Wrexham v Chesterfield: Everything you need to know about the Red Dragons ahead of Tuesday's clash

Chesterfield travel to Wrexham on Tuesday night aiming to make it back-to-back away wins in the National League for the first time this season.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 9:56 am
Dean Keates is back at Wrexham for his second spell as manager.

The Spireites are currently third bottom with just three wins so far this campaign.

But Town won 3-1 on their travels last time out at AFC Fylde and can climb out of the drop zone and above Wrexham with a win at the Racecourse Ground.

Like Chesterfield, the Red Dragons were tipped to be challenging for promotion, but they find themselves in 20th position and manager Dean Keates returned to the club on October 6 following the departure of Bryan Hughes.

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Journalist Rob Griffiths, who covers Wrexham for the Daily Post, gives his take on the Red Dragons...

How would you assess Wrexham’s season so far?

Poor. Very, very poor.

Wrexham started the season among the favourites for the title, they had a promising summer of recruitment, keeping the spine of the side that reached the play-offs last season and adding quality to the forward line - an area which had needed addressing for some time.

In spells Wrexham have looked very good, but they have not reached anywhere near the levels of consistency required, while they have also been guilty of giving away cheap costly goals.

Why do you think it did not work out for previous manager Bryan Hughes?

Difficult to say really. His summer recruitment was hailed by most as a success, yet Wrexham simply haven’t performed anywhere near the potential they are capable.

A key factor has been the loss of Rob Lainton. The goalkeeper was last season’s player of the year, but returned to pre-season with an injury and only made his first start of the season on Saturday against St Mirren Colts in the SPFL Challenge Cup. Christian Dibble stepped up in his absence, but has been guilty of a number of poor errors that have proved costly.

Hughes was also without JJ Hooper for a number of games, the striker going down with a hip injury on August Bank Holiday Monday at Hartlepool and suffering a set back in his rehab last week.

Hooper is a key player for the Dragons, giving them the ability to play an intricate passing style and a long ball game, plus he is also a real goal threat too.

What can you tell you us about new manager Dean Keates and how have the fans reacted to his appointment?

Mixed is perhaps the best description.

When Keates left to join Walsall in March 2018, the wheels well and truly fell off the season, Wrexham going from a firm play-off contender to missing out completely and eventually finishing in 10th.

A huge number of fans have yet to forgive the former Wrexham captain for his departure, and many were very outspoken on social media platforms before, and indeed after, his appointment.

He was given a rousing reception on Tuesday night before the visit of Harrogate, but the general feeling is that he won’t be granted the same length of grace period as another manager might have had.

During his first stint at the helm, he steadied the ship after Gary Mills’ sacking and the following season turned them into genuine contenders.

Keates built from the back, building a defence that simply did not concede, yet he was often criticised for a lack of a goal threat.

He has inherited a better squad of players second time around, and one with a greater attacking impetus. However, the manager has admitted that the priority for him is to shore up the defence and stop them conceding first and foremost.

What can Chesterfield fans expect from Wrexham in terms of style of play?

Hopefully a much more solid and stable looking side.

If Tuesday is anything to go by then it will likely be a diamond midfield, which while it doesn’t given the Dragons much width, it allows them to look a lot more solid at the back and have a more direct style.

Keates likes his sides to pass the ball quickly, but also press high up the park. If nothing else Chesterfield can expect a side full of running and work-rate under Keates.

Who are the key men for Wrexham that Chesterfield need to watch out for?

Bobby Grant is the leading scorer for the season so far with six, and is always likely to pop up with a goal.

Any quirky stories out of the club this season?

I’m not sure if this is perhaps quirky, but Wrexham’s involvement in the SPFL Challenge Cup is certainly a strange occurrence.

Wrexham and Solihull Moors were both nominated to represent the National League in this season’s Scottish cup competition after the finished last season as the highest placed National League sides who did not earn promotion.

I suppose the quirk comes in that Wrexham, as a Welsh club are representing an English league in a Scottish Cup.