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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 4, 2007

Ince lands Manager of the Month award

Paul Ince warmed up for Macclesfield's FA Cup third-round tie at Chelsea by winning the League Two manager of the month award for December.

The former England captain has performed a minor miracle at Moss Rose and claimed the award after the club secured five wins and a draw in the last month.

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce won the award for the Championship and Blackpool's Simon Grayson claimed the League One prize.

Ince steered Macclesfield to their first win - at the 20th attempt this season - at Rochdale on December 5 and went on to win five of their next six matches.

Town head to Stamford Bridge on a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions as they bid to pull of one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history.

Ince cited the 1-0 win at League Two high-flyers Walsall in an FA Cup first-round replay on November 21 as the turning point of Macclesfield's previously disastrous season.

He told Sky Sports News: 'When I arrived the lads needed a bit of guidance and a bit of belief and the win at Walsall was the turning point for everyone.

'I told the lads if they can beat Walsall, who were top of the table, they can beat anyone and it has snowballed from there.

'We have changed a few things and now have a masseur and a fitness coach. The lads are eating the right food and we have given the club that family feeling. The club have given me the stuff I needed and is reaping the benefit.'

Next up for Town is an FA Cup tie with Premiership champions Chelsea and Ince has told his side not to head to West London just for a day out.

'You never know what might happen,' he added. 'It is going to be a great day out for the club and it will earn us a few quid.

'But we are playing well and it is important we go there and stamp our mark on the game, and not be overawed by the stars, the stadium and the crowd. We are going to go there to try to win the game.

'It would be nice to keep it close and not get beaten by six or seven. We want to make a game of it and make it difficult for them and show them what a good side we can be.'

Ince is now eligible to play but admits the chances of him lining up opposite the likes of Frank Lampard and Michael Essien are slim.

He said: 'After watching Lampard and Essien against Villa, going up and down the pitch, I am not sure I can do that anymore.

'I can play now but the lads have been fantastic and they deserve to be on the pitch on Saturday.'

Championship leaders Birmingham won five and drew one of their six matches in the month.

Bruce said: 'We have done terrifically well over the last three months and have put a run together to get where we are but the hard part is trying to stay there.

'You win awards through the effort of the players and they have been terrific. They have come to the fore and produced an unbelievable set of results and all credit to them.'

Grayson was named the League One manager of the month after Blackpool won five and drew one of their games in December - including a superb 3-1 win at high-flying Scunthorpe - as they climbed to within a point of the play-off zone.

The run came after a poor start to the season and Grayson is delighted with his side's response.

He told Sky Sports News: 'It was a successful month for the club. We got off to a bad start this season but we've turned it round now. We've got in a position where we can kick on.'

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