CHESTERFIELD: Midfield quandary for Spireites

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SPIREITES take on Paul Sturrock’s in-form Southend tonight.

Sturrock, the ex-Sheffield Wednesday boss, won November’s Manager of the Month award and his side are now unbeaten in 12 games.

However Paul Cook’s Chesterfield are in decent nick themselves with four wins and a draw in their last five games in League Two.

Cook is unlikely to change his defence. Goalkeeper Tommy Lee will again have Sam Hird and Liam Cooper directly in front of him. Drew Talbot and the man in the form of his life, Nathan Smith, will flank them.

There’s no doubt that Marc Richards will be the lone striker as favoured by Cook, but his midfield selection poses a few problems.

Mark Randall and ever present Sam Togwell will play centrally but the three more attacking players will have the manager mulling over his options. Jay O’Shea is quite likely to be the most attacking midfielder and Tendayi Darikwa will be disappointed to miss out on the right.

But the final berth has Brennan Dickenson, Danny Whitaker, Conor Townsend, Craig Clay and Luis Boa Morte all fighting it out.

Dickenson is currently the holder of the shirt, and Cook doesn’t give them away lightly. The Brighton wideman was withdrawn with 20 plus minutes left against Burton and the side stepped up a gear after he’d departed from the action.

Boa Morte pulled up lame in the warm up last Saturday and he could be in with a shout, but if considered fit, he may not be risked from the start.

Clay and Townsend will be considered if Cook feels he’ll need to put out a more defence minded side. Townsend is usually a left-back but he put in a cameo last time out on the left of midfield and he could be asked to reprise that role.

Whitaker has been unlucky of late, when called upon he’s performed well, and he may well be prodding his boss indicating the massive role he played the last time Chesterfield went to Southend, and won 3-2 in the 2010-11 Championship season.