Bencherif - Do it for Butcher

Macc aim to pull clear of relegation battle

Bencherif: Butcher tribute

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Hamza Bencherif believes that the Macclesfield squad are still reeling from the death of their friend and team-mate Richard Butcher.

The playmaker passed away at the age of 29 on 9th January, less than a year after the loss of Silkmen boss Keith Alexander.

The Moss Rose outfit have not won a game in four attempts since, with their last victory coming back in November.

And the Algerian told skysports.com that they hope to turn their season around as a tribute to the former Lincoln and Notts County midfielder.

Tears

"It was a big shock and everyone was in tears before the Barnet game, but we managed to get a point for Butch in that game," he said.

"We are trying to do our best and make him proud, just like we did last year for the gaffer (Keith Alexander), so we are expecting a lot from ourselves.

"If we can calm down and go back to basics then I'm sure we can do him justice, but it did hit a lot of the players hard, like Butch's close friend Paul Morgan.

"Everyone is trying to turn that pain into a strength now though and use his memory to spur us on because he was a great man on and off the pitch."

At one stage the Silkmen were plotting an assault on the play-offs, but now look to be in a relegation scrap and the 23-year-old insists dreams of a top-seven push have been put to one side for now.

Battle

"We do have a few games in hand over the top half of the table, but we know that we still need to win them and if we don't then we are still in the same boat, or worse, with a relegation battle looming," he said.

"A lot of the sides in the bottom three or four, like Lincoln and Barnet, are starting to win games and pick up points, so we need to start upping the ante.

"You need to have a good festive period to challenge for the top seven and we didn't do that, so a bid for the play-offs has been shelved for now.

"We need to focus on dragging ourselves clear of the relegation scrap first before we can look to the top seven again."