Spireites hope to kick-start season against minnows

Ian Evatt battles for possesion with MK Dons Antony Kay
Ian Evatt battles for possesion with MK Dons Antony Kay

Spireites are preparing for a trip into the unknown.

Sunday’s cup hosts, Vanarama Conference club Braintree Town, have never locked horns with Chesterfield before and reaching the FA Cup first round proper matches their best ever run in the World’s oldest football cup competition.

Alan Devonshire’s side, who lost 1-0 at home to Grimsby Town on Tuesday, a game watched by Spireites’ boss Paul Cook, sit in 15th spot in the Conference without a league win since mid-September.

Last season at this stage a Cressing Road crowd of 1004 saw them hold League Two newcomers Newport County to a 1-1 draw before losing the replay in South Wales 1-0.

Chesterfield’s last win, their early October 3-2 victory over Sheffield United, seems a long time ago; two points from six games since then, coupled with a loss of the free-flowing football witnessed at the start of the season in the most recent four games has left Spireites in the ‘desperate for a win’ category going into Sunday’s 2pm kick-off game.

Cook will be without Georg Margreitter, Ian Evatt will return from suspension to take his place, whilst midfield supremo Gary Roberts (hamstring) could be back. Drew Talbot and Sam Hird, though progressing, remain absent whilst Armand Gnanduillet is on loan at Tranmere Rovers.

Jimmy Ryan will be hoping for a recall after a rare substitute appearance in the goalless draw at home to Yeovil Town with on loan from Huddersfield Town Oscar Gobern a possible man to miss out.

Jay O’Shea and Romy Boco will be also hoping for recalls as Cook seeks to re-kindle the winning habit. Dan Gardner and Ollie Banks could be under pressure having started last weekend. Gobern, Gardner and Banks were the three men subbed last week at the Proact.

Eoin Doyle, fully recovered from flu, which hampered his performance against the Hatters, will be desperate to return to scoring form after five straight blanks.

The 15 goal leading scorer last found the target in the 3-2 last gasp defeat at leaders Bristol City, a game that, in retrospect, seems to have damaged Spireites confidence significantly.