These are two teams on the up and Macclesfield, with six wins in eight and coming off their biggest win in 17 years last Saturday, will offer a serious test to Wrexham’s resurgent form and growing confidence.
They line up with a fairly standard 4-4-2, so there are obvious conclusions to be drawn about how Wrexham will combat them; after all, we’ve had three years of watching Wrexham’s well-grooved 4-3-3 come up against teams with this shape. Some of them were evident in Macclesfield’s last league match, against Southport: they can lose control of the centre of the pitch as they’re out-numbered, but have an impressive thrust when they go forward and isolate full backs against their wide players.
Their main threat comes from their front two. Neither Connor Jennings nor Chris Holroyd are particularly big, which will suit a Wrexham back line which is lacking in height itself, but the duo more than make up for that in other areas. Indeed, the lack of pace in Wrexham’s back line could become an issue if Holroyd is able to get in behind them, although it’s the prolific form of Jennings which is the obvious danger. He looks at least a level above Skrill Premier, is smart in his movement around the box and always looks likely to get on the end of things, as nine goals in his last eight games suggest!
Out wide. Jack Makreth offers pace and threat, and considering the fact that Wrexham have conceded a disproportionate amount of goals from their left flank of late, Andy Morrell will need to ensure his wide forward on that flank gets back to cover. On the left, Peter Winn is a more solid option who works the line with energy rather than looking to get behind the full back. Having said that, he can offer an aerial target for diagonals, which will test a midfielder converted into a full back like Mark Carrington.
Having said that, Macc Boss John Askey has an interesting choice to make on the flanks, as he rotated his side last Saturday with devastating effect! The Silkmen hammered Vauxhall Motors 7-0, and looking at the number of chances they spurned in the first half it clearly could have been a much heavier win than that! One of the players drafted in was Danny Rowe, and he responded with a hat trick cutting in on his left foot from the right side of midfield. Players who try to do that against Wrexham often find themselves coming into a congested area of the pitch though: it’ll be interesting to see if Macc try Rowe on the other flank: surely he’ll be rewarded with a start though?
Up front, Wrexham have a number of niggling injuries, but will hope Andy Bishop can maintain his improved involvement in recent matches and occupy the Macc centre backs, allowing space to open up for Rob Ogelby to build on his scoring form last Saturday.
But the key scrap will be in the centre of the pitch. That classic Morrell trio of Keates, Harris and Clarke were reunited four games ago and Wrexham haven’t lost since. They’ll need to try and exploit their numerical superiority against a central midfield pairing which is nicely balanced (I’ve always liked Dan Whitaker, who was scoring a winner in this fixture as far back as 2006!)
Nicely balanced encapsulates Askey’s side neatly. Both sides go into the game dead level in the table: I suspect both will be higher when it comes to the final reckoning.