By George, the early signs are promising
But Pilkington remains cautiously optimistic about gruelling season ahead
SATURDAY’S win over Braintree was as welcome in the club as it was unexpected by those outside the Moss Rose.
And the foundation of that was a hastily puttogether centre-back partnership that won just about every ball, whether they came high or low.
But one half of that partnership, George Pilkington, says that while he was pleased with how it panned out the success was due to a complete team effort.
“To come away from what was a very tough game with a clean sheet and three points was a great result for us,” said the defender, who first came to Macc on loan from Mansfield last term.
“We know that if we’re to achieve anything we’ll have to work that hard in every game, a lot will be won or lost in fine lines.
“I think we had excellent protection in front of us, everyone worked incredibly hard and there was good cover in front of the back four.
“Paul Lewis definitely did well, he was outstanding, I’m surprised at some of the comments he gets. He’s a good size, he’s full of energy and he puts himself about to good effect. When he does so much good defensive work it enables the back four to get out in a good shape and nullify the opposition. And Danny (Whitaker) and Paul (Turnbull) alongside him were excellent too.”
Pilkington was one of the first players to return this summer, and there’s no evidence that it’s a decision he regrets – he’s back in the thick of the action after long spells of inactivity and he’s excited about the Silkmen’s management duo.
“The manner in which we beat Braintree is what’s most pleasing for me, but we still know there’s more to come from us, especially when we’ve got the ball,” he added.
“There were definitely a few nerves on show on Saturday but it was good to get going, you can get sick of pre-season and when the season starts it’s different, more intense. The early signs are promising.
“I was keen to come back, without a doubt, I saw enough in John and Efe to convince me to return, I hold them in high regard.
“The ethos in the squad is good and there’s a real belief in those two.
“There were a lot of problems towards the end of last season and the constraints are difficult but there were a lot of trialists coming in this summer and they’ve done well.”
And as for his own prospects, the former Luton and Mansfield man insists he’s ready to go toe-to-toe with the bruising opponents he expects most Conference sides to throw at him.
“I’ve found it tough not playing, I’ve missed a lot of football which is hard so I just wanted to get in and get playing again. I’m 32 and I just want to get as many games in as I can.
“Mansfield was a tough time, I’m not looking back with any regrets, it just didn’t work out for me.
“I didn’t seem to fit in with the style of football they wanted to play. At Macc it’s more conducive to me as a player.
“You want consistency as a defender, I think that’s one of my biggest strengths. I enjoy the competitive side of the game, it’s a great feeling when you’ve been pitting yourself against an opponent and come out on top, the best feeling is winning games.
“You know that most weeks you’ll be up against big, bruising forwards. But I want to put good performances in and prove to people, including myself, that I can still do it, that I have the ability.
“John has shown belief in me and I want to prove that he was right to sign me, and I want to enjoy it, if you’re enjoying your work then that’s a good foundation and you probably won’t go far wrong.”
George Pilkington (left) and Luke Waterfall’s fledgling partnership excelled in the centre of defence