Chesterfield v Bradford City on Saturday is a huge, and somewhat unexpected, encounter for Paul Cook’s side.
February’s defeats against Rotherham and Gillingham followed by a draw with Aldershot left Spireites in 14th spot, 11 points off the play-offs with 12 games remaining.
Three wins in the next four games revived hope, but then a loss at Torquay left them in 12th; eight points adrift. Seven points from three games subsequently came along and with Exeter plummeting, all of a sudden, that seventh and final play-off spot looks a decent outside bet. Standing in their way now, a resurgent Bradford, with just one loss in 11 since their 5-0 defeat in the Capital One Cup Final. Tuesday’s 4-1 win over fellow form team Bristol Rovers has lifted the Bantams to pole position in the scrap for the final season extending spot and, at this moment, it looks like a straight shoot-out between them and Chesterfield.
That all means that Saturday’s game is vital, with a home win the only result that will satisfy Chesterfield connections, City would take a draw.
Cook will be hoping that relations with Richard Brindley and Armand Gnanduillet have healed sufficiently after they were left out of the squad for the winning trip to Barnet after some seemingly last minute agent activity regarding new contract offers.
With striker Marc Richards (ankle) unlikely to be fit, Cook will want Brindley available at right-back to allow Drew Talbot to pursue a more attacking option whilst Gnanduillet’s unpredictability will be vital if Phil Parkinson’s form side are to be seriously challenged.
All in all, a more than intriguing fixture.