To win trophy’
“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