Folan fear in bid for Premier scalp No 3

CHESTERFIELD

IT'S back to Carling Cup duty for the Spireites tonight as the Premiership's bottom side, Charlton Athletic, come to a sold-out Saltergate.

Chesterfield will be looking to dispose of them to follow on from the glittering victories over Wolves, Manchester City and West Ham.

Boss Roy McFarland will be sweating on the fitness of two key men, skipper Mark Allott and leading scorer Caleb Folan.

Allott missed the last-gasp defeat at Gillingham on Saturday with a hamstring strain while eight-goal Folan was withdrawn late on at Priestfield, also with a hamstring problem.

"Allott is a doubt," said the manager.

"Caleb looks a major doubt so we're looking depleted, which is sad. We're asking young kids to do men's jobs and it's catching up with us a bit.

"We'll give the crowd everything we can, make no mistake about that, because we need to win the football match."

With striker Paul Shaw definitely out and full-backs Phil Picken and Alex Bailey also unlikely to be considered, McFarland will no doubt have to consider the likes of Gareth Davies and Shane Nicholson to play some sort of part.

Both men have suffered badly through injury for the majority of 2006, Davies with hip and pelvic problems, Nicholson with a knee complaint.

They both lack match fitness but would overcome that issue with the burning desire they both have to get back into the side on regular basis following their frustrating spells on the sidelines.

Iain Dowie's Addicks registered their first Premiership victory since August on Saturday against Manchester City, and they were temporarily off the bottom until the Blades' evening victory at Newcastle.

A Darren Bent goal was enough to see off City but it was England keeper Scott Carson who was Charlton's star man, makinga string of fine saves to keep out the visitors.

Athletic, who've seen off Carlisle United and Bolton Wanderers in their two previous Carling Cup games, both at The Valley and both by 1-0 scorelines, seem to be taking the competition seriously.

They have played full-strength teams and are likely to to the same against the Spireites.

The two sides have met in the competition once before, in 1978, when the Londoners returned from Saltergate having registered a 5-4 win in a thrilling contest.

CHESTERFIELD have been drawn at home to League Two Chester City in the Northern Quarter Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy having seen off Oldham Athletic last Wednesday.

Manager Roy McFarland's view on the draw was positive.

"We can't complain. I think it's a good draw against Chester, it gives us the advantage in terms of being at home and it's a game that everyone will be looking forward to," he said.

"I hope we get a good gate on the night as we seem to be enjoying the cup games."

One man who will be hoping to play in that and many other games is new boy Mark Hughes.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman signed on loan from Conference South side Thurrock on Friday and the ex Spurs and Oldham man is just grateful to be back with a team after leaving Boundary Park earlier this season.

"There was a big mix-up at Oldham," he revealed. "I was contracted to the end of the year but I left because I wasn't getting a game and I thought I'd walk straight back into football with another club.

"But it turned out to be a lot more complicated than that. It took a few weeks that were very stressful to say the least."

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