Notts County boss Kevin Nolan seeking a response against Pool
Notts County boss Kevin Nolan says he is confident he will see a reaction from his players when they take on Blackpool this weekend.
The Magpies’ 2-1 defeat at Luton Town last Saturday means Nolan’s men have now lost two on the spin since confirming their League Two safety.
And Nolan, whose side were just a point ahead of the relegation spots when he arrived in January, feels securing safety may have had a part to play in what he described as a “very poor” first half performance against the Hatters.
He said: “I don’t want to come away from what we have achieved in such a short space of time.
“When I came in, everyone thought we would be coming to this stage of the season still in the relegation battle so it is a fantastic achievement (to already be safe).
“The teams who perform great escapes often do it on the final day but we haven’t. This has been a great escape. Hats off to (chairman) Alan Hardy and the players for buying into me.
“The lads have been through a hell of a lot and I am sure we will get a reaction from them at home to Blackpool next Saturday. I’m looking forward to it.”
County had taken a sixth-minute lead at Kenilworth Road when Elliott Hewitt netted, but Pool’s play-off rivals hit back and went on to win the game thanks to strikes from Ollie Palmer and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.
Nonetheless, Nolan insisted nothing should be taken away from the players for how they have performed since the appointment of the former Newcastle United midfielder at the turn of the year.
He added: “In the last two games I feel we have not been the same team we were in the five games previously. It has been disappointing.
“We could have come away with a point despite not playing well which pleases me a little more than if we had lay down and let Luton run all over us.
“We had a go in the second half but we were very poor in the first half.
“That is what happens when the lads feel the relief of getting to safety after what they have been through this season. You have a big sigh of relief and everything drops so it is up to us as a staff to pick them up again.”
The club announced this week that it has cancelled its end-of-season awards night following the news that its ladies team was being liquidated just two days before the season was due to begin.
The club’s awards will now be presented at Saturday’s men’s home game with Blackpool.