Preview | Torquay Utd (h)
An early chance for Ian Burchnall's men to exact some revenge for the play-off semi-final defeat of just 8 or 9 weeks ago.
Torquay look to have taken a step back since losing in the subsequent promotion final to Hartlepool. Several key players have left the club including arguably the leagues best goal keeper last season in Lucas Covolan. This appears to have left Torquay in a state of transition not helped by an opening day defeat at home to Altrincham.
Reports from the English Riviera suggest that last season's star player Connor Lemonheigh-Evans will return from injury to face Notts which may give the Gulls a boost after the influential midfielder missed the opening day defeat.
Of course Notts have former Torquay favourites Kyle Cameron and Aaron Nemane who will be looking forward to facing their old club suggesting there should be a bit of an edge to this game even at this early stage of the season.
Obviously it's very early days so difficult to produce any meaningful stats but let's see what we can do.
We'll start with the easy stuff. Notts and Torquay have now faced each other on 47 occasions in all competitions.
Despite the defeat at Plainmoor in that play-off game the last time Notts lost to the Gulls was December 2005 at their place in an FA Cup tie, however, you have to go all the way back to March 1961 for the last time Notts lost at home to this weekends visitors. Hopefully that's a stat that remains intact come 5pm Saturday!
I previously cited Lemonheigh-Evans as the Torquay player to watch before the play-off game and there's no doubting if he is fit enough to play on Saturday we will need to keep a close eye on him.
Having looked at the current Torquay squad and their summer transfer business there was one player who stuck out for me and that was 25 year old central midfielder Tom Lapslie who some may remember from his time at Colchester United where he gained some invaluable league and play-off experience.
Lapslie has over 150 league appearances to his name with 21 of those in the third tier and together with club Captain Asa Hall (if played) could certainly give Matt Palmer and Ed Francis plenty to think about.
Another player at Torquay to look out for is 23 year old right back Ben Wynter. A product of Crystal Palace's academy Wynter has played both right back and right centre back for the Gulls so I thought it might be good to see how he compared to our own Richard Brindley last season.
Below you can see how the key attributes for the two players compared based on a 90 minute average for all games played last season.
Torquay tend to play a traditional 4-4-2 but it will be interesting to see if Gary Johnson moves away from this in an attempt to nullify Notts' wide attacking threat which can move quite fluidly from a 3-5-2 to a slightly narrower 3-4-3 providing a more combative midfield.
Notts are currently favourites with the bookies with a not very enticing 10/11 for the outright win. You can get 5/2 on a Torquay win and 5/2 again for the draw.
Based on these odds you would expect Notts to have a 52% chance of a win and a 29% chance of a win for Torquay.
Hopefully once we have a few more games under our belts we can start to include a bit more data to the previews. Also, due to the close proximity of the Torquay and Wrexham games it's likely the Wrexham preview will be bundled into the Torquay report.
As always thanks for reading and if you have any questions about the stats please feel free to give me a shout either in the comments section below, via the contact page on the website or through the usual social media channels.
Betting odds are only used as another means to assess current form and sporting industry expectations of possible result. Notts County Stats do not endorse any form of gambling or betting industry associated businesses.