Paul Cook has a few tricky selection decisions to make again for the game with in-form Oldham Athletic.
Last week he recalled left sider Sam Clucas in place of Jay O’Shea, who was unlucky not to start. Those two players, plus Ollie Banks and Dan Gardner, look to be battling for a single midfield spot alongside Daniel Johnson and Gary Roberts.
Roberts, who was subbed after an hour in the 3-2 defeat at Bristol City as he continues his rehabilitation after a few weeks of hamstring problems, but another week of training should see him back close to 100%.
Johnson didn’t have his best game for the club at Ashton Gate, but his performances over the last six weeks make him a shoe-in to start behind man of the moment Eoin Doyle. The keeper, back four and holding midfield pair is picking itself at the moment though it is the rearguard that’s coming under scrutiny after managing just one clean sheet to date, the 0-0 draw at Fleetwood. Since then, in league and cup, Spireites have leaked 16 goals at exactly two a game compared to 17 goals scored, 11 of them from Doyle.
Cook has cited individual errors regarding a number of the concessions, though perhaps more worrying is the amount of goals leaked from set-plays, the last five games have all featured opponents scoring from the first or second phase of free-kicks or corners.
Right back Tendayi Darikwa says the quality at League One level is challenging: “There’s a big difference, a lot of teams came to play us with 11 men behind the ball, but now teams are trying to come on to us. The way we play and passing the ball forwards will cause a lot of teams problems and we’ll score a lot of goals.”
He added: “We’re not getting too ahead of ourselves but at the start of the season we were confident that we could come into this league and surprise people. If we reach our level of expectations then we can do well.”