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Match preview: Chesterfield v York City
CHESTERFIELD old boy Craig Clay is hoping to show his former club that they made a mistake releasing him in the summer.
The 21-year-old midfielder was shown the door by Spireites chief Paul Cook at the end of last season after making 35 appearances for the club over three campaigns.
Clay has started only one of the Minstermen’s last six games – the 3-0 victory at Torquay when he deputised for a suspended Lewis Montrose – but, even if he only makes the bench again at the Proact Stadium tonight, he will be itching to be involved at some stage.
On his return to the Proact Stadium, Clay said: “All the games are as important as each other but I was there for three years and came up through the youth team so I would love to play against my old club and would love to do well.
“Whenever you get lows in football, like being released, you always want to bounce back and prove people wrong so I would like to go there as a team and get a win so I can show people I have joined a good team.
“The main thing is to try to get a win whoever is playing though and I will have to see what the manager’s decision is.
“If I’m not starting, hopefully I can come off the bench and do something.”
Chesterfield remain top of the table despite a run of four League games without a win and still boast the division’s best defensive record.
Clay admits his old club are solid in defence and also carry a threat on the flanks but believes City are capable of upsetting the bookmakers’ odds.
“They have got some good lads and I still know a lot of them,” Clay added.
“Their right-winger Tendayi (Darikwa) is a good player who I know very well and is being looked at by teams.
“They have a couple of strong centre-backs as well and are a good team but I feel we can get something from the game. I think they are the favourites to win the title but anybody can beat anybody in this League.
“We had put a good little run together before Newport and, hopefully, we can get another one going now.”
Chesterfield boast League Two’s third-highest average attendance of 6,800 behind Portsmouth (15,861) and Plymouth (7,418) but, following back-to-back defeats on their own soil to Mansfield and Burton, Clay reckons the number of home fans could prove a hindrance against the Minstermen, reasoning: “If things are going well, they get behind the team but, if we go there and put them under a bit of pressure, the crowd seem to get on their backs a little.
“Hopefully, we can make them turn against their team by starting well in the first 20 minutes.”
Clay is also hoping Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Newport was a “blip” following a run of seven League points from a possible nine with the challenge to bounce straight back against Chesterfield and fellow early pacesetters Fleetwood, who visit Bootham Crescent on Saturday.
He said: “We had our chances to go in front at Newport and, maybe if we had taken one, the game would have been different. But they scored first instead and then the momentum of the game seemed to be with them.
“We didn’t carry on from where we left off at Torquay but, hopefully, that will prove a little blip and we can pick up again in the games coming up against Chesterfield and Fleetwood when we will have nothing to lose.
“The manager always says to us ‘we are little York City climbing up the table’ and they are the favourites so the pressure is on them.
“We will be under no pressure so, hopefully, we can play some free-flowing football and see what we get out of both games.”
Armand forces bid
CHESTERFIELD could turn to 6ft 4in powerhouse striker Armand Gnanduillet as manager Paul Cook hopes to pep up his attack for the visit of York City tonight.
Former Ivory Coast Under-20 international Gnanduillet was one of the few positives from the table-toppers’ 2-0 home defeat to Burton Albion, coming on as a 58th-minute substitute to win the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award.
He replaced on-loan Sheffield United forward Chris Porter in that game and the latter could now make way for 21-year-old Gnanduillet from the start having failed to net in four outings since his switch from Bramall Lane. If picked, Gnanduillet will hope to get on the end of a supply provided by coveted winger Tendayi Darikwa.
Experienced former Northampton and Port Vale forward Marc Richards could also earn a recall after also impressing from the bench against the Brewers, but right-back Drew Talbot will be missing due to a groin strain that saw him replaced at half-time on Saturday by Jay O’Shea.
A run of one point from a possible 12, including back-to-back home defeats to Mansfield (1-0) and Burton (2-0), means Chesterfield now only head the League Two standings on goal difference from Rochdale and Exeter while Oxford, Fleetwood – next Saturday’s visitors to Bootham Crescent – and Morecambe are only a further point behind.
The only point from Chesterfield’s last four matches was picked up following a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood but, at home, goals have been in short supply at both ends of the pitch.
Prior to the visits of Mansfield and Burton, Chesterfield had won their previous five matches in front of their own fans, conceding just once in the process.
But only six sides have managed a lower return than the seven goals the Spireites have managed from six home games this term.
Former Accrington and Huddersfield winger Gary Roberts and one-time Hibernian forward Eoin Doyle are the team’s joint-top scorers with four goals apiece.
Chesterfield (probable): Lee, O’Shea, Hird, Cooper, Humphreys, Darikwa, Ryan, Morsy, Roberts, Gnanduillet, Richards.
YORK City are making their 40th Football League trip to Chesterfield – all but last season’s encounter being at the Spireites’ former Saltergate home.
In the series, City have won five times and drawn ten.
The biggest success was 3-0 in 1954/55 and the last victory was 3-1 in 1991/92. That win was the last City achieved against the Spireites.
Since then, in 14 League encounters home and away, Chesterfield have won nine times with five draws.
The corresponding fixture last term was on Boxing Day, 2012, when the Derbyshire club won 3-0. City’s line-up was: Ingham, Parslow, C Smith, Doig (Allan), Fyfield, Potts (Oyebanjo), Kerr, McLaughlin, Blair, Walker, Rodman (Reed).
Among the players who have represented both clubs are top marksmen Maurice Dando, Arthur Bottom, Kevin Randall, Keith Walwyn and Paul Barnes.
It happened on October 22
1949: Bottom of Division Three North, City recorded their first away success of the campaign when they won 3-2, with Ron Benson, Alf Patrick and Tony Collins on the scoresheet.
1966: Rowland Horrey, Dave Dunmore, Terry Spencer and Andy Provan netted in a 4-1 home win over Bradford City. The crowd for this Fourth Division match was 5,376.
1983: Second in Division Four, City dropped their first home points of the season when they were held 2-2 by Reading, watched by 4,315. Brian Pollard and Ricky Sbragia, pictured left, were the scorers.
1985: A 2-1 Third Division (League One) win over Bournemouth, with Keith Walwyn and Gary Ford the marksmen in front of 4,194.
1994: Chester City were beaten 2-0 at Bootham Crescent in Division Two (League One). The crowd was 2,820 with Jon McCarthy and Paul Barnes on the mark.
1996: In the third round of the FL (Coca Cola) Cup, Premiership Leicester City won 2-0 at Bootham Crescent watched by 8,406.
2005: A 4-0 win at Gainsborough Trinity in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, with Andy Bishop (2), Clayton Donaldson and Mark Convery the scorers.
Compiled by David Batters
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