Liddle's proving his worth in new test with Notts
ARRIVING at Notts County in the summer, Gary Liddle was after a new challenge.
Having just turned 26, he had clocked up 283 games as a Hartlepool player, a remarkable feat.
Magpies boss Keith Curle wanted the versatile Liddle to play in the middle of the park, handing him the number eight shirt.
But in the first game against Crewe, an injury to Manny Smith saw him drop back to the heart of the defence.
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And both there, and lately filling in at right-back, he has become just as much a fixture in the Notts side as he was at Hartlepool.
In fact, he has played every single minute of all 17 league matches, helping the Magpies to fifth spot in League One, just two points off second place.
Ahead of travelling to Scunthorpe today, Liddle is delighted with how it has gone so far.
"When I came here my first aim was to be in the team," he said.
"I got used to being a fixture in the team at Hartlepool and I felt I had to leave to give myself a new challenge.
"Coming here, I knew it would be just that so to have played every single minute of every league game, I am really pleased.
"I played the first quarter of the season at centre-back and then moved to right-back and whether I will stay there we will wait and see.
"It is one of those where I had to fill in and I can count on one hand how many times I have played out there on the right.
"But with Jamal (Campbell-Ryce) in front it is not too bad; you just give him the ball and let him go.
"I am just pleased to be a major part of where we are this season."
As for going the whole season in the same fashion, he added: "It is very rare because there is usually niggling injuries that crop up but touch wood, that doesn't happen.
"If I can keep in good form and the team can keep winning, hopefully I won't be too far from achieving that."
Notts are on a remarkable run of 17 games unbeaten on their travels ahead of facing the iron tomorrow and another road trip on Tuesday night to Preston.
It is at home where they are struggling, losing four of their nine league matches at Meadow Lane.
"We have done well away from home and there are two more to come," said Liddle.
"We beat Scunthorpe at their place in the JPT earlier in the season but league games and the JPT are completely different in terms of atmosphere and what not.
"We are under no illusions that we have to play well to get the three points again.
"They have picked up over the last couple of weeks so it will be difficult.
"The home and away form is massively apart, but that last game was a major positive in terms of the first half where we completely outplayed Crawley and then got caught by the sucker-punch.
"Although we did draw 1-1, we didn't lose and it is something to build on."
Liddle said the Magpies would have taken their current position at the start of the campaign but also feels they could be higher in the table.
"We would have taken fifth but then there is the flip side when you look at points that we have thrown away and you think about what could have been," he said. "But it is swings and roundabouts. We cannot complain about where we are. We just need to continue this form and pick up on the home results.
"The lads are all going in one direction, we drive each other on and there are lads who aren't playing who are disappointed but they all show support to the lads who do play.
"We all want the same thing, from the manager to the players to the dinner ladies. We all want promotion.
"To get that we will need to sort our home form out and stick to what we have been doing away."