Silkmen Head Coach Mark Kennedy is expecting stiff opposition from an in-form Crewe Alexandra side this afternoon as we look forward to the latest Cheshire derby.
“We are really looking forward to it, it will be a really tough game. Obviously, it’s away from home which makes it tougher again, but they are fantastic opposition.
“We had a really great game here a couple of weeks ago and I think both teams acquitted themselves really well so fingers crossed we can both give the fans something to look forward to.”
Despite our last meeting with Crewe being just over a month ago, Mark is not expecting too many similarities between the two matches due to the changes in personnel and the recent form of both clubs.
“They are at home; the advantage is with them” he said.
“We have both had several games in between and things happen. They might have a few changes, we have done different things in our games and have got some new players in.
“I don’t suppose both styles of play will change very much, I know ours won’t – it’s pretty obvious the way we are. I don’t think it will have any bearing on it at all.
“They are coming off the back of an incredible run; I know they lost to Plymouth last week, but I think they won four in a row before that.
“We are playing well and we have continued the good stuff that we have done so I don’t think the fact that it was only a few weeks ago will have any baring at all, I just know that it’s going to be a really difficult game - but I know that they will know that they will be in for a tough game as well.”
Crewe lost to Plymouth last weekend whilst the Silkmen mustered a draw against the same opposition in midweek; and Mark has taken a lot of confidence from that performance, as well as last weekend’s showing against Exeter.
“We took a lot of confidence from the defeat on Saturday against Exeter and there are huge positives to take [from Plymouth].
“Since I have been in, we have had an incredibly tough run of games and we have been pretty unlucky with the teams we have been facing.
“I have taken a huge amount of credit from where we are now to where we were nine games ago from my own perspective, which is all I really focus on.
“I’m really, really positive and really happy with where we started at and where we are considering all the things that have happened in between.
“Lots of good things have happened, but we have had lots of obstacles as well – I am really, really happy with where we are.”
Crewe boast the strongest home record in the league, and whilst Mark acknowledges the impact this has on our hosts; he is more focussed on what we can do to get a result.
“In terms of winning games, very high – losing games, very low; they average a lot of goals at home and they don’t concede that many.
“We have just got to focus on us and what we do and I can assure you, and I don’t mind telling anyone that wants to listen, that going into the game we will heavily focus on what we do and not what somebody else does.”
Stormy weather has swept the country in recent weeks and Mark admits that the conditions have somewhat affected our preparations for tomorrow’s game.
“One of the massive difficulties we have had since we have been in is that we have had a lot of Saturday – Tuesday games, so it’s ironic that we have got out of one difficult spell in terms of games and then no sooner have we got out of that than we find another one with the weather.
“So, since January 16th when I came in our weeks have been pretty much the same every time.
“We have had limited time on the grass, but we have maximised what we have wanted to do whilst not being on it, so nothing has changed for us really.”
With the game being a derby fixture, Mark recognises the added importance of the game to fans and expects a special atmosphere from the travelling Silkmen faithful tomorrow afternoon.
“I have played in millions of derbies with various different partnerships of clubs, and it’s always extra special for a fan for many reasons.
“It’s your local derby, going into work, what it does for people’s weekends; but as a coach and as a player it’s just another game, it’s just us being professional and we approach every game the same.
“We haven’t approached tomorrow’s game any different than we have approached other games. We give 100%, we do it properly, we tick off all the boxes in what we are trying to do, but I do understand the importance and what it means to a fan.
“Ultimately, I keep reminding the lads what professional looks like, so there is no point in me going on about that week in, week out, and not doing that myself.”
In spite of the added derby element of the game, Mark is focussed on being professional in our approach and is looking to the team to fight for the points on offer as we look to pull away from the sides around us.
“Every team is different; every style is different – but ultimately it is about being focussed on when that whistle goes.
“I keep saying to the lads at 3:00pm tomorrow when the referee blows the whistle you have got a point and we have got to focus on getting points on the board and the opposition is something we deal with every week, but it’s about us being professional.”