Michael Clegg is looking to steer Warrington Rylands to a historic FA Cup feat but believes there is no greater test than Macclesfield away.
The Blues will travel to the Silkmen looking to upset Mark Duffy’s side, who have their own aspirations of creating history in the competition.
After the draw was made, both clubs – separated by 23 miles – were pitted against each other a matter of weeks after Dean Furman’s 99th-minute equaliser when they met at the Leasing.com Stadium in their Northern Premier League Premier Division encounter.
With the games that have passed, now the FA Cup has first versus second in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.
For Rylands, they are looking to extend their historic run, already, as the fourth qualifying round beckons for the first time in their 117-year history. Their comprehensive win over FC United of Manchester saw them earn their place in the record books but Clegg already believes the tie is a win-win for the club.
They go into the clash with Macclesfield on a superb run in the league, which saw them move to within four points of league leaders Radcliffe on Tuesday. While the FA Cup provides an unwanted distraction from their domestic momentum, the Rylands boss concedes that there’s no better game to play in.
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“We want to get as many points as possible, which will be the same case for anyone, but I don’t think anyone can’t be excited for Macclesfield away in the FA Cup,” he told Off The Park.
“The last round, FC United, getting a cut of the attendance and prize money then Macc getting half of the gate, it’s already been a win-win.
“You enter the FA Cup with the sole aim of getting as far as you can, it’s a competition we’re not going to win but getting to the first round for anyone at the level will feel like winning it so that’s our aim.
“We know we’re going to have it tough, we went there a few weeks ago and proved we can match them, since then we’re both in better form so it’s going to be a real tough test but one we’re looking forward to. The pressure will probably be on them so we will be able to enjoy it more.”
Furman’s 99th-minute equaliser denied a win for the Silkmen at the end of August following Hayden Campbell’s opener.
But Clegg insists there was no element of luck in their earning of a point in Cheshire and that they were thoroughly deserving of a point on the day. Their persistent, relentless attitude earned them the last-gasp equaliser and the Rylands manager believes that same mantra will continue on Saturday.
“They were gutted to draw the game but on the whole, I think that was because they way the goal went in but we deserved a point,” he continued.
“I don’t think anyone in that ground that day can say we deserved to get beat, we went to the final whistle like we always do. We’ve scored so many late goals this year, we’re fit, strong and we believe in what we’re doing.
“We’ll keep grinding away, they’ll be looking at it like they could’ve had an easier draw aswell so we’ve got to turn up, give it everything, we’re going to have to be patient and I think we can do that. You’ve got to stick to the gameplan and have a bit of luck then see what happens come five o’clock.
“We seen the draw and there was a few decent draws we think we could’ve had, we’ve landed on one of the toughest. They beat Buxton in the last round but we’ve won five on the bounce since we drew.
“It’s one of them, it’s all talk up to now, we’ve got to go there and be enthusiastic, together, run, work and we know we haven’t got a divine right to turn up anywhere and get through.
“For us, the focus remains throughout, the lads are building up the trust and even if we lose games we’ll try to win them, we’re doing all the right things so hopefully that happens again on Saturday.”