Sol Campbell expects his side’s opening day fixture to be a ‘good footballing game’ as Macclesfield travel down to Exeter this afternoon.
The Silkmen got the better of today’s opponents both home and away last term, yet Campbell is fully aware that means nothing going into this one.
“It was good playing Exeter last season but every season is different, we’ve just got to make sure we apply ourselves properly, set our stall out, make sure we cover all our bases and play our football. That’s the main thing really. We have to be competitive in the right areas and know when to play as well.
“I think they will pass the ball around well so we’ve got to be mindful of that. But we can pass the ball as well so I think it will be a good footballing game really. There will be parts that will be a bit like a chess match as well but we are in a good situation now, we’re almost there and I think the guys are ready to get their teeth into the season.”
With an array of recent signings being made, along with some players joining up with the squad late, Sol admits that not all of the players may be up to speed ahead of the first league fixture.
“We’ve got a few knocks here and there, some of the guys are not fully up to speed because they’ve joined us late, either beginning of pre-season or within the last week or - so there are still a few players who are not up to speed and we’ve got to implement some kind of training sessions in-between the games just for them to catch up. It’s almost as if they're getting fit during games and that’s not the ideal way, but seventy percent of the team should be good.”
One of the latest signing at the club is 21-year-old Theo Archibald, and Campbell admits that the wide man has great potential.
"He’s a young gun, he’s got tenacity, he’s got bags of energy and he wants to learn. I think he will be very good for us in a sense that his enthusiasm for the game and his work ethic is impeccable.
"Obviously he has to learn, he’s a young lad wanting to make a career, but the main thing is the attitude is there. He’s a fit lad as well, he can get up and down easily but he just needs games, he needs positional sense, but if he listens and learns, he's a great player for the future.”
Along with Archibald, a more experienced player in the form of Jay Harris joined the club this week, and the boss spoke about his potential importance for the upcoming campaign.
“The main thing for me that Jay brings is experience” stated Campbell.
“He’s played with Tranmere and been a fantastic player for them. He brings energy, experience and I think as the season goes on that will kick-in big time in some of the important games, once everyone is fully fit and understanding the type of football we want to play"
This is to be the gaffer’s first opening day fixture as manager of a club, yet he can’t help but wish he was still pulling on that match day shirt.
“Of course you get that buzz, I want to still be playing football. It’s exciting, it’s scary, you get the butterflies in your stomach. I anticipate everything, I’m calling for every ball on the sideline, you know it’s just great to be involved with Macclesfield, involved with the football, I appreciate everyday I’m here as the manager. I love football inside out and this is where I want to be so I’m happy.”
As well as an army of fans making their way down to Exeter by car and on the train, the Moose Tours coach has sold out for today’s long trip down south and Campbell has a few words for you Macclesfield faithful.
“I think it’s just great that we’ve got fantastic support like that. I am, and the players are very appreciative of the support the fans have given us, and that’s what it’s all about.
"You know last season was a struggle for everybody, it was tense for everybody, and I think through those kind of type of journies, you learn a lot about yourself.
"I’m sure the fans learnt a lot about themselves as well, and the main thing for me is everybody pulls in together because we’re not going to do anything if we are not together.
"That’s the thing I want - especially on the pitch, with the players, everybody together with the staff and that should obviously be extended to the fans.
"Get behind the players and they’re going to work hard and everybody wants to win, but the main thing is we all need to be together and that will get us through".
By Conor O'Hara