Pompey v Macclesfield: Insider

Lindon Meikle playing for Mansfield
Lindon Meikle playing for Mansfield
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Macclesfield media manager James Beckett runs the rule over the club’s season so far.

Macclesfield agonisingly missed out on the Vanarama Conference National play-offs last season.

From November until the penultimate match of the campaign they were in the spots, then they slipped out at the end and finished sixth.

Manager John Askey is a club hero, the Silkmen’s top appearance-maker and since April 2013 has been manager, overseeing a side which continues to do well in the division below the Football League.

After last season some key players departed, some for league football, but he has rebuilt and once again assembled a squad capable of challenging.

This is now Macclesfield’s fourth season outside the Football League and hopefully they can kick on and reach the play-offs this time around.

Presently they sit 13th – six points adrift of the play-offs – but injuries have ensured they have been unable to field a settled team for the opening few months, yet they are beginning to clear.

The leading scorer is Kristian Dennis with 10 goals in 16 matches and he is really catching the eye.

Recruited on a season-long loan from Stockport County, he is the chief attacking threat and the man the Silkmen will be looking to in their attempts to cause an upset tomorrow.

Elsewhere in the squad there is Football League experience with Dan Whitehead having made an appearance for West Ham, former Bournemouth keeper Shwan Jalal, while Lindon Meikle spent the last few seasons at Mansfield and then York.

With injuries clearing, the play-offs remain the ambition after last season’s heartbreak.

In the meantime, there is an FA Cup trip to Pompey to look forward to and it has really captured the imagination of the town.

Macclesfield get around 1,200 fans at home on average, with about 30 away followers for midweek games!

At Fratton Park tomorrow we expect around 400 of our supporters to be present, with four coaches so far sold out, which is decent for us.

I suppose it would be like Pompey taking 5,000 supporters to a match!

Ideally you dream of getting a team low down the football pyramid at home for your first-round match to ensure a share of the prize money and a passage into the next round.

But if you are looking for a big draw, there are none bigger than Pompey at this stage of the competition.

Maybe Sheffield United would come into that but it is a fantastic fixture all the same.

The Silkmen actually reached the fourth round in 2012-13 before losing 1-0 to eventual winners Wigan.

Along the way they defeated Cardiff City 2-1 at Moss Rose, which was quite some result.

While in 2011-12, they took Premier League Bolton to a replay, so there is Cup pedigree there.