Spireites duo pushing for starting spot against Derby County

MK Dons vs Chesterfield - Paul Cook encouraging his players- Pic By James Williamson
MK Dons vs Chesterfield - Paul Cook encouraging his players- Pic By James Williamson

Jay O’Shea and Dan Gardner will be hopeful of filling the void in Chesterfield’s midfield, after the departure of Romy Boco and injury to Gary Roberts.

Both Gardner and O’Shea came off the bench with ten minutes to play on Saturday against League One leaders Swindon Town and are pushing for a starting place.

Boco didn’t feature at the County Ground and his exit was confirmed earlier this week while Roberts was ruled out with injury for up to six weeks yesterday.

Whoever Spireites boss Paul Cook calls upon for the club’s first trip south to Derby in nearly 30 years will be part of a side backed by 5,700 supporters.

It may only be the fourth round of the FA Cup but it will be Chesterfield’s sixth appearance after an enforced rematch and then replay in rounds two and three.

The tie will also be the Spireites’ fifth away match in the competition this campaign - yet their ticket allocation at the iPro rapidly sold out in days.

The Spireites’ persistence has paid off so far in the cup run and they will be hopeful of upsetting the odds against Steve McClaren’s Derby of the Championship.

Latest odds on SkyBet had Derby heavy favourites at 4/7, a draw 16/5 and a Chesterfield win at 9/2 at full time, while Spireites to qualify was 5/2 and Rams 2/7 on.

Blues boss Cook has tasted cup victory at the iPro Stadium, then Pride Park, when playing for Burnley against Derby in December 1999.

Division Two Burnley caused a shock in the third round against a Derby side then of the Premier League. Andy Cooke with the goal on 62 minutes.

Chesterfield needed extra-time in a replay to overcome Scunthorpe United in the last round while Derby were just moments away from making a trip to Southport.

McClaren’s men were frustrated by the Conference side but were saved any embarrassment thanks to an injury-time penalty by top scorer Chris Martin.

It was a much-changed Rams team that took to the field on that day, to the one that beat Leeds United so convincingly, but they failed to find a way through.

Derby dominated possession - 64 per cent to the visitors 36 - but could only muster a handful of efforts on target against a dogged Southport performance.

“They came here and frustrated us, did their job, defended heroically, played when they could and their keeper was magnificent,” said a relieved McClaren.

He will be without the experienced John Eustace for this Saturday’s cup tie after the 35-year-old had surgery to repair cartilage damage last week.

Omar Mascarell filled in against rivals Nottingham Forest which saw Jeff Hendrick replace Will Hughes, who picked up a knock and is hopeful of a return.

New recruits Stephen Warnock and Raul Albentosa could be in line for their first appearances in a Derby shirt, but Jordan Ibe has been recalled by parent club Liverpool.