Notts County: Big defensive problems for Magpies
NOTTS County have big defensive problems.
The Magpies will definitely be missing centre-back Dean Leacock when they face Crawley Town in League One today (3pm) because he is banned.
Right-back Julian Kelly is also a doubt with a calf injury and Krystian Pearce has an ankle problem.
It leaves boss Chris Kiwomya with just Alan Sheehan, Gary Liddle, youngster Haydn Hollis, out-of-favour duo Manny Smith and Hamza Bencherif and a couple of kids.
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Leacock is suspended for two games, after being booked for the tenth time this season in their 1-1 draw against Leyton Orient at Meadow Lane, and Kiwomya admits it gives him a major headache.
"Dean has been very good for us and having him out causes us a bit of a headache, but hopefully whoever comes in can do the job and keep it steady for us at the back," he said.
"Dean was upset after the game, not just because of the booking but because he gave away the penalty that they scored."
Smith is most likely to be thrown into central defence to partner Hollis if Kiwomya plays a back-four, unless Kelly is fit.
But Smith and Hollis have only started three league games between them this season and the pressure is on Notts to win to keep their fading play-off hopes alive.
"We've got to go there and try and get a result," added Kiwomya.
"I know we're unbeaten, but we need back-to-back wins to put us back in the race.
"It's alright winning one and drawing one, but we need to gain ground."
Smith has not played a game since the Magpies' New Year's Day defeat to MK Dons at Meadow Lane and Hollis made his first start of the season against Orient.
"Haydn is a 100-per-cent committed player and I have confidence in him," added Kiwomya.
"The only way the young players are going to learn the game is by playing and I thought he did very well."
Kelly has missed the last two games.
"I don't think he's far away," said Kiwomya.
"It would be good if he's fit for the game because we're short on defenders."