The summer months have seen a lot of action off the pitch at City, with wholesale changes to the backroom as well as a number of significant departures and signings as Matt Taylor enters his second season in management hoping to go slightly better than his first, which saw City miss out on a playoff place by the width of a goalpost. The most notable change will be in goal, as Christy Pym (Peterborough) and James Hamon (released) left in the summer, replaced by Lewis Ward and Johnny Maxted. Nigel Atangana was signed from Cheltenham perhaps as a direct replacement for MK-bound Hiram Boateng, although he won’t be available immediately due to a long-term injury. The signing of Nicky Ajose will likely mean a change of formation with Taylor presumably looking to pair the diminutive forward with Ryan Bowman, while there are plenty of defensive options to choose from. All told, much will depend on how this new look City side gels as to how lofty their ambitions will be.
It’s fair to say Macclesfield’s close season has also been somewhat tumultuous. The financial issues that dogged the Silkmen throughout their ultimately successful relegation battle last season have continued, with salaries being paid late and visits back and forth to the courts. As a result, high profile manager Sol Campbell goes into the new season with something of a bare bones side, one that has been installed again amongst the relegation favourites. Campbell will need to look to the experience of the likes of Michael Rose (37) and Danny Whitaker (38) on the pitch to guide them to safety.
However, the fixture list pairing these sides together will inspire dread at City and hope at Macclesfield given last season’s results which saw the form table upturned. Campbell was watching from the stands at the Park ahead of his appointment back in November when City turned in arguably their worst display of the season in going down 1-0 to a strike from Harry Smith. Hopes of gaining revenge in April looked good when Ryan Bowman scored his first two goals in the red and white, sandwiching an equaliser from Smith. A penalty from Rose levelled things up on half time before a late Troy Brown OG gifted the hosts the points. Thanks to those wins Macclesfield now have a slight league head to head lead with five wins to City’s four, five matches finishing level. Details of the encounters with Macclesfield can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_calendar=macclesfield-head-to-head
Match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Sam Purkiss
Assistant Referees: Samuel Ogles and Marc Wilson
Fourth Official: Simon Shaw
Sam is a lawyer and will be refereeing in his first English Football League game this weekend. He’ spent two years refereeing in the National League and has also refereed a number of Premier League U23 games.