Magpies defender Sheehan ready for a fight
ALAN Sheehan is ready to fight tooth and nail to keep his place in the Notts County team now he is finally back.
The left-back, 26, started a league game for the first time in ten weeks in the Magpies' 2-2 draw against Scunthorpe United.
And before facing Preston North End away tonight, he said: "It's my shirt now and I am going to fight hard to keep it."
Sheehan has been the first-choice left-back at Meadow Lane since joining Notts just over a year ago.
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He started 39 games in League One last season as they just missed out on the play-offs and then started the first five league games this season.
But he was then hit by a double hamstring injury, suspension and also found himself on the substitutes' bench after the Magpies signed Jordan Stewart on a short-term deal.
He returned against the Iron and is now determined to re-establish himself in the Notts defence and earn a new deal at the club.
"It was great to be back out there," he said.
"I've had a frustrating time with injuries.
"I was hoping to be back sooner, for the game against Portsmouth in the Cup, but did my hamstring again and that set me back.
"I was a bit tired by the end of the game (against Scunthorpe), but I'm happy to have come through it and I'm looking forward now.
"It's my shirt now and I am going to fight hard to keep it and stay in the team."
The Magpies are in seventh place in League One ahead of their trip to Deepdale and Sheehan believes they can go on and clinch a place in the play-offs – or even automatic promotion.
"This team is going places this season and I want to be in there playing my part," he added.
Notts are unbeaten in a record 18 away games stretching all the way back to when Keith Curle took charge in February.
Preston will pose a big challenge to them making it 19 games because they are unbeaten in their last five league games, against Scunthorpe, Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United, Stevenage and Brentford and have risen up to tenth place in the table.
But Curle still believes his side can go there and claim a victory because they are so confident on the road.
"There is a lot of hard work that goes into the away performances," he said.
"The team have got that resolve and belief about them.
"We have faced some difficult teams away from home and even gone down to ten men a couple of times, but even then we've managed to have enough in the tank to get good results.
"Saturday was a difficult game against a team that has got their belief back, but we went there and dominated possession of the game.
"It could have been all over by half-time.
"It's the first time we've completed over 500 passes in a game, which is a great stat, and we looked a goal threat.
"At times they couldn't get anywhere near the ball because of our passing and movement.
"They couldn't stop us and we will only get better as the season goes on because of the belief in how we're playing.
"Preston will be another difficult encounter.
"They are physically strong, mentally strong, organised, disciplined and more direct than most teams in the division.
"What we need to do is earn the right to play our football.
"At times we are going to have to go toe to toe with them and then find space to get the ball down and play.
"All games away are difficult, but our planning and preparation is detailed.
"We've got good scouting reports on them so we've seen them play enough.
"We've got good info on them and we know they have got strengths, but likewise they have got weaknesses.
"We know a few of their players between us so we're confident we can go there and be competitive."
Having slipped out of the top-six following their draw at Scunthorpe, Notts could rocket all the way up to third place if they beat Preston it is so tight towards the top of the League One table.
They are also only seven points adrift of leaders Tranmere and five behind second-placed Sheffield United – and that is even after only winning three league games at Meadow Lane.
Curle is happy Notts are in contention towards the top, but wants to go even higher.
"Everybody will say with the points we've thrown away at home we should be in the top-two, but I know that results will come because of the performances levels we are able to achieve," he said.
"Ideally I want to go unbeaten away until the end of the season and win every game at home.
"You have to set your sights high."