Stevenage success rounds off defining week

Monday 20th January 2014 10:32

Shaun Derry: Three wins in a row at the start of 2014

Shaun Derry: Three wins in a row at the start of 2014

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Notts County FanZoner Andrew Crawley is feeling upbeat after the Magpies won three in a row at the start of 2014.

If any fan had been asked to forecast which teams would have maintained a 100% start to 2014 after three games, Notts County would not have featured in many of those predictions.

Yet, here we are, just under three weeks into the New Year and Shaun Derry's men have won three out of three in 2014 following a vital 1-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Stevenage.

The victory over Graham Westley's side was only County's second win on the road this season, after their 4-0 triumph over Colchester in December.

After improved form at Meadow Lane in recent weeks, which has seen them win three of their past four games on home turf, it is equally important for The Magpies to turn around their away form.

Before their victory on Saturday, they had picked up just five points away from home this campaign in a dreadful run of form which has also seen ten defeats, which remains the most in the league.

However, the win in Hertfordshire symbolised not only the change in form but also the change in attitude surrounding the club in recent weeks, as a more positive mood has been established.

Spirits on the black and white side of Nottingham were given a further boost earlier this week when Aston Villa loanee Jack Grealish agreed a deal with County to remain until the end of the season.

Grealish has become fan favourite since his arrival in September and has been one of County's key players this season, offering a fearless attacking threat that will remain crucial to the club's survival hopes.

Speculation had been raging for a couple of weeks about Grealish's future, amid confusion that a deal had already been agreed to keep him at the club for the remainder of the campaign.

But Friday's confirmation that his contract at Meadow Lane had been extended provided the club with a huge sense of optimism ahead of Saturday's clash at Stevenage.

Ironically, one downside of County's victory was an injury to Grealish in the first half, which meant he had to be replaced just before half time.

Fans will be no doubt hoping the injury is not serious.

However, the team should take heart from the fact that, despite Grealish's early exit from the game, they were still able to secure the victory thanks to a goal from his replacement, Callum Ball.

This shows that although Grealish remains a vital figure in the team, there is currently enough momentum to overcome his loss.

County's last two victories have also been without fellow loan star Callum McGregor.

Scot McGregor was also a hit with the County faithful following a successful spell on loan from Celtic, scoring twelve goals in all competitions that were crucial in setting the club on their way to some essential victories.

Having returned to Glasgow after County's New Year's Day game with Bradford, McGregor's future is still undecided, with League One promotion hopefuls Wolves rumoured to be interested in signing the midfielder.

Again, Shaun Derry's side can take encouragement from the fact that they have secured two straight wins since McGregor's loan expired.

But with games against the likes of Peterborough and Walsall coming up, McGregor's addition to the squad would be a huge bonus.

It has been a positive week for County which could prove decisive come the end of the season.

But there are many more defining moments ahead in the club's battle to preserve their League One status.

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