Wrexham at home, with a little momentum, might finally be a fixture to excite Chesterfield fans
On Saturday Chesterfield will follow a game against a side with whom they have no history with their 114th game against Wrexham.
Regardless of AFC Fylde’s undoubted success in recent times and their position as a top National League side, it was always going to be difficult, if not impossible, for Spireites to get excited about either the Coasters’ visit to the Proact or Town’s FA Cup game at Mill Farm.
The arrival of the Dragons on Saturday is another prospect entirely.
This is a club with whom Chesterfield have almost a century of history.
The first clash between Town and their Welsh foes came in November 1921 and brought an emphatic 6-1 defeat.
Over the years Chesterfield have got the better of Wrexham more often than not.
And at home, they’ve built an impressive record, winning 35 of the 55 encounters.
Martin Allen will be aware that this is a long standing rivalry and that games like this mean a little something more to fans.
For perhaps the first time this season, there’s a chance of a genuine atmosphere – one created by two large sets of loud supporters.
Wrexham will bring with them hordes of fans, the biggest away contingent of the season so far.
At the time of writing, they’d reportedly sold several hundred tickets.
It’ll be a reminder of the Football League days, when big clubs came to the Proact.
In essence, it’s a Football League game between two clubs who shouldn’t really find themselves outside of the top four divisions.
There’s another ingredient that will add to the occasion – expectation.
Going into the last home game, against Fylde, Chesterfield were winless in 11 and fans were on the verge of revolt.
The mood, understandably, was downbeat.
Fast forward three weeks and while no one is turning cartwheels in the Proact carpark, last Saturday’s win in the FA Cup has acted like a little break in the clouds.
Footballers and managers might tell themselves not to get too high after a win or too down after a defeat, but that’s an impossibility for supporters.
Of course you’re going to go home and sulk after watching your side fail to pick up three points (yet again).
Equally, of course your hopes are going to soar and potentially set you up for a big fall after a victory.
That little voice inside Spireites will be saying things like ‘maybe this is the turning point.’
Maybe this four-game unbeaten run has stopped the rot and the points will flood in, the table will start to look more respectable.
Victory in the cup at Fylde could well put a few hundred more on the gate this weekend, because there’s that possibility of watching your team turn someone over.
If, as is perfectly reasonable, you criticise when the team fails, then you must also give credit when it is due.
This Spireites side, under Allen’s guidance, have given themselves a platform upon which a second chance could be built.
It was a great start to the season, followed by a wretched run. But they’ve not lost in four.
The football has not been great to watch but that only really becomes a major problem when a side is losing.
You’d find very few Lincoln fans moaning about ‘style’ after games the Imps have won through being direct.
Should Chesterfield elongate their unbeaten run and continue to turn things around, very few will grumble about the ball being played up to Tom Denton.
Allen has said, more than once, that it’s not his plan or his preference to only ever go long.
Zavon Hines said last week that players were taking the manager too literally – whichI took to mean ignoring better options on the field and lumping it forward, hopefully hitting the channels instead of picking out a free man with a pass.
There are times when ‘sending it’ is necessary, and in away games when you’re digging in for a point or trying to close out a win, it stands in your favour to have a targetman who will win most of the headers and keep play in the final third.
The criticism of Denton in the weeks leading up to the Halifax game, or rather right up until he scored at Halifax, has been a little over the top.
As he’s proved in the last two games, he’ll score goals if given chances.
It’s the manner in which he’s used by a team that will dictate his usefulness.
Thanks to the 0-0 draw at home to Fylde and the 3-1 win at Fylde, it can no longer be said this Chesterfield team can only get something out of games against teams in the bottom half of the table.
There’s no doubt Wrexham will provide a truly tricky test but a positive result will go some way to convincing us all that Allen has been right all along, that it’ll all be okay.