League One: Mad Dog can bite the Terriers


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The Independent Football

It might not be an irony they wish to acknowledge, but Notts County can do their bit to preserve a piece of Nottingham Forest history this weekend by ending Huddersfield's 42-match unbeaten run with victory at the Galpharm.

Lee Clark's men equalled a Football League record set by the great Brian Clough team of the late 1970s when drawing at home with Walsall a fortnight ago but it was an otherwise disappointing result against the Saddlers, one that's indicative of how their standards have dropped in recent weeks.

Now the Magpies have the players and, most importantly, the motivation to stop the Terriers from edging ahead of their rivals from across the Trent and closing in on Arsenal's all-time English club record of 49 matches without defeat, set in the Premier League seven years ago.

County fans, of course, couldn't give two hoots about how this game affects Forest but, in Martin Allen, they do have a manager who is highly aroused by such prize targets. Speaking after the FA Cup win over Accrington Stanley last weekend, Mad Dog could barely contain his excitement at the prospect of becoming the first team to take maximum points off the Yorkshire club in the calendar year.

He said: "Within five seconds of winning the cup tie, my mind was on Huddersfield. When the players came into the dressing room I shook their hands and said 'well done, now get yourselves ready to go to Huddersfield'.

"Everyone is going to have to be on absolute top form for us to get anything out of that game. They have achieved a magnificent record and that is right at the forefront of my mind. I can't wait to go up that motorway, with my team and an army of fans. Their run has got to come to an end soon."

That Allen is approaching this game like another cup tie probably isn't a bad idea given Town's record in knockout matches since they started keeping count of their bread and butter.

Indeed, there are those who question the legitimacy of the sequence given that the Terriers have been knocked out of three cup competitions and lost a play-off final during 2011 but such squabbles will be academic if Clark's men put up anything like a repeat of their performance against Swindon last week.

A goal to the good inside half-an-hour, there should have been no way back for League Two opponents but Town were sloppy and Paolo Di Canio's men were ahead by half-time, stretching their lead to embarrassing proportions after the interval as they ran out 4-1 winners.

Clark will no doubt freshen things up by recalling the likes of Jordan Rhodes, Scott Arfield and Peter Clarke but it does them no favours to suddenly feel so short of options if they need to change a game that isn't going their way.

As such, you suspect the pressure created by constantly trying to preserve such a record is close to breaking point and there's value to be found in 4/1 quotes about the away win.

Recommended bet:

1pt Notts County to beat Huddersfield at 4/1 (general)

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