Macclesfield Town (H) EFL Cup 2nd round, Tues Aug 28th 7.45pm

"Clean from her forehead all that wealth of hair
Which made a silken mat-work for her feet"

(Alfred Lord Tennyson - “The Holy Grail”)

Uncharted territory (well, rarely charted) for some - the 2nd round of a Cup competition. The EFL Cup, currently known as the Carabao Cup, may seem to be the poor relation of the F.A. Cup, but it still holds out the temptation of a place in the UEFA Europa League to the competition’s winners.

So we welcome the Silkmen of Macclesfield Town who find themselves back in the Football League after a six years’ absence in the National League. It’s a bit galling to refer to the BBC website page on the Silkmen to find various highlight match extracts including their win 0-1 two years ago at Fortress Bescot. Their manager at that time was John Askey, a man with a Walsall connection in that his father Colin was a regular member of Bill Moore’s double promotion winning Walsall side of 1958/61. John has now moved on to higher things (well, Shrewsbury Town), and Macclesfield Town are not enjoying the best start to their season as they are currently bottom but one in League 2. Their results so far:-

Aug 4th Swindon Town (A) Lost 3-2
Aug 11th Grimsby Town (H) Lost 0-2
Aug 14th Bradford City (H - EFL Cup) Drew 1-1, and won 4-2 on penalties
Aug 18th Oldham Athletic (A) Lost 3-1
Aug 21st Cheltenham Town (H) Drew 1-1
Aug 25th Mansfield Town (H) Drew 1-1 (Mansfield’s goal scored by Mal Benning)

Our start to the season has surely been better than even our most optimistic supporters could have predicted (or hoped). Six competitive games played, undefeated, joint 2nd in the League One table and 10 points clear of the relegation zone we were confidently forecast to occupy, even at this early stage. And yet … and yet … this is Walsall we are talking about, and this outrageous bubble has to burst soon,… hasn’t it? (The voice of a supporter with over 60 years’ experience talking!!)

Dean Keates may be forced into making some changes to his starting line-up for this one - Morgan Ferrier didn’t last 90 minutes at Rochdale, although his withdrawal may have been precautionary rather than a bad knock. Isaiah Osbourne finished the game but needed the “magic sponge”, as did Nicky Devlin, and also Luke Leahy (after only a minute!).

Unlike another competition where squad rotation is almost compulsory (no names, no pack-drill), this tournament should be taken seriously with the prospect of the “biggest clubs” making their appearance in the draw for the 3rd round. Added to which, we do have something of a score to settle with the Silkmen - just go to the BBC website to see Neil Etheridge conceding against a non-league side (shudder).

Prediction time, and I have to go for a home win even if Dean Keates does have to draw on a coupe of fringe players. Let’s say 2-0, with Andy Cook and George Dobson on the scoresheet.


Ye this has got through to the next round written all pover it, 2-0 josh gordon and maybe candlin getting on the score sheet if given a run out.

I’d drop all the players that picked up knocks today. Nice to go through to the next round of the cup but it’s not worth losing Leahy or Ferrier for any length of time. This squad is still thin and we need to keep absentees to a minimum.

I think we’ll win due to totally contrasting form between the two teams. I know Keates says he doesn’t like making lots of changes but I think he’ll start Gordon and rest Leahy, Devlin and one of Dobson/Osbourne. Pretty sure he’ll let Dunn have a run out too in place of Roberts.

If he gets a centre half signed up by then too he may well rest either Guthrie/Fitzwater?

Wilson New Cb Guthrie Leahy
Morris Dobson Kinsella Kouyhar
Cook Gordon

2-0 win.

I’d be tempted to make a few changes for this as I get the feeling a few could do with the break. Hopefully Gordon gets a start.

Walsall 2-0 Macclesfield.

Wild celebrations in Walsall as we get our first clean sheet.

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Not sure if Keates will risk fielding a considerably weaker side given we could get a good draw in the next round - but starts for Dunn, Wilson, Morris and Gordon?

It was inevitable, given the managed decline of the past few miserable seasons that the club chose to reduce capacity for some games. But I wonder if the gate on Tuesday will be larger than the club originally anticipated? Already the main stand has only limited availability in four blocks. They may need a contingency on the night.

Time to make a few changes in my view. The league is more important and I agree that all those who had knocks on Saturday should be rested. Chances for Gordon,Kinsella,Kouyhar at least for me.

i`d play our strongest team get the game won as early as poss then bring the subs on .



3rd division teams resting players in FA/League cup matches doesn’t make sense to me. A good cup run gets the fans going and provides revenue for team players salaries.

Tricky one for Keates , Cook looked dead on his feet yesterday after 3 games in a week so I’d potentially just use him from the bench.

The Squad has put so much in over the last 7 days , so it might be wise to give the fringe players a game.

So does attaining as high a league position as possible though

I agree - was never a problem in the past though? Need to try your best in both league and cup.
By all means swap a couple where there is minimal difference in ability or injury concerns but lower league teams not taking these competitions seriously is daft in my view.

Times change though. It didn’t matter before because nobody was being rested before. It’s not about whether we rest players it’s about whether other teams are doing so or not even playing at all.

Like it or not the league cup isn’t priority anymore these days and teams have adapted. I’d love to see us go through and draw a big team but I’d rather not have players get injured and miss 3 or 4 league games.

League position is the only hope that the club has of attracting fans back on a regular basis. Certainly had the feeling yesterday that a few more than usual made the trip.

I agree with you. I’d like to see these starting on Tuesday, especially Maz and Josh Gordon. A clean sheet would be an overdue bonus.

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I dunno, Keates said himself when he was first appointed that you take cups seriously depending on a few things… every round brings different scenarios. We’ve had a few Saturday, Tuesday weeks already and it’s still early days, also a few knocks yesterday. It’s more about managing the scenario thrown up than competing in the cup. I’d personally rest a few.

An incentive for Keates is that the draw has given us a great opportunity to progress which could result in additional money being made available for him to strengthen in January.
Also, given the start we have had I would have thought that the players can’t wait for the next game to come.
I really hope he goes for it.


Play strongest team possible, continue with the winning mentality.

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