23rd March 2018

“It might have been difficult to watch at times from a spectator’s point of view: but from our
point of view it was mission accomplished.”

Perhaps the performance against Luctonians at Priory Park last weekend wasn’t what spectators would prefer to watch, but given the weather that was hardly surprising. The important point from Macclesfield Blues’ perspective is that they secured the win, and most importantly of all they added a further 5 points to the league tally. With a couple more wins in the last 6 games, the Blues could secure their League 2 status and start to breathe a little more easily.

Next up is Sheffield. Macclesfield Blues may have secured the points when the sides met at Priory Park recently, but when you’re playing a team fighting for survival away from home, then you know it’s going to be a different ball game entirely. Interim Head Coach, Marshall Gadd, is well aware of that, and knows his team will have to be on their mettle if they are to bring any points back from Sheffield this weekend. Here’s what Marshall had to say.

Were you satisfied with the performance against Luctonians, or was the most important point securing the win and 5 points?

“We got a 5-point win, and that was more than enough for me. In the circumstances, given the weather conditions, I thought we did OK. Even so, the stats after the game showed that there weren’t many handling errors, even though the conditions were dreadful at times. As far as I’m concerned, any performance where you secure 5 points is a good performance. Granted, it was difficult to watch at times from a spectator’s point of view: but from our point of view it was mission accomplished.”

Did the Blues’ robust defensive performance in the second period please you?

“Yes, it was satisfying. The conditions weren’t good in the second half as we had the wind in our faces, so we knew it was going to be tough. If you fail to exit, or you can’t exit, then you invite pressure. Unfortunately, when you give a team in this league as many opportunities as we did, then inevitably they will take some of them. Even some of the best rugby teams in the world can’t defend for a full 40 minutes without giving something away. We did give Luctonians 4 or 5 opportunities, and they took some of them.”

The win against Sheffield recently at Priory Park took Macclesfield Blues towards the safety zone, but does form and history go out of the window when you’re playing away from home?

“Home advantage is massive – especially in this league. Despite Sheffield’s current league position, they are not relegated by any stretch of the imagination. They’ll be scrapping for points and will be tough opponents. Both teams are desperate for points. We need them to provide a cushion from the battle at the bottom of the league; Sheffield need the points to secure their future in National League 2 North. So, it will be a massive game and probably a battle.”

Have Sheffield got any strengths and qualities that could cause Macclesfield Blues problems?

“You’ve got to give credit and respect to any team in this league because the standards are high. So you can’t take anything for granted. Sheffield have got a good set piece and they’ve got some quick backs. So any lapses in concentration and you can easily find yourselves points down.”

“I can’t stress this point enough – you really can’t write any team off in this league. Sheffield Tigers turned over Tynedale at the weekend, and they did the same to Hinckley a few weeks back. It simply goes to show that any team is capable of beating any other on their day. The only way to guard against that is to keep your concentration for the full 80 minutes, and to do that you’ve got to turn up with the right attitude and mentality.”