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Michael Appleton's Macclesfield Programme Notes

13 December 2016

"I can assure you we will be starting tonight’s game a lot better..."

Good evening everyone and welcome back for tonight’s FA Cup replay against Macclesfield. Our visitors were excellent hosts in the first game and showed what a good side they are. I am sure they will be fired up just as much and fancy their chances of causing an upset.

Most of you will have watched the original game, either in person or on TV, so you will have seen for yourself  how well Macclesfield played that night. They came out of the traps really quickly and got at us early. We had warned the players to expect that and I thought we dug in and defended quite well but I can assure you we will be starting tonight’s game a lot better. We improved in the second half at Moss Rose but know we can be a lot sharper in all areas.

The winner gets a trip to Rotherham, which may not be quite the glamour tie you hope for in the third round but gives either side the chance to test themselves against Championship opposition. I would definitely expect Rotherham to be wary of whoever does get through.

We have had two games since the first match, winning on penalties in the Checkatrade Trophy at Southend and then drawing at home with Oldham on Saturday. I thought we got caught by a sucker punch in the latter game. Oldham put maybe two set pieces into the box all game but scored a scrappy goal from one of them and then sat in, frustrated us and made it very hard to break them down. 

The longer the game went on the deeper they seemed to drop, especially when they went down to ten men. It was one-way traffic in the second half and when Robbie Hall got the equaliser there was only one side looking like winning it. We were all delighted for Robbie to get his first goal since he came back here. We knew it was going to be a waiting game and he wouldn’t be available too much for the first half of the season but he has worked very hard, listened to Procs and the medical team and you could see from the celebration how much the goal meant to all involved. There is more to come from Rob, I am sure, and that goal will be a massive boost for him.

As for the incident that saw me sent to the stands, I felt there were things going on that were just crossing a line and I made my feelings very clear both to the officials and to the opposition.  We will have to see what the report says when it comes back but I think you all know that it takes a lot of provocation to get me to react like that…

Once everything calmed down it was another point on the board and although it should have been three, we are now six games unbeaten in all competitions. That’s a decent run and tonight gives us the chance keep things moving in the right direction. The cups have been good to us over the last two seasons so get behind us, enjoy what I am sure will be a cracking FA Cup tie, and hopefully we can make sure it is Oxford United making the trip to Rotherham in the next round.

Enjoy the game

Michael

You can buy a full online version of the programme at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc

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