Macclesfield Blues returned from Sheffield last weekend with 4 points in the bag, but they were made to work for them. Sheffield’s league position meant they would fight for every point, and that’s exactly what they did. For the majority of the game the home team were in the ascendency, but a positive 15 minute-spell from the Blues changed the course of the game, and Sheffield were unable to recover from that.
Next up is the postponed visit to Priory Park of league-leaders and in-form team Sale. When the teams last met at Heywood Road, Sale ran out winners by 19 points to 3. This time, Interim Head Coach, Marshall Gadd, hopes the tables will be turned. He hopes that home advantage, a partisan crowd and a spirited performance by the Blues can produce a different outcome. However, he knows that on paper the odds are definitely against a Macclesfield Blues win. Here are Marshall’s thought ahead of the game.
Was the game at Sheffield every bit as tough as you thought it was going to be?
“It was tough, and yes we expected that it would be. What I would say is that we probably made harder work of it than we should have. You have to give great credit to Sheffield though. They obviously prepared for the game and played really well. They were fighting for their lives, and it showed in the way they played.”
“Macclesfield Blues really didn’t turn up in the first half for whatever reason. We only really played well for 15 minutes or so in the second half, and that’s where we won the game. I suppose you can take comfort from that because that’s the sign of a good team. However, full credit to Sheffield who fought for 80 minutes in spite of that.”
Were the 4 points gained at Sheffield enough to secure the Blues’ future in National League 2, or do you have higher ambitions for the rest of the season?
“We sat down last week and had a chat about our situation and our prospects for the rest of the season. We discussed our mentality and our ambition for the remaining few games. For the past few weeks our focus has been on gaining points to secure our future and stay in this league, but when you look at the table which is very tight there’s a possibility that if we play to our potential, we could end up finishing 5th or 6th.”
“We’ve now changed the focus of our game and are fighting to finish in one of those positions. Relegation is not going to affect us now, so we have to make our goal finishing as high as possible in National League 2 North. We’ve set our new targets and will work towards those for the remainder of the campaign.”
Are Sale the type of team who could throw a spanner in the works and dent those ambitions?
“It’s always going to be a tough task when you’re facing a team who are flying high and have bags of confidence. So we know this weekend at Priory Park we’ll be up against it. League position won’t really matter on the day: what matters is our performance. It’s a local derby and I hope that will help to spur on the players. If they can use the emotion positively, I hope that will give us an edge and help us get something out of the game.”
Sale may be flying high, but do you think they are still beatable?
“Of course. In this league any team is beatable, but it depends on circumstances. If Sale don’t turn up with the right attitude and take us lightly, we have what it takes to get points from the game. If they look at the league position and look back on the struggles we’ve faced this season, they might assume the result is a foregone conclusion and underestimate us.”
“Is that likely to happen, given their form this season? Well, probably not. They’re a well-drilled outfit. However, if we turn up with the right attitude and mentality and play to anything near our true potential, then we’ve got every chance of beating them. We just have to play our best, and hope that they have a bit of an off-day.”