Chesterfield Preview

It’s another derby weekend following on from Mansfield, Notts County and Grimsby, and it concludes a run of matches again teams within proximity to us geographically. In terms of football though Chesterfield are having a torrid time, and this match is a great chance for City to grab three points.

Gary Caldwell beat my pre-season favourite Mark Cooper in the sack race, he lost his job in September after a wretched start for the Spireites. They’ve endured regular defeats in league and cup, none more humiliating than the 5-1 thrashing handed out by Crewe. Their only victory so far came against fellow crisis-club Port Vale. I tipped them to do well pre-season too but I severely under estimated the scale of the issue at the Proact Stadium. They have the feel of a club on a ‘back to back’ relegation tumble and they need to address it quickly.

Caretaker Guy Branston couldn’t halt the slide. He was well-known to City fans and was appointed director of recruitment and development in April. He took over on an interim basis after Gary Caldwell was sacked as manager on 16 September. He lost both of his games in charge to leave the Spireites in the bottom two of the fourth tier, and left on September 28th to make way for Jack Lester.

Jack is the former Nottingham Forest u23 manager and he’s looking to cut his teeth in the full time game. He might need to go back to Forest for a few starlets when the window opens though, because Chesterfield are woeful. They lost his first game in charge and he’s got quite a task picking them up for City’s clash. That said, an EFL Trophy win in midweek is an early sign of their undoubted potential.

They picked up Gozi Ugwu in pre-season from Woking, a bustling centre forward whom I thought a long ball game would suit. At the time of writing he hasn’t scored a goal for them. They’ve also moved for Matthew Briggs, the former Fulham wonder kid that spent time on trial with City pre-season. There are doubts about his fitness and question marks over his discipline from his time at Colchester, but they’ll need some defensive stability over the coming months. Joe Anyon is there too, a familiar face to Imps fans that remember the dark days of 2010-12. He’s a decent keeper, but he’ll have to be with the defence he has in front of him.

Lincoln and Chesterfield are age-old enemies that have done battle on no fewer than 104 occasions. Our visitors slightly edge the head to head, but only by one game, currently leading 40 wins to 39 with 25 draws. Our last meeting came in 2011 when Craig Davis and Dean Holden gave them a 2-0 victory as we slid towards relegation.

Chesterfield got a penalty, and City were staring a draw in the face. Jack Lester skied it in front of a Stacey West end sparsely populated with home fans, and we had something to smile about for a few days.

Our last victory against them was at Sincil Bank on Boxing Day 2009, and it was a cracker. Chris Sutton’s sides weren’t renowned for fighting spirit, nor for scintillating football, but one they that game did provide us with was drama. We were 2-0 up before the hour mark, Cian Hughton (pictured top) and Delroy Facey scoring for us. After that Chesterfield went on the offensive but City clung on until the 82nd minute when Scott Boden grabbed them one back. Not long after Chesterfield got a penalty, and City were staring a draw in the face. Jack Lester skied it in front of a Stacey West end and we had something to smile about for a few days.

They’ve had a torrid start to the season and despite appointing a new manager they’ll be in for a rough ride over the coming weeks. Their awful start is typified by the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Crewe. They’ve shuffled things around, keeper Tommy Lee was dropped in favour of Joe Anyon, but it did little to arrest the slide. The 3-2 home defeat by Yeovil a fortnight ago showed their fragile defence up for what it is, and the new man has a big job to turn them around quickly.

It is a great chance for City to pick up some points too, and personally I expect nothing less than a win. Danny will be respectful about his opponents, I’m writing this before the press conference but I imagine he’ll speak of League One players, wounded animals and large support. However, with us now facing a run of games again sides around us we must be looking to press home our advantage. we’ve held firm against sides above us in the league and we must be brave enough to put demoralised teams to the sword.

Expect another bumper crowd at Sincil Bank and if you’re having an accumulator bet before the game, stick us down for all three points. If we’re going to challenge the top ten we must win games like these.

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