Brackley Town are all set to head up north to Macclesfield tomorrow for the club’s first ever appearance in the second round of the FA Cup as they look to continue their already historic and memorable cup adventure.
It will be Saints’ eighth FA Cup tie this season having featured in three replays, including the memorable victory over Gillingham in the last round.
Jon Brady and his side will fancy their chances against a team who sit a mere 13 places above them in the football ladder, with Macclesfield currently 15th in the Skrill Conference Premier.
Ahead of the tie, Brady said: “It’s probably the second biggest game for me. The Halifax match was probably the biggest because to sustain Conference football, even for a year, is a dream for this club.
“But this is an opportunity to reach the third round and then who knows who you could get.
“We want to go and take the game to them, we go to win every game and we won’t be sitting back. We’ll try to be as positive as we can and they’ve lost a bit of form recently.
“The pressure’s on them because they need this for their football club to keep them alive.”
Macclesfield manager John Askey added this week: “Brackley are very well organised, they’ve got a big budget and they have players who’ve been in higher leagues. They don’t concede many, they only let in one in two games against Gillingham so we know they’ll be tough opposition.”
One player who has strong connections to both sides is current Saints winger Izak Reid, who made 146 league appearances for the Silkmen, and Askey revealed he tried to sign the 26-year-old in the summer, adding: “I tried to sign Izak in the summer but we couldn’t match what Brackley were paying, they’ve obviously got a lot of money behind them.
“I’ve known him since he was 15, he’s got a lot of pace and he’s a very good player. And Ben [Mills] hasn’t been getting in their team, he’s been on the bench most of the time so that shows how strong they are too.”
Askey is well aware of Brackley’s capabilities having covered Saints’ replay against Gillingham as a pundit for BT Sport, to which Brady said: “He couldn’t have been any closer, could he? You could say he knows us inside out.
“That will be a test of how good my players are because we’ll have to see if we can lift ourselves again.”
Brady has a fully fit squad to pick from, with Billy Turley expected to start in goal following his suspension in the replay against Gillingham.
A win would net Brackley £27,000 in prizemoney while also putting them in the hat for the third round draw, which takes place on Sunday afternoon and could see them come up against the likes of Manchester United or Liverpool.
Brackley’s top goalscorer this season, Steve Diggin, was one of the standout performers against Gillingham in the first round and is confident Saints can repeat the trick against Macclesfield.
He said: “Because of the way we played against Gillingham, we know we can beat higher level teams.
“The attitude, work rate and way we kept our shape was really good. We’ve got a brilliant squad and we’ve even got lads who aren’t in the team who would walk into most sides in our league.”
Brackley are hoping to take 300 fans up the M6 for the tie.