Return of the Macc? Town sitting pretty for National League promotion

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Macclesfield Town’s six-year stay in the National League could be about to come to an end.

The Cheshire club are top of the table by four points from Aldershot Town and look well-placed for a return to the Football League.

After starting the season as 28/1 outsiders to win the division, Macc are now as short as 2/1 for top honours.

It has been a remarkable campaign thus far for a side who last plied their trade in League Two during the 2011-2012 season.

Their rise to the summit has been built on one simple yet precious quality – consistency.

No side so far this season in the National League has managed to find any semblance of consistency apart from Macclesfield.

Separate runs of six straight victories and 11 games without defeat have seen Town rocket from 14th in early September to top of the tree in mid-December.

They’ve recorded 16 victories, seven draws and suffered six defeats.

Of those victories, 11 have come by the odd goal.

That has made the contributions of lone-striker Scott Wilson all the more important.

Since signing from Eastleigh in the summer, the 24-year-old has found the back of the net 11 times in the National League.

Nine of those goals have been match defining contributions.

Without Wilson, the Silkmen would be 11 points worse off.

His impressive displays have been helped by a 4-5-1 formation which utilises a creative midfield.

Mitch Hancox, brought in from Birmingham City in 2016, has improved his game and now stands as one of Town’s most important players.

Alongside Elliott Durrell, Ryan Lloyd and Dan Whitaker – all three of whom have featured over 25 times for Macc this season – they’ve formed the basis of a solid midfield.

That consistency and experience in the middle of the park has ultimately transferred itself into the results column.

Veteran centre-halves Keith Lowe and George Pilkington have also been pivotal in their success.

The pair have a combined age of 68 but have formed an excellent partnership at the heart of the league’s joint-third meanest defence.

Along with goalkeeper Shwan Jalal, they have a defensive spine which makes them one of the hardest teams to beat in the National League.

Club-legend John Askey has done fantastically well at Moss Rose thus far.

If the Silkmen can remain difficult to beat until the end of the season, the Football League could well see the return of the Macc next season.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication.

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket and horse racing.