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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Has Jack made the right move?

NEWS that Jack Mackreth has left Barrow AFC is a crushing blow to the club ahead of next season.

David Pickthall
David Pickthall

Only last week the 20-year-old winger said he was 99 per cent certain he would be staying with the Bluebirds, but on Tuesday evening it emerged he had signed a contract with Macclesfield Town.

The Wales U23 semi-pro international had repeated the mantra he was happy at Barrow and was enjoying life at Furness Building Society Stadium.

So to learn he had signed for a fellow Conference Premier club on a 12-month deal – the same basic package Barrow no doubt tabled – came as something of a surprise.

Granted, the Silkmen have found themselves in non-league football after 15 years in the Football League and could, in all likelihood, offer Mackreth more money and less travelling.

But as we have seen with once-proud League clubs, such as Wrexham and Cambridge United, immediate promotion back to League Two is no foregone conclusion.

Momentum is a strong force in football, and Macclesfield have none whatsoever.

They finished bottom of League Two and have yet to win a match in 2012.

In an interview with the Macclesfield Town website, Mackreth is quoted as saying: “It’s a step up for me from Barrow.”

Overall, he is probably right, but I would not hold my breath on an immediate return for Macc.

The Conference is a long, hard slog and promotion is a huge demand.

There is probably only one certainty for Mackreth and that is that he is unlikely to garner the same affection from the Macclesfield fans as he did from the Barrow faithful.

The speedy wideman was a crowd favourite and his link play with striker Adam Boyes prompted the terrace chant: “Jack Mackreth, running down the wing, he puts the ball in the box and Boyes, Boyes nods it in.”

For the coming season, Boyes and Andy Cook – God forbid he leaves as well – will have to rely on the deliveries of Paul Rutherford – Barrow can’t afford to lose him either – and hopefully another new addition in the wide department.

As for Mackreth, Barrow fans will have to settle for a season of memories and his signed Welsh U23 shirt that hangs in the Crossbar.

It will be interesting to see if it retains such pride of place.

In his interview with the Macclesfield Town website, Mackreth was at least thankful for his time with Barrow, saying: “It’s hard to leave a club that’s been so good to you, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them.”

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