Wrexham vs Notts County: Hollywood glamour no match for Magpies

Notts County travel across the Welsh border to face Wrexham in an early-season clash of two of the National League’s heavyweights.

When: Monday, August 30, 7.30pm BST

Where: Racecourse Ground

How to watch: BT Sport 1

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best bets

Wrexham and Notts County come into this early-season clash locked together on four points.

The Magpies hammered ten-man Barnet 5-0 and followed it up with a useful point against 2020/21 play-off finalists Torquay United, while Wrexham made a stuttering start, drawing 2-2 with Solihull Moors before a Jake Hyde double gave them a 2-0 win at Eastleigh on Saturday.

Jake Hyde Wrexham vs Solihull Aug 2021

The Magpies were almost successful in achieving promotion back to League Two at the second time of asking last season, but were defeated 4-2 after extra time in the play-off semi-final by Torquay United.

Wrexham have similarly lofty ambitions since being taken over by Hollywood pair Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

The Red Dragons narrowly missed out on a shot at promotion last year, finishing a place outside the play-off spots, but are highly fancied to make a return to the Football League after several high-profile arrivals both on and off the pitch.

Last three meetings

Wrexham 0-1 Notts County (National League, May 18, 2021)

A sole Jake Reeves strike midway through the first half was enough for County to come away from north Wales with all three points.

The result had major ramifications for the play-off spots, as the Magpies usurped the Red Dragons in fifth and ultimately went on to secure their spot in the race for Wembley.

Notts County 1-0 Wrexham (National League, April 2, 2021)

Despite seeing striker Kyle Wootton red-carded for a second bookable offence in the last minute of normal time, County were still able to send Wrexham packing thanks to Mark Ellis' 80th-minute winner.

It was Ian Burchnall's first victory as Magpies boss, in his third game in charge, and saw the hosts climb to fourth in the table as they continued to chase a play-off spot.

Notts County 1-1 Wrexham (National League, August 18, 2019)

Five games into County's first season in non-league, the spoils were shared at Meadow Lane as Devonte Redmond equalised for the Red Dragons in the 74th minute.

That cancelled out Kristian Dennis' header which had given the Magpies the lead five minutes earlier, moving Wrexham up to ninth and leaving County further in 17th.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Wrexham wins: 2

Draws: 2

Notts County wins: 6

Wrexham goals: 8

Notts County goals: 12

Magpies to continue their fine form?

County hit Barnet for five on the opening weekend, and boast an excellent recent record against Wrexham, so it feels sensible to back the Magpies.

In addition, Wrexham looked a little shaky at the back in their opening draw at Solihull Moors, and completely switched off defensively when they conceded a last-minute equaliser.

They look far more assured at Eastleigh but the hosts were coming in a little under-cooked having been handed a bye on the opening weekend of the season. And, despite the fanfare around Wrexham and their shiny new owners, backing Notts County looks the way to go on this one.

It will be tight

As much as I'm happy to back County, it certainly won't be a walk in the park. Phil Parkinson is the Red Dragons' new boss, and boasts a plethora of EFL experience.

Switching off defensively, as his side did against Solihull, did not wash with him, and he put great store by the clean sheet at Eastleigh, admitting they "had to work hard" to get it.

The Magpies can therefore expect to come up against a side who are well-drilled defensively. So while I'm confident they will find at least one way through, it certainly won't be another 5-0.

Barnet were nigh on toothless last Saturday while Torquay played much of Saturday's game with ten men, so the County defence hasn't had much of a test yet. That being said, they did concede to the undermanned Gulls.

However, a narrow away win, with the draw taken out of the equation, feels the way to go as the home side struggle under the weight of expectation.

Goalscorer bets

Paul Mullin Wrexham Aug 2021

Paul Mullin arrived at Wrexham as the flagship signing by Reynolds and McElhenney, and boasts an impressive goalscoring record after hitting 34 in 50 appearances for Cambridge United last season.

The 26-year-old opened his Red Dragons account from the spot against Solihull and then went on to set up Hyde's opener against Eastleigh.

Off the mark for his new club so quickly, Mullin will be able to play with far more freedom and the 2/1 about him scoring anytime looks decent value.

For the Magpies, Portuguese striker Ruben Rodrigues is the form man. He netted a brace in the opening day demolition of Barnet and now has 14 goals in 39 games since signing from Dutch outfit Den Bosch.

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