Spireites’ boss Paul Cook will be looking to the FA Cup to help reignite his off-form team.
Six games without a win with just two points picked up in that time has put Chesterfield six points off the play-off zone and five ahead of the relegation zone, making the next few games in League One crucial in the shaping of the season as a whole.
Cup hosts Braintree Town are likewise five points ahead of the Conference drop-zone after their own disappointing run.
Manager Alan Devonshire, who provided the cross for Trevor Brooking’s header to win the 1980 FA Cup Final for West Ham against Arsenal, has seen The Iron fail to win in their last eight Conference games, though they did beat Weymouth, two levels below the Essex club, in a replay to make the first round.
Assisted by ex-Spireite Keith Rowland they are in their fourth season in the fifth tier and they’ll be hoping for a big crowd for Sunday’s game. Cook knows the game will be awkward but even an out of sorts Spireites should have enough. Twice in the last 50 years have Chesterfield lost on non-league soil, in 1977 against a Blyth Spartans side that memorably made it through to the fifth round whilst the controversial twice abandoned tie against Droylsden in 2009 saw Lee Richardson’s side lose the replay at the Butchers’ Arms only to be let through to play Ipswich Town in the 3rd round after Sean Newton, who’d scored both goals in the Bloods’ 2-1 win, was found to have been ineligible.