After the disappointment of the Sedgley defeat, Macclesfield Blues were able to get their season back on track with a victory over local rivals Chester. The weather may well have been inclement, but the Blues were still able to put in a convincing performance and come away from Hare Lane with a bonus point win.
Next up is the visit of another local rival – Sale FC. Sale’s form may have been patchy so far this season, but after a win against third-placed Stourbridge confidence will be high. One thing is sure: when Sale visit Priory Park next Saturday they’ll come with expectations. That’s the view of Head Coach, Giles Heagerty. He knows the Blues face a tough challenge, but he’s confident that the players will rise to that challenge. Here’s what Giles had to say.
Would you class the Chester performance as the perfect response to the disappointment suffered after the Sedgley defeat?
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was the ‘perfect’ response, but it was a very satisfying result none the less. The win was important of course, but the manner in which we played the majority of the game was particularly pleasing. We were able to put into practice all the work we’d done during the course of the week prior to the game, and that definitely pleased me.”
Did you feel as if the Sedgley loss cast a shadow over what has so far been a very successful season?
No – not at all. To be honest once we’d finished training last Tuesday night, then all thoughts about the Sedgley performance were put to bed. We identified the areas we needed to work on, did some good work on Tuesday and re-enforced this at training on Thursday. I think what Saturday’s performance did clearly show is that the players are totally focused on trying to get better and better with each game.”
Did the weather conditions affect the game plan?
“I don’t think so unduly. When we got there the weather conditions were great. There’s was a bit of moisture around, but there was no wind to speak of. With about 20 minutes to kick off the wind started to pick up. It was a shame obviously, but it was the same for both teams. We played into the wind in the wind in the first half and it was quite tough. Still we’ve become increasingly used to playing in those sorts of conditions over the last month, and we’ve got the players to do it. We obviously had the wind at our backs in the second half, but we decided to disregard the conditions and carry on playing our natural game as best we could. The final result suggests that that was the right strategy.”
What have you made of Sale this season? Their form may have been a little hit and miss, but they’ve managed to take some big scalps.
“I guess it has, but as the team has just beaten Stourbridge we know we have to take them very seriously. Sale are a good side and they’ve got a number of very talented players, many of whom we know well, having either played with them or against them. By the same token, however, it stands to reason that they obviously know a lot about us.”
“Sale I’m quite sure will be up for this one. You have to remember that all 3 members of their coaching staff are ex-Macc players, so you can be pretty sure the game will have a little extra bite to it. As far as we’re concerned we’re just treating it like any other game. We know it will be tough so we’ll make sure we prepare accordingly. There are a couple of things that have come out of the Chester game, and we’ll have a busy week putting that right.”
After a pretty successful first term in National League 2 North, do you see anything changing during the second half of the season?
“If you mean from a Macclesfield Blues perspective, then I think the answer is probably not. There are certain things I would like to change obviously, like the bloody weather, but other than that it’s just a matter of carrying on where we will have left off. We know we’ll face some big challenges during the second half of the season. We’ll face some tough away games with trips to South Leicester, Leicester Lions and Sandal. Those places are real fortresses and we’ll face a big challenge trying to storm them, but we’ll prepare thoroughly.”
“We’ve obviously got some things we’ll still continue to work on. We’ll need to evolve and improve. I know that and the players know that. The most pleasing aspect for me during the course of the first half of the season is that we’ve been able to flex and adapt our style when opponents and conditions have dictated. I certainly hope we can continue to do that over the second half of the season. We’ve just got to keep getting better every week. That’s the challenge we’re going to face in training and in games, and I’m confident the players are up to that challenge.”