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Football: Ince has a tough job on his hands to sort Macc's dodgy defence; SPREADWISE.

Byline: By Steve Davies

THE GUV'NOR spent more than a decade gracing the finest stadia in world football and it could take Paul Ince just as long to sort out Macclesfield's dire defence.

While mentor Sir Alex Ferguson sits pretty at the top of the Premiership, United's erstwhile midfield general is propping up the entire league having swapped a promotion challenge with Swindon for a relegation dogfight at Moss Rose.

And a week in the job is all the time required to appreciate where Macc's main priority is.

Ince saw his new team go 2-1 up against Mansfield with nine minutes left on the clock - by the time those nine minutes had elapsed the former England captain was staring at a 3-2 loss thanks to Richie Barker's late double.

Those goals confirmed that levels of fitness and concentration aren't always the best at the butt end of matches, especially at a level Ince never got to experience as a player.

Ince admitted afterwards that his team had tired too easily. All of which acts as a worthwhile pointer for a play on today's fixture list - a buy of the last goal time in Macclesfield's match at Wrexham at 64 with Sporting and IG.

Late goals in League Two are undoubtedly the norm. Ten of last Saturday's 20 goals scored in this division were bagged after the 64th minute, highlighting once more the point that focus and fitness aren't always there to the final whistle. The week before it was 16 out of 31.

Macclesfield blew it against Mansfield largely because former Manchester City defender Ian Brightwell, Ince's predecessor in charge, limped off after 70 minutes with creaking hamstrings and without the 38-year-old's influence and experience the Silkmen fell apart.

The ageing Brightwell is set to be rested today and that spells danger against a Wrexham team, driven on by Fergie's lad Darren, and boosted by the arrival of two new strikers, Moheta Molango from Brighton and Kevin Smith from Sunderland.

The stats back up the feeling that late goals are on the cards at the Racecourse Ground. The average last goal time in Macclesfield matches this season is 65 and since Wrexham drew 0-0 with Peterborough in August the average make-up for Denis Smith's strugglers is 70.

Recommendation

Buy Wrexham v Macclesfield last goal time 2pts at 64 IG, Sporting

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Paul Ince could be in for an exasperating afternoon
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 4, 2006
Words:401
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