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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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King hopes magic of FA Cup can end losing run at Barrow

MACCLESFIELD boss Steve King is determined to end a run of four straight defeats when he heads to Holker Street with former Bluebird Jack Mackreth and the rest of the Town squad.

GOAL THREAT: Barrow’s Tom Anderson battles with Matthew Barnes-Homer at Moss Rose in August, when Barnes-Homer’s two goals proved the difference between the sides

The Silkmen’s hopes of adding to their two FA Trophy successes came to an abrupt end last Friday when they were dumped out 2-0 at Gateshead at the first hurdle, and they will be aiming to avoid a second successive cup exit against Barrow tomorrow.

The Gateshead defeat followed Conference home losses to Mansfield Town (3-0) and Ebbsfleet (2-1) and a 2-0 reversal at Cambridge, meaning the last time King’s side tasted victory was at home to Tamworth at the beginning of November.

All appeared rosy at Moss Rose after that 2-0 win, with Macclesfield on a run of four successive victories – the highlight of which being their 2-0 FA Cup first round upset at League One Swindon.

King’s side – with Mackreth a regular on the wing – made a strong start to their first non-league campaign in 15 years, with early-season victories including a 2-0 triumph over the Bluebirds at Moss Rose.

But they have since slipped to ninth place in the Blue Square Bet Premier table and King is determined to halt the slide. That starts with tomorrow’s FA Cup second round tie, where the winners will pick up £27,000 in prize money and a potential dream tie in the third round, with the draw taking place on Sunday at 2.40pm, live on ITV1.

King made a scouting trip to Holker Street on Tuesday night and must have been impressed with the Bluebirds’ second half display in their 1-0 FA Trophy first round replay win over Hyde.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, King told the Macclesfield Express: “We were obviously disappointed to lose on Friday (at Gateshead) and to have lost four on the bounce. We’ve been going over that game again and again, but we’re good enough to come back from that.”

He added: “The league table goes out of the window, this is a cup game and a big cup game. They are a solid unit, full of effort and determination, and a good team that went through October undefeated, so they’re very capable.

“We’ll have to earn the right to play our football because they’ll give their all and we have to match that.”

Mackreth started Macclesfield’s last game – the Trophy defeat at Gateshead – after being used as a second-half substitute in the home league defeats to Mansfield and Ebbsfleet, and it will be interesting to see what sort of reaction he gets from the Popular Side should he de deployed against his former club.

The speedy winger had a very impressive first season at Holker Street last term, becoming a real fans’ favourite with his dynamic displays down the flanks, but he turned down a new deal with the Bluebirds in the summer to join the Silkmen.

One-time Bluebirds target John Paul Kissock, on loan from Luton, could also feature for the visitors, while midfielder Kieran Murtagh returns after a ban and captain Nat Brown has overcome an injury and could be in contention.

Macclesfield (from): Cronin, Charnock, Morgan-Smith, Brown, Winn, Diagne, Wedgbury, Kissock, Mackreth, Barnes-Homer, Murtagh, Fairhurst, Braham-Barrett, McNamee, Holroyd, Martin, Jackson, Henry, Mills.

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