White: “As a big advocate for watching what football clubs can do to communities, it’s amazing to watch what Robbie and Rob have done there”
The Silkmen, who are currently managed by Alex Bruce (son of Steve Bruce), sit in 4th place of the Northern Premier Division, following two successive championship winning campaigns since their formation in 2021.
Macclesfield welcome Dorking to Cheshire whilst enduring a slight drop in form which has seen them pick up three wins from their last seven, having picked up nine wins from ten previously.
Bruce’s side booked their place in the fourth round with a 0-2 win at Curzon Ashton last month, this stage of the competition is the furthest they have reached in their short history. The Silkmen’s most recent football was played on Monday night, beating Matlock Town 1-2 thanks to goals from Tre Pemberton and Alex Curran, the latter also scoring in their third round win over Ashton.
Dorking convincingly beat Maidenhead Untied 3-0 at Meadowbank to enter their name in the hat for the fourth round, goals from Bobby-Joe Taylor and James McShane, following a Casey Petit own goal put Dorking in a commanding position before half-time.
Wanderers travel to Cheshire following their 0-1 loss to Oldham Athletic last Saturday. After the defeat, the Wanderers boss stated his side “played them [Oldham] off the park, I have to give credit to their keeper.” A dejected Marc White went on to praise his teams performance, ranking the second half in particular one of the best performances he’s seen this season.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a more dominant 45 minutes. I’m gutted, you need to win these home games.”
Oldham Athletic (H) Recap
In a match which the Wanderers boss described as a “real smash and grab”, Mike Fondop’s first half strike meant Dorking began 2024 with defeat. The Latics front-man grabbed his fourth goal in his last two Meadowbank visits after the hosts failed to effectively deal with a corner. The goal came towards the tail-end of a first-half which lacked any real innovation from either side, Bobby-Joe Taylor replacing the injured Matt Briggs on the half hour mark the key talking point prior to Athletic taking the lead.
On the contrary, the second half saw a host of chances come and go, perhaps influenced by the introduction of Wanderers top scorer Jason Prior at half-time. Between the sticks for Oldham stood a defiant Matt Hudson who denied Prior and others from getting Dorking back on level terms throughout the half. Charlie Carter, who stood out and put evidence to White calling him a “big ticket player in the division”, had the ball in the back of the net with minutes to play following a neat Wanderers attack, the linesman, to Meadowbank’s dismay, had raised his flag however.
Despite being disappointed with the result, White took many positives from the afternoon, “the midfield stepped up, when the pressure was on they got better.” The boss also took solace in the fact that his talisman completed 45 minutes unscathed, not least after receiving news in the week that James McShane has suffered a serious ACL injury.
When speaking about the differences this performance displayed in comparison to recent weeks, White alluded to the importance of having a level of depth of fully fit attackers at his disposal – a luxury he has severely lacked throughout this campaign, “we’re getting our forward players back, it makes a big difference to how we play.”
When looking ahead to Saturday’s FA Trophy clash at The Leasing.com Stadium, the boss was enthused by the prospect of facing a team he’d never come up against before, “we’re really excited, another football league club, another new ground.”
With two away days in four days, White and the coaching staff are remaining cautious of fitness levels across the team. “We’re very much looking at two games, Macclesfield tomorrow, York Tuesday night,” stated the the boss in his weekly update.
“We’ve had to look at those who might not be able to play Saturday and Tuesday. There might be one or two which are expected to play that don’t.”
White did however reveal that George Francomb will return to the squad this weekend after an extended lay-off, also stating Matt Briggs will be unavailable due to the hamstring injury he suffered against Oldham last weekend.
Jimmy Muitt, who took part in full training on Thursday, is cup-tied.
Opposition Focus – The Silkmen
After forming as phoenix club of the former Macclesfield Town, The Silkmen have enjoyed two championship winning campaigns in the 8th & 9th tiers of English football, leaving them two divisions adrift of Dorking.
Their heaviest home defeat in their two-and-a-half year history came in this competition, losing 0-2 to Guiseley last season – a record White and the team will be looking to break on Saturday.
Since taking charge in November, Bruce has picked up eight wins in twelve games, losing just once. Their home form has also taken a dramatic upturn since the arrival of Bruce at the start of November – scoring 22 goals in eight games.
Macclesfield’s top scorer this campaign in Alex Curran with an impressive 18 goals, John Rooney, brother of Wayne, is not far behind with 14.
With Saturday’s tie being the first time Macclesfield have faced National League opposition this season, Bruce described the visit of Wanderers as a “big challenge”, stating that the “pressure will be off” of his players, following his sides recent win at Matlock Town.
A place in the last 16 awaits the winner, where thoughts of Wembley may start to seep in.