Chesterfield manager Paul Cook has backed Southend United to achieve promotion to League One ahead of his side’s trip to Roots Hall.
Saturday’s meeting between the two clubs will be the third time they have locked horns this season, with each side having won one of the previous two games.
The Spireites edged the reverse league fixture back in August but Phil Brown’s Shrimpers levelled the scores when they knocked Cook’s men out of the FA Cup in December.
And the Chesterfield boss said the 3-1 defeat, which saw ex-Spireite Kevan Hurst seal the win for Southend five minutes from time, was a fair reflection on the game.
Cook said: “Our game on Saturday is the biggest game in the league bar none. It’s a good game with two good teams.
“Phil’s got them very well organised, you can see how much their lads are enjoying what they are doing, they play off of the front foot and are a threat.
“In my opinion they will be one of the teams that will definitely be promoted, they are that strong. But we’re happy with what we’re doing.
“Southend came to beat us here in December and they did fair and square. They were better than us on the day. They’re probably the only team to have come here and do that to us.”
Chesterfield go into the game full of confidence following a convincing 4-0 win over Bury at the Proact Stadium last weekend, in a performance Cook said ‘ticked all the boxes’.
Defensive duo Sam Hird and club captain Ian Evatt were suspended for that game but are back in contention for the trip to Southend, which has given the manager some tough decisions to make.
“It’s what managers get paid for,” he said. “I made my decision very quickly. Football is about your squad and it always will be.
“I think with a fully fit squad we will get to where we want to be. It’s easy for me to say that after the Bury game but I was saying that before and I’ve still got great belief in that dressing room.
He added: “We’re playing for three points. We played really well last Saturday, we’ve had another week’s training under our belts and we’re looking forward to it.”