure we do what we do and do it better than Coventry and if we do that, we’ve a fantastic chance over the two legs.”
Watch: Jon Stead never thought Notts would be where they are at the start of the season
Striker Jon Stead never thought Notts County would make the play-offs at the start of the season given Notts’ relegation fight in the previous one.
He will be playing in his first ever play-offs at the age of 35.
Stead said: “Once we got the squad in, there was a strong confidence about how our yera was going to go.
“It would be silly to sit here and say at the time, we fancied to win the league and we were going to go up and get promoted.
“But after five or six games, there was a real strong belief we could be in and among that top three.
“I think to sit with a hint of disappointment because we are in the play-offs and not in that top three is mad – it’s unexpected and shows what a great thing we have achieved this season.”