Its clash of the titans this weekend in National Two North as second placed Sedgley Tigers host top of the league Macclesfield at Park Lane. Macc currently sit 17 clear at the summit of National Two North and know a win would all but confirm their place in National One next season, but a win for the home side could blow the race back open.
Tiger’s Head Coach, Dean Schofield admits that despite the hype surrounding the match, his side will treat it like any other game, and knows Macclesfield will be smarting from the last fixture between the sides when Sedgley ran out 12-27 victors at Priory Park.
“There’s a lot of chat about bragging rights, and we’re coming in from a good victory at Priory Park, which I’m sure Macc will be wanting to hit back at us for.”
“We’ve got to treat this like any other game. They’re top of the league and been more consistent than us, the figures tell you that, so I think we go into this as underdogs. It’s a big game and we’ve got nothing to lose. The pressure is on Macc to go out there and confirm their place at the top. We’ve just got to concentrate on our game, and hopefully the result will speak for itself.”
However, Macc Head Coach Giles Heagerty said his players would not be hung up on getting revenge despite Sedgley being the only team to defeat them at home this season.
“The manner of that performance is something we talk a lot about, but if you start worrying about revenge it can have a negative impact, it’s a big game and there’s lots of rivalry, there’s potentially a lot hanging on it, but this is the game where the big players step up. We’ve deliberately rested some people last week so we have everyone as fresh as we can going into this weekend.”
A win for Macclesfield all but confirms that the title will be going to the Cheshire side but former England International Schofield feels a win for his side will blow the title race back open.
“A win for us opens it back up. I’ve been at the top of the league for a season when I was with Sale Sharks, and when you’re up there, its tough to stay. Its easy for underdogs to come in and play without pressure, but you’ve got to come in and perform.”
“You’ve got to applaud Macc for their consistency, they’ve been sat at the top of the league for a while and have responded well to that pressure. I don’t feel like there’s pressure on us, I want us to go out there and enjoy it”
Heagerty admitted a loss for The Blues, would make things a little more exciting going into the closing stages of the season.
“A loss would put a bit of pressure onto us, but we have got some tough games coming up, we still have Chester, Sale and Stourbridge to play. But we wont worry about them just yet, its all about this Saturday.”
The two sides have scored by far and away the most points so far in this season, and will also both admit that they’re happy the tracks are now beginning to harden up around the grounds. Schofield is confident of his side playing an open game, but admits they must be aware of the ever dominant Macc set-piece.
“We’re going to look to keep the game alive, we’re not particularly a kicking team. If its on to play, we’ll go and do it. I’ve always backed my players to try that 50/50 pass, there the ones that can win you games. Macclesfield play some good stuff themselves, they’re coached very well. They’ve got a very strong set piece. Their scrum really caused us some issues in the first half at their place last time”
Kick off at Park Lane is at 2:30pm on Saturday, so ensure you’re there to watch the action or following on Twitter!