>Midweek Preview, Part 2: Burton v Macclesfield, Hereford v Accrington

Tonight sees the focus turn to the bottom end of the table with Burton’s struggle to catch up with games and get out of trouble continuing. They take on Macclesfield Town and the Cobblers will be hoping that the same Macc team turns up as the one that won at Sixfields a couple of weeks ago.

Albion are on a run of five games without a win and were beaten 2-1 at Moss Rose earlier in the season. That result saw the Brewers drop to thirteenth in the table, a position they would be mightily happy with right now! The subsequent cup run that followed took them to the fourth round when they were eliminated by Championship side Burnley but more telling was that they played just three league games during the time it took them to get through three cup rounds due to a heavy load of postponements.

The effect on their season has been nothing short of chaotic and the midweek fixture list has been filled with rearranged games for the tired and weary legs of Paul Peschisolido’s men to trawl through. At the time of year when injuries and suspensions are rife, the games in hand have been, in the main, a real hindrance and forced a relegation battle until the time comes when the games start turning into points.

Tonight would seem, on paper, an ideal time to strike against a Macclesfield side wounded by a 4-0 home defeat to Stevenage Borough at the weekend that halted a run of results that saw the Silkmen go unbeaten for five games and get out of trouble themselves.

The job done by Gary Simpson cannot be ignored though and getting a club to the upper reaches of the bottom half of League Two wouldn’t usually be regarded as a major success but for one like Macclesfield it’s a fine achievement to have no real lingering fears of the drop with eight or nine games to go. So a stern test of resolve once again for a Burton side still trying to distance themselves from that very problem tonight.

Hereford are a team that have just about got out of trouble at the right times during the second half of the season. Jamie Pitman, who took charge in October with his side bottom of League Two, has slowly turned the form around and is now so close to completing the great escape following a vital 1-0 home win over Crewe on Saturday.

The Bulls have also had to deal with the loss of the beast like front man Mathieu Manset after he joined Reading in the January transfer window. But Stuart Fleetwood has overtaken his goal tally and the winner against Crewe made it sixteen for the season and the striker seems to have finally found his club after four loan spells while on the books of Charlton Athletic having come out of non league with Forest Green Rovers to join the Addicks.

Unfortunately for United, tonight’s opponents Accrington Stanley are planning a late surge on the playoffs after storming clear of the nether reaches of the table during a superb 2010 so far. Stanley currently sit six points from the playoffs with two games in hand, one of those being tonight’s encounter at Edgar Street.

Badly hit by the weather themselves at the end of 2010, 2011 has seen Stanley lose just three times and all of those were to sides currently fighting for promotion in Shrewsbury, Rotherham and Gillingham. After reaching the top half, suddenly you started to look at their games in hand and thinking that maybe, just maybe they can reach the promised land.

Since rejoining the league in 2006, Accrington have made progress every season, finishing 20th, 17, 16th and 15th in the final tables since. They’re surely going to better it once again but there might yet be a chance to make it an extraordinary campaign if they can gatecrash the end of season party.

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