Paul Cook is taking a team to win at Bramall Lane tomorrow.
The Spireites’ boss says he’ll select the strongest 11 available to him for the game. Only Drew Talbot (hamstring) is unavailable though he has no back-up keeper after Jon Flatt returned to Wolves, so Tommy Lee is set to see the league season out as an ever-present, as is right back Tendayi Darikwa, who will become the first outfield ever present for close on 20 years.
Cook said: “With 4,000 plus supporters travelling on Sunday, they don’t just want a day out, they want to see their team do their best and give everything to get a win and finish above Sheffield United. At the start of the season most fans would have been delighted with the prospect of finishing above them.”
The boss is also sure there may be some twists and turns yet in the season; “Preston have been on a remarkable run of 18 or 19 unbeaten games but MK Dons are flying and could well make second place. Mark Cooper has been able to prepare for the play-offs for a few games now so you don’t know what Swindon are going to this weekend, the same as with Nigel Clough, who’s got a good squad to choose from and he’s earned the right to approach this game in whatever way he wants to, but we want to win.”
Cook will select a 4-2-3-1 formation for the match. The back four of Darikwa, Sam Hird, Ian Evatt and Dan Jones looks nailed on, as does the holding duo of Sam Morsy and Jimmy Ryan. Ahead of them Gary Roberts and Jay O’Shea are sure to be in the eleven as is striker Sam Clucas, leaving Gboly Ariyibi, Ritchie Humphreys and last week’s choice Dan Gardner to battled for the final spot in the team.
Gardner looks the favourite but, depending on exactly how Cook wants to approach the game, the other two will clearly be in his thoughts. Tickets are selling well for Spireites home play-off leg despite the opponents being any one of three clubs and Cook has allowed himself to ‘dream’ of another Wembley appearance and a re-match against the Blades.