We’ve been chatting to Macclesfield Town fan Jonathan Smart about the upcoming clash between the Imps and the Silkmen. Here’s the latest in our ‘Seven questions’ feature.
1. Did you imagine a struggle this season after the elation of the National League win? Also, how did it feel, from one champion to another, when the whistle blew on your title-winning match?
After winning the League last season , which most people thought was unlikely even through till early April , we knew it would be a difficult transition. If we had managed to keep John Askey at the helm I think we’d have held our own with a realistic aim to finish towards mid table. He would have tried to keep the team together and add a few experienced League Two players. When John went to Shrewsbury and Mark Yates was appointed I thought he was a decent appointment at the time but anticipated a struggle with seven or eight new players likely to be playing initially
We won the league at Eastleigh and the whole game was a fantastic experience as we took an early lead and never really looked like conceding. When Mitch Hancox scored the second that was the champagne moment and on the final whistle the realities set in that we were back in League Two The pitch was invaded and dreams that many including myself thought might never happen had actually come to reality
2. How do you feel the season has started and what are your hopes going forward?
In all honesty on August 4th prior to the first game at Swindon I’d have happily taken 22nd place. Leading 2-1 going into injury time looked like we were going to have a great start but we conceded 2 late goals and that’s been our Achilles heel all season. We’ve not played particularly well apart from in patches during most games and probably deserve to be where we are. We have good halves but haven’t had a good full 90 min. If we do we can beat anyone and we need to be stronger. If we are we will be ok
3. Mark Yates – discuss
I’ve been disappointed with the style of football but we have been spoiled by John Askey’s attractive style playing it on the ground for five seasons. I hope Mark Yates can find his best formation and stick to it. I think he should have remembered we won the league last season and allowed the likes of captain Jared Hodgkiss and Keith Lowe to play their part in the early part of this season before deciding to change things too much
4. Which player would you mark out as the real dangerman for city to keep an eye on this weekend?
Danny Whitaker at nearly 38 has as much energy as anyone in midfield and has the quality to lift the club I rate Callum Evans as the midfield lynchpin behind a more forward Whitaker but Mark Yates doesn’t seem to agree. Both our keepers Rhys Taylor and Kieron O’Hara are decent
5. What are your honest perceptions of the Imps, as a club as well as on the field?
Lincoln have reinvigorated their city with the football in the last few years since the arrival of the Cowley brothers and it’s an amazing achievement Sadly I don’t feel we could ever do the same as too many locals in Macclesfield are armchair supporters of the big Premier League clubs.
6. Who is your all-time Macc hero and why?
Two heroes. Steve Burr who was a prolific striker whilst working as a lorry driver 30 years ago and John Askey also playing from 1984 to 2004 and working at the club right through to 2018 in various roles before taking us back into the promised land of the football league before his exit this summer. I’m sure he would have loved to have managed us back up here if circumstances had been different !!
7. Finally, what can Lincoln fans expect to see this weekend, in terms of style and approach?
Difficult to tell as don’t think the manager knows our best formation yet. Make no mistake we have some decent players and if our strikers get service they all have goals in them.
Thanks to Jonathan, who can be found on Twitter @TheGreyMonk63