John Askey's Macclesfield go into tomorrow night's FA Cup clash with Wrexham with his fingers crossed, hopeful that his defence will suffer minimal disruption.

The Silkmen get their cup bid under way with a tie at the Moss Rose but with a makeshift defence a distinct possibility.

Luke Waterfall, who'll return to parent club Scunthorpe after next weekend's trip to Nuneaton, is ineligible as a loan signing. And George Pilkington - his regular partner at the heart of a defence that's kept seven clean sheets in the league - limped out of last Saturday's win over Dover.

Will Haining has spent most of his time with the club as a central midfielder, and he would be a natural replacement in defence but he's trying to shake off a calf injury.

Both will undergo a fitness test before the fourth qualifying-round tie, but Askey will have to have a Plan B ready as his side aim to get another lucrative cup run going.

George Pilkington (pictured during last season's defeat at Wrexham) is struggling for fitness

"We'll have to see how George and Will are before the game, we'll just be hoping for the best," said the Macc boss.

"We have these injury problems but Wrexham will be without Louis Moult (through suspension). He'll be a big miss for them but they've got good strength in depth, we know how good Connor Jennings and Andy Bishop are so it'll be difficult for whoever's playing against them.

"We know Wrexham can play but so can we and we're at home so we'll just get on with it."

Askey has been busily trying to bring in new blood but has so far missed out on three possible recruits, all of whom will play for Macc's divisonal rivals.

However, next week should see a new face arrive from League One at the Moss Rose, who brings Premier League experience with him.

"I'm hoping we can bring someone in on Monday," added Askey. "I've been trawling round but it's been a case where we have to have one out before we can bring one in, that's the problem with having such a tight budget.

"That could prove to be false economy if we lose games because we miss out on players, but I don't let it get me down, I'll just get on with it and look to the next match.

"We really need to get back to a position where we're able to be more settled and be able to offer players more than six-month contracts or non-contract terms - that's my biggest frustration because we've got decent players here and we need to have them signed up. We don't want another summer where we've got no players and we have to start again from scratch."

Losing the bulk of this squad would indeed be a major blow for Askey, now in his second campaign at the helm. The financial limitations he's working under meant he missed out on bringing Jennings back to the club after his free-scoring loan spell last season. Jennings instead went to Wrexham after leaving Scunthorpe and scored against Macc in the 2-2 draw in August.

And while the striker's present club go into tomorrow on the back of a four-game winless run, the Macc manager is under no illusions as to the task ahead if they're to create anything like the third and fourth-round runs of recent seasons.

But although the two sides have already faced off this term he's also seeing tomorrow's tie as a welcome break from the rigours of the league campaign.

"We're close to the play-offs and it'll be nice to have a break away from the league," added Askey.

"As a player I always felt the FA Cup was a one-off and it's about who performs on the day. I can perhaps enjoy the game slightly more - although I'll only do that if we win.

"We don't want to go to a replay, we could do without the extra game, but I'd take that rather than losing.

"It should be a really good occasion and hopefully we'll have two thousand or more coming down. I was happy with the gate against Dover, especially as they were never likely to bring too many supporters, so the gates are going up.

"It's getting to where we have 'proper' football weather now, so all we can do as manager and players is put on a show.

"All we can do to get people coming back is keep putting on performances and getting results - it all depends on the results."

TICKETS for the Wrexham match are still on sale at the club and at Macclesfield Town Hall during office hours, although supporters looking to lend their support can also pay on the gate.