The third round of League Two fixtures takes place on Tuesday, and there is an intriguing clash at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium where recently relegated Morecambe take on newly-promoted Notts County.
Both teams have had mixed starts to the season and sit on three points following one victory and one defeat.
Notts County opened up with a heavy 5-1 loss away to Sutton before responding with a 3-2 victory at home to Grimsby.
And there have been early ups and downs for Morecambe, who followed a hard-fought 2-1 success at home to Walsall with a 3-0 reverse at Mansfield.
Notts County endured a harsh reintroduction to the EFL when losing 5-1 away to Sutton United, but they bounced back with a 3-2 success at home to Grimsby and look a solid bet to defeat Morecambe on the northwest coast.
There was a lot of positive pre-season talk about County, who were chalked up as second favourites in Ante-post title betting, but hardly anything went right for them on their trip to Sutton.
The Magpies fell a goal behind after just two minutes following Joe Kizzi’s back post header, and they were reduced to ten men on 15 minutes when goalkeeper Aidan Stone was deemed guilty of denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
County folded thereafter – conceding a further four goals – and their four-goal margin of defeat was the heaviest loss they had suffered since a 5-1 National League reverse at Torquay in April 2022.
Honest manager Luke Williams was scathing in his post-match assessment and refused to accept that the red card was a key factor in the outcome.
However, he got the response he wanted at the weekend when County twice came from behind to defeat Grimsby 3-2 and secure their first EFL victory in over four years.
County’s confidence must have been fragile after their heavy loss at Sutton, and their resolve was tested further by Grimsby, who opened up a 2-1 half-time lead at Meadow Lane.
But they stuck with the attacking approach, which was a feature of last season’s promotion-winning campaign and ran out worthy 3-2 winners after a match-winning header from attacking midfielder Dan Crowley.
Getting a first win on the board should allow Williams’s side to go from strength to strength.
They have made some excellent summer signings, headlined by the capture of David McGoldrick from Derby, and look equipped to mount another promotion push.
While County could be competing towards the top end, Morecambe may be at risk of another relegation.
Derek Adams’s side rode their luck when posting a 2-1 home win over Walsall, but they looked out of their depth away to Mansfield, where they sustained a 3-0 defeat and lost the shot count 27 to five.
A massive Morecambe rebuild has taken place this summer, with ten permanent signings and two loans plugging the gaps in what was a threadbare squad.
However, it may take a while for the new-look squad to gel, and Morecambe’s lack of cohesion could contribute to a second league loss of the campaign.