Chesterfield manager Paul Cook will send his troops out on to the iPro Stadium pitch believing they can beat Derby County and advance to the fifth round of the competition for only the second time in 60 years.
Saturday’s match against Derby signals the first fourth round FA Cup tie for the Spireites since that memorable run to the semi-finals in 1996/97 when they were finally knocked out by Middlesbrough in a replay.
Cook’s squad won’t include Romy Boco, who left the club in favour of playing in India, and are likely to be without the influential Gary Roberts after the midfielder suffered a hamstring injury at Swindon Town.
That defeat signalled the end to Chesterfield’s seven-game unbeaten run and a first defeat in the league since December 13 - but it is the cup that dominates the Spireites’ thoughts in an eagerly-anticipated tie.
Tickets were in hot demand after the Blues’ replay win over fellow League One side Scunthorpe United, thanks to an extra-time brace from Sam Clucas, with 5,700 sold and fans prepared to make the journey south.
Cook said: “We’re a club that’s trying to be successful. When we talk about Derby away, we go there and we want to win. We’re not in the FA Cup to get a big draw, get knocked out and have a good day out.
“By the time our lads go to Derby we will go there and believe we can win the game. Derby are a very good side but when your mentality of the club is changing, and we’re trying to keep the lads believing in that, big games are what you get used to.”
Derby escaped embarrassment in the last round when an injury-time penalty from Chris Martin was enough to see off a stubborn Southport side dreaming of a replay against Steve McClaren’s Premier League hopefuls.