Refreshed and ready to roll
THE MID-WINTER break remains a much-discussed topic in top-flight circles but Macclesfield have had one of their own – and that suits George Pilkington just fine.
The defender and his team-mates haven’t tasted Conference action since their New Year’s Day win at Grimsby Town but ‘Pilks’ at 33 says the benefits should be clear at Kidderminster.
“It’s good to be honest, after Christmas there’s a lot going on at home and so a week off then is perfect,” he said. “After that week you do look forward to playing though, the manager has done well to keep us sharp so we’re raring to go again.
“Sometimes you can want the next game to come because you want to pick yourself up after a bad performance and sometimes you’re desperate to go again after a good one, like we were after Grimsby, but you just take it as it comes, and we needed that rest.
“We trained hard last week but I think he’s got the balance right – a few lads were carrying knocks so we’ve been able to rest them and we’ve not really lost any ground at the top while we’ve been not playing.”
Pilkington brought a wealth of experience to the Silkmen when he returned following a loan from Mansfield last season and he’s been at the heart of a much-improved defence this season.
Ask any of the current crop at the club who sets the example and his name would never be far from the phrase ‘model pro’.
Alongside Luke Waterfall, Liam Hogan and now Alex Grant the veteran has played his part in Macc conceding fewer than a goal a game in the league.
And while they sit pretty in third, Pilkington feels there have been precious few negatives for the players to beat themselves up over this term.
“We let ourselves down at Altrincham and in the games at Chester and Lincoln,” he recalls. “But you have to expect some disappointments over the course of a season, we’d definitely have taken third place at this stage if it had been offered to us.
“I think we played well enough over Christmas as well, obviously the second half at Bristol Rovers was a let-down but there was nothing between the teams in the first game against Grimsby and that win in the last game was deserved, it was a great way to go into the break.”
And when they do take to the field at Kidderminster the former Port Vale and Luton star is ready for what awaits them in 2015, when he predicts it’ll be even tougher for them.
“We know the hard work starts again now,” he added.
“You’d expect the stronger squads to knuckle down and make a real push from here, so this half of the season should be harder still but we’re still in there and we want to stay up there.
“We’ve got enough spirit and quality, it might be difficult to push for the title but we’ve shown we keep fighting to the end so you never know.” TWO big events take place at the Moss Rose in the next few weeks and those looking to enjoy them are advised to get their tickets to avoid missing out.
The Race Night on January 30 promises unbridled fun in the McIlroy Suite while Valentine’s Day sees a live show by the Screaming Beavers.
For further details of both attractions visit mtfc.co.uk or call the club on 01625 264686.
●● ‘Pilks’ has been Macc’s rock in defence this term