To win tro­phy’

Macclesfield Express - - SPORT -

“We’re hop­ing the pre­match trip to Wem­b­ley takes some of that adrenalin out of the play­ers and hope­fully it will give the lads the best prepa­ra­tion to get it right on the day.

“So we’ll go down on Fri­day and take in the tra­di­tional tour of Wem­b­ley so that the play­ers can have a look round, get their pho­tos and take it all in.

“It’s im­por­tant we do that be­cause it can be a daunt­ing arena, it’s the one place any bud­ding foot­baller grow­ing up wants to play.

“I’m sure all the lads dreamt of play­ing in an FA Cup fi­nal as young­sters, but just to step out on the Wem­b­ley pitch in any kind of fi­nal is spe­cial, and not many peo­ple get to do it.

“So we’ll go down on the Fri­day and train again on the Satur­day in prepa­ra­tion for the game on Sun­day.

“We’ll see – some­times you feel you’ve done ev­ery­thing right in the build up to a game and it goes wrong on the day, other times ev­ery­thing goes wrong in prepa­ra­tion and you put in the per­for­mance of your life.

“You just never know be­cause foot­ball is not an ex­act sci­ence.”

Askey is hop­ing a week­long break ear­lier in the month will serve his squad well in the lead up to the fi­nal.

The boss was mind­ful of the fa­tigue that sets in to­wards the end of the sea­son in a di­vi­sion that is de­mand­ing on and off the field.

“It’s not only phys­i­cal, it’s men­tal. There is a lot of trav­el­ling in our league and when you get to Fe­bru­ary and March, you’ve had enough,” he ad­mit­ted.

“Even if you are win­ning ev­ery week, you still get to the stage where you are just look­ing for­ward to the end.

“You start to get sick of each other, as you do with any­body if you live in each other’s pock­ets ev­ery day. So it was good to be able to give them a week off and then we were able to con­cen­trate all our en­er­gies on the one game.

“The hard­est part now for me as man­ager is pick­ing the start­ing line-up, be­cause you know that you are go­ing to up­set some­body.”

And what of this week­end’s op­po­nents, York City?

The Min­ster­men re­cruited Foot­ball League ex­pe­ri­ence in goal­keeper Scott Loach – for­merly of Notts County – ear­lier in the year, along with Hull City hope­ful Jo­han ter Horst on loan, Asa Hall from Chel­tenham on a sim­i­lar ar­range­ment and for­mer Bar­net full-back Sam Mug­gle­ton.

Hav­ing un­der­gone such strength­en­ing, few pre­dicted their even­tual fall into the Na­tional League North, in­clud­ing Askey.

For the Macc boss, it’s now a ques­tion of York’s mind­set head­ing into the fi­nal.

“I think ev­ery­body felt York were go­ing to be safe, es­pe­cially with the sign­ings that they made in Jan­uary,” he said.

“Their team since Jan­uary does not look a rel­e­ga­tion team, they in­vested very heav­ily and took a lot of play­ers out of the Foot­ball League.

“So Sun­day will be a tough game and if they have got over the dis­ap­point­ment of rel­e­ga­tion it will be even tougher for us.”

Askey has been de­lighted to ex­tend the club’s sea­son by sev­eral weeks with the prospect of a big day out at Wem­b­ley to look for­ward to. And while other Na­tional League man­agers are al­ready set­ting plans in place for next sea­son and eyeing po­ten­tial summer re­cruits, for the Silk­men it’s pretty much busi­ness as usual.

The first few weeks af­ter the sea­son draws to a close rarely sees Macc in a po­si­tion to strengthen their squad for next term given their lowly po­si­tion in the di­vi­sion’s fi­nan­cial peck­ing or­der, so Askey does not feel he’s miss­ing out at this stage any more than usual.

“What hap­pens at Mac­cles­field is I wait to see what the bud­get will be fo r next sea­son , bu t given the fact we have one of the small­est bud­gets in the league, we tend to have to wait and see who is left.

“Ev­ery year we have to re­build. We sold a cou­ple of play­ers in Jan­uary and one or two left, so we ac­tu­ally had to re­build in the new year, so it’s a con­tin­u­ous thing at a club like Mac­cles­field.

“It’s hard work, but I love my job.

“Some­times you get frus­trated be­cause of the re­stric­tions you’re work­ing un­der, but I wake up ev­ery morn­ing and re­alise I am very for­tu­nate.”

And Askey’s mes­sage to the club’s sup­port­ers is to get be­hind the team and en­joy the day. “Come and en­joy it, cheer us on and we’ll do our best to make you proud.

“It’s a great oc­ca­sion for the sup­port­ers who follow us week in, week out, but also for the town – I be­lieve it gives a town like Mac­cles­field a big lift.

“The shops are decked out in blue and white and school­child­ren are ex­cit­edly talk­ing about their first ever trip to Wem­b­ley, so it’s a big oc­ca­sion all round the town.

“There’s been a re­ally good re­sponse in terms of ticket sales, I think there have been more tick­ets sold than in ’96.

“You go out into the town and ev­ery­one is buzzing. We’ve been go­ing into schools and en­joy­ing it so I think more peo­ple will come and hope­fully we get the right re­sult.”

Macc boss John Askey and, left, the 1970 FA Tro­phy win­ning squad

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