Boss Curle believes Notts County will relish their underdog tag against the Cobblers

Keith Curle believes Notts County will be looking forward to playing a game as the underdogs when they head to the PTS Academy Stadium to take on the Cobblers in the FA Cup second round this Sunday (ko 2pm).

Friday, 29th November 2019, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 11:06 am
Notts County were relegated from the Football League on the last day of last season

The Magpies were surprisingly relegated from Sky Bet League Two last season, bringing to an end their status as the world's oldest Football League club.

County had been founder members of the Football League in 1888 and had been part of it ever since, until they were beaten 3-1 by Swindon Town on the final day of last season and condemned to the non-League.

Hopes were high that they would bounce back quickly and they were pre-season promotion favourites, but Neal Ardley's men have endured a testing time adjusting to life in the National League.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Neal Ardley

Going into this weekend's FA Cup first round date with the Cobblers, they sit in ninth place, six points adrift of the play-offs, and nine points off the top and the only automatic promotion place.

They have failed to win any of their past three games, and on Tuesday night were held to a 2-2 draw at Meadow Lane by Boreham Wood, with the visitors levelling things with a late penalty after the Magpies had taken the lead in stoppage time.

It was another frustrating night for Ardley's men, but Curle, who was manager at County for a year from February, 2012 to February, 2013, knows all too well the pressure the Magpies manager is under, and this weekend's FA Cup clash will be a welcome distraction.

"Week in, week out now, Notts County are the big fish in that division which again comes with different expectations, " said Curle.

"That can lead to a different mindset, a different approach to games, when that expectation is on them not only externally, but internally as well.

"It will come as a welcome relief to them that they go into Sunday's game not being the favourites."

Ardley is a manager that Curle has come up against many times over the years.

He is an admirer of the way he works, and he knows they will have their players well prepared for this weekend.

"I have come up against Neal a few times and he knows what he is doing, and with his assistant Neil Cox they form a formidable partnership," said the Cobblers boss.

"They have good knowledge of football and know how to manage a team and a football club."