Macclesfield Town make the trip up to the North East this Saturday, eager to put the disappointment of the midweek defeat at Sutton behind them.
Sir John’s side suffered their first loss of the season on Tuesday evening, despite an early Scott Wilson goal putting The Silkmen in the ascendency.
Much has been made of Sutton’s aerial attacks as well as their 3G pitch, but in truth these excuses don’t really interest me – we were beaten by a side who thoroughly deserved their victory, end of story.
But the match has gone now, and we will go up to Gateshead fighting to preserve the encouraging start we had made to the new season.
This will be a test of character as much as it will one of ability, and as such we have a great chance of coming away with the three points.
We need to stick to our beliefs, stick to our game plan and most importantly of all, we need to stick together in what will be another tough test.
Sir John’s task is not made any easier with reference to the injury list, which should see four players miss the trip.
Elliott Durrell and George Pilkington are thought to be around a week away, whilst Jared Hodgkiss continues his comeback from a groin injury.
Goalkeeper Shwan Jalal (calf) could be back in contention between the posts, but after Billy O’Brien’s stunning performance at Sutton, it is unlikely that he will walk straight back in to the team.
The Heed currently lie ninth in the National League table, despite kicking off the season with a 2 – 1 defeat at Woking.
Two home victories in quick succession propelled Gateshead up the rankings however, the first of which saw them overcome Guiseley where a 53rd minute strike from former Silkman Neill Byrne proved to be enough to claim maximum points.
This was followed up by a comprehensive 3 – 0 victory over Torquay United last Saturday, despite the fact that only one Gateshead player hit the back of the net.
Richard Peniket’s strike was added to by own goals from Ryan Higgins and Myles Anderson, as The Gulls embarked on their mammoth trek home with nothing to show for their efforts.
On Tuesday evening, a late Alex Reid strike was enough to give Wrexham all three points against The Heed in a match which saw precious few chances.
The home side will therefore be eager to avenge their own midweek defeat when The Silkmen arrive on Saturday.
In the corresponding fixture last season, Danny Johnson hammered Gateshead ahead after just 12 minutes at the International Stadium. Yet Danny Rowe’s leveller 13 minutes later gave Macc a share of the spoils on a cold mid November evening.
Speaking to the Gateshead official site, Manager Neil Aspin hailed his opposite number and paid tribute to his sides –
We know Macclesfield won’t have changed the way they play. They want to play football, they want to pass it, and they are capable of dominating games in possession, so they are always a difficult opponent.
Macclesfield have got different personnel, but their Manager does a very good job every year. He is experienced and continues to do a good job, so I am very respectful of the job he does there.
They have always produced players that are comfortable on the ball and they do play football, so they will be looking to come and do that on Saturday”
Neil Aspin. Speaking to the Gateshead Official Site
Former Silkman Scott Barrow is set to miss the game through injury, as will defender Callum Williams.
Midfielder Luke Hannant should be back in contention after picking up a knock last week, but having successfully trained for the last few days the chances are that he will play a part in the game.
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