Macclesfield Town return to the magic of the Emirates FA Cup tomorrow and we begin our campaign away at Maidstone United – a match which Joint Assistant Manager Danny Whitaker sees as important as any.
The 37-year-old had featured twenty-one times for The Silkmen in the competition, but he’ll take to the touchline alongside Neil Howarth for the first time in the competition tomorrow.
The Management team have had most of the week to focus on the clash and it was business that they did not conduct lightly.
“They will be a typical non-league team,” predicted Whitaker, when speaking to Silkmen TV. “They will play a bit, but they will be in your face making it as difficult as possible for you.
“The lads who were with us last season know how tough of an environment it is, and the pitch being how it is. We’ll continue to tell them that it is going to be a battle and to be prepared to roll your sleeves up and have a bit of a fight.
“The lads have got to be up for it. At the end of the day it’s a fantastic tournament, and we’ll be going down to Maidstone to give it everything we’ve got to get through to the next round.”
The week also brought positive news from the treatment room, as Elliott Durrell returned to competitive football in the Central League Cup.
Whitaker himself expects to return to training next week but has focused on his managerial duties pre-Maidstone as he and Neil look to select a winning side this Saturday.
“He [Durrell] will play some part definitely, it’s minutes on the pitch that he needs to get to be anywhere near where he was at last season, It will take a few weeks, it might even take a few months just to get him back to the level he was before his injury.
“Being injured isn’t a great thing in itself. You have to get on with it and obviously doing what I’ve been doing, which I’ve been thoroughly enjoying to be honest, the circumstances aren’t easy.
“The players have got to prove to me and Neil that they deserve a place on the team, so they need to go out there and put a shift in during any game, even in the reserves.”
Despite the long trip, Whitaker has urged Silkmen fans to travel the distance and make their voices heard.
“There’s a lot of revenue to be made for us little clubs. If you make it through a couple of rounds, you never know you might get drawn a big team.
“So come down, stick with us and enjoy the game. The lads will be putting a shift in I know that for a fact and hopefully we can get our name in the hat for the next round.”
By Matt Bates