Friday night football returns to the Moss Rose this Friday, with Dover Athletic making the mammoth journey north for our sixth National League fixture of the season.
Sir John’s side will be eager to preserve their unbeaten home record against a Dover side who have claimed maximum points on their travels so far this term, so it promises to be an entertaining way to kickstart the Bank Holiday weekend.
Macc come in to the game on the back of two consecutive away defeats, and Sir John has asked all members of his squad to stand up and be counted as we go in to the weekend’s double-header.
Askey was less than amused following the 3 – 0 reversal at Gateshead on Saturday, and speaking to Silkmen TV, stated that things must change –
We never really got going and didn’t really cause them any problems in the second half.
We’re starting to see what the players are made of and what they’ve really got now, and it’s up to me to sort it out.”
John Askey. Speaking to Silkmen TV.
Yet Assistant Manager Steve Watson isn’t panicking just yet, stating –
We’ve got two games coming up now in a quick space of time so we haven’t got time to be doom and gloom or down in the dumps – it’s our job now to lift the lads.
It’s all about looking forward to Friday and Monday now and games we’ll look to get points from
We have to learn from the last two games as a group, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Steve Watson. Speaking to Silkmen TV
Despite still being in the very early stages of the campaign, Macc have had numerous injuries to contend with during the opening weeks.
Goalkeeper Shwan Jalal and defender Jared Hodgkiss are expected to remain out of the side on Friday, yet better news could be on the horizon for George Pilkington and Elliott Durell – the latter of whom is expected to play at least some part against The Lilywhites.
There is no doubt that Macc have missed the former Chester and Wrexham midfielder, after he put in some tremendous performances in pre-season and the first two league matches.
Durrell gives Sir John further attacking options as the 28 year old possesses the talent and pace to give any defence nightmares in this league.
Looking back at previous fixtures against Dover, history certainly favours the Silkmen. Indeed the last time our visitors took all three points back to the white cliffs was 21 years ago, when one goal proved to be enough on 8th April 1996.
Since then Macc have welcomed Dover to the Moss Rose on four separate occasions, winning three of these with one draw.
The Lilywhites are currently 5th in the National League table after a superb start to the season has seen them claim ten points from the opening five games.
Dover kicked off their 2017/18 campaign with an impressive 1 – 0 victory at Hartlepool United and despite Bromley then taking all three points at The Crabble, winning ways were restored with a 1 – 0 victory over Wrexham the following Saturday.
Our visitors then maintained their unblemished away record with a 2 – 1 victory over Halifax, before sharing the spoils with Barrow last weekend as Ryan Bird’s 72nd minute header cancelled out Jordan White’s opener.
Speaking after the match, Captain Mitch Brundle told Dover’s Official Site –
We haven’t played at our best yet, so if we are two points off the top then that is fantastic.
We know that we can build and nullify goals going in.
We are doing everything we can – we are preparing right and the lads are giving 100% out on the pitch so you can’t ask for much more.
If we are being a bit harsh on ourselves then we could probably have been top if it wasn’t for the Bromley match, but we will take ten points as we are delighted with that and are looking to keep the run going”.
Mitch Brundle. Speaking to the Dover Official Site
Chris Kinnear’s side were boosted further this week as ‘keeper Chris Lewington signed for the club from Welling United.
Lewington had been named The Wing’s Player of the Year at the end of last season and has gained much Football League experience, most notably with Dagenham and Redbridge with whom he made 127 league appearance.
In the corresponding fixture last season Macc ran out 2 – 1 winners on a bitterly cold January evening.
Scott Flinders misjudged a free kick which allowed Jamie Grimes to open the scoring for the visitors, yet a second half brace from Chris Holroyd proved to be enough to claim maximum points.
You can see the highlights of the game via Silkmen TV below –
So it is all set up for an entertaining game of Friday night football at the Moss Rose.
But just to end, spare a thought for the heroes coming up from Kent – each and every one of them has my ultimate respect.