The Battle Of Cheshire
September 2nd 2008
Probably the least eagerly awaited game of the season takes place this Tuesday. Trying to muster up any excitement for the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy is somewhat hard, but then again it's hard to shake off that gutting feeling nearly years ago when referee Trevor Kettle denied us of a trip to the Millennium Stadium.
It gets a lot of stick the JPT but for me it's really not that bad. Look at last season, it provided Chester one of their biggest results in their history (apparently) when they knocked us out of penalties.
The early rounds are a chore, usually games that could easily be passed off as training matches with few managers or players feeling it's worth the risk to put much more than 50% effort in. Once Wembley is in sight however the thoughts of how worthless this competition actually is leave you. That is why Steve Holland shouldn't be weakening his team on Tuesday. There's a good chance of a big day for not only the players but the fans.
Macclesfield are, without any points deductions, bottom of the pile in the Football League. They've lost all four league games and failed to score, they've conceded 14 in four and come off the back of a 6-0 drubbing at home to Darlington. It crazy football fashion however they did manage to knock Championship Blackpool out of the Carling Cup (2-0) and also took West Ham to extra time last week, before eventually losing 4-1. Still, Tuesday gives Holland and the players to get the dreadful Hereford performance out of their systems. Macclesfield are clearly concentrating on the cups this season but our first team still shouldn't have to mess about in gaining victory.
For one, Steve Holland should know their team inside out. He's coached at least three of them in the club's academy. Richard 'Doorman' Walker, Lee Bell and Gareth Evans were all the ugly side of the renowned youth system.
Some fool decided it'd be an idea to kick off at 7:00pm tomorrow night. So don't go turning up at half time.
Crewe Alexandra Team News:
Joel Grant is ruled out of the game. 'He only came from Aldershot', Holland says so doesn't think he can play three games a week.
Michael O'Connor has gone on international duty with Northern Ireland, but looks set to be ruled out injured anyway. The midfielder jarred his knee on Saturday and could yet face weeks if not months sidelined. He is also out of the weekend trip to Leeds.
Schumacher and Woodards are also struggling to be fit. Both picked up 'slight injuries' on Saturday. Hopefully neither will pose too much of a problem for Holland, who will be hoping Chris McCready and George Abbey will make themselves available for selection.
It'll be down to Holland on whether he wants to see some of the fringe players out there, with Legzdins, Rix, Bopp and Donaldson all in with a chance of getting a game.
Player to watch: Anthony Elding
No certainty that Elding will actually be playing but if he does he'll be our biggest goal threat and this game will give him a chance to bag a few.
Macclesfield Town Team News:
Macc are to be without Jamie Tolley and Sean Hessey. Captain Hessey was sent off on Saturday and serves his supension whilst Tolley was stretchered off.
Keith Alexander has promised to give 'one or two' players a chance after the current lot have seen Macclesfield keeping Rotherham, Luton and Bournemouth company in the basement.
Player to watch: Richard Walker
We know all about 'The Doorman' and his inability to play football. Elding could have a good night.
A Match Fact
We've only met once before. In 1993 we beat them 2-1 in the FA Cup.
FC South Cheshire 3-0 FC East Cheshire
Away to Leeds United on Saturday afternoon. Kick off at 3:00pm.