Sol Campbell has called for his players to return the team to winning ways this afternoon, with every match being a ‘final’ from now to the end of the season as The Silkmen continue to fight for their League Two status.
The latest task at hand for Macclesfield is a stern one in the form of promotion chasers Colchester United. The U’s are currently five points off the automatic positions and were Campbell’s second opponents in England’s fourth tier back in December, but the Silkmen boss insists he has no fear to the threat John McGreal’s side will oppose at the Moss Rose come Saturday.
“I think it’s going to be a mobile game, they’re a mobile team”, said Campbell.
“We as a team need to get our starting positions correct because they move the ball really well, very direct especially on the counter attacks so we need to make sure we are all covered.”
“It’s going to be a very mobile game for sure with skill there because they’ve got some very skilful players, so we’ve really got to be at the races from the first second to the last second.”
The Essex based side won the reverse fixture at the JobServe Community Stadium two months ago courtesy of a Mikael Mandron winner, but Colchester have only won two of their previous five away games since the two teams met and Campbell believes the fixture to be a match the Silkmen can certainly take points from.
“I think we really need to watch their wide players, look at their counter-attacks and their patterns of play”, Campbell added.
“We need to get close to them, nullify and make sure they don’t have spaces to operate in and then we have to start imposing our game and start playing and looking for the gaps to stretch them as well.
“We’ve got a job to make sure we obviously contain them and then get into the game and get a foothold and then kick on from there, see what we can do impose ourselves on them in different areas.”
It was small margins that won the U’s the contest during the Christmas period in Essex. However, since Campbell’s second match in the division The Silkmen have only lost four of their previous eleven league matches and the former England international believes his side are better equipped to upset the visitors this afternoon.
“I think we are”, he said.
“But football is football you never know over 90 plus minutes.
“There is no doubt they are flying high, doing really well so we’ve got to concentrate on our job and that we are in the right positions everyone does their jobs individually and as a team and then we’ve got to start playing our football that I know the guys can play. Keep on probing, cause them problems.
“We’ve got to be up for it. We’ve got all these cup finals coming up until the end of the season so every game counts for us now. We’ve got to fight tooth and nail for every blade of grass and make sure we get a result and then keep this run going.”
Since Campbell’s appointment, the club has built a resilient mentality that has seen them climb to only a point of safety. It’s a hallmark that would have seemed unimaginable a few months ago, and it’s a credit to the work both the Manager and the players have put together to give supporters belief that the Silkmen can remain in the division.
Macclesfield have recently discovered the ability to remain in matches until the dying moments and have built become a team tough to break down. The Silkmen have only been beaten by more than a one-goal margin on only one occasion since Campbell took charge and the Premier League winning player believes that stems from the mentality the squad has built in recent weeks.
He said: “For me, it’s all about changing the narrative, the mentality and that’s key. It is bringing together the whole team, that kind of belief that we can do it.
“And from what I see in training we can we just have to make sure we work as hard, even harder than the team we’re playing against, earn the right to play but also play our football.
“Football is going to get us out of this situation, we’re getting tougher, we’re getting fitter and we are learning all the time. There is still a long way to go but as a team they are in a much better state physically, tactically and mentally than two months ago for sure.”
The role of the supporters this season is one of the fundamental reasons the club is still fighting in the face of adversity and Campbell believes that the role the fans plan from now until May could decide the outcome for the team at the end of the season.
“The role of the supporters is key”, said Campbell.
“They are the heart and soul of the town and the club. The more support for the team the better and that’s what it’s all about bringing that extra man the crowd to the game helping the lads to push them on and they’ll need every encouragement from now to the end of the season.
“The fans will play a massive part in us staying up. Keep on backing us and we’ll do it. Together!”.