Aldershot Town v Macclesfield Town Match Preview – Saturday 17 February 2018
Aldershot Town secured a third successive National League win at Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend. Early goals in each half, from Jim Kellermann and Scott Rendell, took The Shots back up to second place and within a point of leaders Macclesfield Town, who visit The EBB Stadium this Saturday.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Shots skipper Callum Reynolds is back in training and could return to the playing squad this weekend, and Scott Rendell is expected to recover from the minor knock that saw him depart the pitch at Victoria Road prematurely. Should he do so, Nick Arnold, who continues to progress towards a return following his long-term knee ligament injury, could be the only player unavailable to Manager Gary Waddock as they take on The Silkmen on Saturday.
Opposition – Macclesfield Town FC:
Nickname: The Silkmen
Ground: Moss Rose
Head Coach: John Askey
The Silkmen spent most of last season in the top-half of the National League table, but their chances of sneaking in to the National League Play-Offs were dealt a blow by a loss of form in the closing stages, as they failed to win in any of their final five games.
Three wins from four during April had given them hope of nudging into the top five but, in the end, they had to be content with a ninth-place finish. There was also Wembley heartache for The Silkmen as they lost 3-2 to York City in a thrilling FA Trophy Final.
The widely-respected John Askey has been the man in charge at Moss Rose since 2013, when he stepped up to replace David Moss, whom he had worked alongside as Assistant Manager. A forward during his playing days, Askey started out at Port Vale but dropped into non-league with Milton United after struggling to make a first-team breakthrough at Vale Park. In 1984 he joined Macclesfield Town and his goals helped them begin their move up in the footballing world, culminating in promotion to the Football League as Conference champions in 1994-95.
When the 2017-18 season kicked-off, just four players remained at Moss Rose from last term: George Pilkington, David Fitzpatrick, Mitch Hancox and the evergreen Danny Whittaker. Key departures included striker Chris Holroyd (to Wrexham AFC), Ollie Norburn (Tranmere Rovers) and Neill Byrne (Gateshead), whilst Kingsley James, John McCombe and Andy Halls all moved to Chester.
Askey secured sixteen new arrivals, including goalkeeper Shwan Jalal (Wrexham AFC), centre-back Keith Lowe (Kidderminster Harriers), midfielders Elliott Durrell (Chester) and Danny Whitehead (Wigan Athletic) and striker Scott Wilson (Eastleigh), who is The Silkmen’s top scorer to date, with 11 goals.
More recent additions include defender Callum Evans (Forest Green Rovers) and striker Nathan Blissett (Plymouth Argyle), who have both joined on loan until the end of the season.
The Shots and The Silkmen have shown comparable form in recent months, with both teams having lost just one of their last fourteen National League matches. Macclesfield’s one defeat came at ever-improving AFC Fylde, where they lost 6-0. Overall, they have won seven, drawn six and lost just one of those last fourteen league matches. They come to The EBB Stadium with the fourth best away record in the division, with 29 points gained from 15 games.
Aldershot Town and Macclesfield Town have faced each other on seventeen occasions, with the Shots winning four, losing seven and drawing six of those encounters. Back in September, Askey’s men came out on top in the reverse fixture, Elliott Durell scoring a fine second in Macc’s 2-0 win.
The Silkmen have won on each of their last three visits to The EBB Stadium and were one of just three teams to beat The Shots there last season. A goal in each half from Chris Holroyd saw them forge 2-0 ahead before Will Evans pulled one back for the home side. However, with both sides pushing for a Play-Off place in March 2017, it was The Shots won the return match at Moss Rose 2-0, thanks to second-half strikes from Kundai Benyu and Matt McClure. In the previous season both games were also won by the away side, with the Silkmen winning 3-0 at the EBB Stadium in a game where Jake Gallagher was sent-off. Back in January, Alfie Pavey and a superb long-range strike from Damon Lathrope gave the Shots a 2-0 victory at Moss Rose.
Saturday’s referee is David Rock, who has taken charge of 16 National League matches so far this season, showing 35 yellow cards and one red card to date. He has already refereed Aldershot Town on three occasions, two of which were at The EBB Stadium, including the 3-1 Boxing Day victory over Woking.
BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and ex-Shots striker Tim Sills will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website or the BBC Sport App from 2.50pm for full match commentary. To interact with them, tweet @RobShot66 and/or @Sillsmeister.