Exeter v Notts County preview
Last Updated: 07/09/18 11:09am
Exeter striker Jonathan Forte hopes to return from injury against his former club Notts County.
The 32-year-old, who left the Magpies to move to St James' Park in the summer, has missed the last four matches with a hamstring problem. City boss Matt Taylor will see if Forte can be involved in Saturday's game to some degree, most likely as a substitute - although the Grecians' failure to score a single goal in his absence could lead to a surprise start.
Jimmy Oates, Dara O'Shea, Luke Croll, Craig Woodman, Jordan Tillson, Archie Collins and Hiram Boateng all impressed in the Checkatrade Trophy win against Yeovil and will hope to keep their places.
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Dan Jones is suspended for Harry Kewell's first league fixture as Notts County manager. The left-back is serving a three-match ban following his red card in the home defeat to Forest Green last weekend.
It remains to be seen how Kewell will line up his team as the Magpies, tipped for promotion before the campaign, look for their first win of the season. The former Crawley boss was impressed with his side's first-half display at Grimsby in the Checkatrade Trophy in midweek and wholesale changes are not expected from that starting XI.
Exeter have won four of their previous 10 matches against the Magpies in the Football League (D3 L3), including their most recent meeting in January.
Notts County have only lost once on their last 11 away league trips to Exeter (W4 D6), winning each on each of their last two visits to St James Park.
Whilst Exeter have only lost one of their last 11 league games at St James Park (W6 D4 - including play-offs), that was their most recent such game, 0-3 against Lincoln City. They haven't lost back-to-back home league matches since last October.
With just one point to show for their opening six games, this is Notts County's joint-worst start to a season in the Football League, alongside 1912-13, 1957-58 and 2013-14.
Jon Stead has scored three goals and assisted another in his last four league games for Notts County against Exeter, scoring the Magpies' only goal in the most recent clash between the two, a 2-1 defeat in January 2018.
Two defeats on the spin have derailed Exeter's early-season form in Sky Bet League Two, but this game represents an excellent opportunity for them to get back on the winning trail.
Harry Kewell takes charge of his first Notts County game on Saturday and he would have hoped for an easier start than the long trip to Devon. For some reason I fancy County to sneak a victory here that could kickstart their season.
David Prutton predicts: 1-2 (11/1 with Sky Bet)