There are few fixtures in the National League more alluring than Wrexham v Chesterfield, and this chapter of the rivalry is timed to perfection.
With the promotion race remarkably close, both sides desperately need a positive result. The Spireites are 6 points ahead, but Wrexham have a game in hand and our terrific away record has seen us accumulate 9 wins on the road - 8 of which have come in the last 12 games. Chesterfield, meanwhile, are going through a period of turmoil, with an unexpected change of manager followed by serious injuries to key players as they lost their top spot in the league.
Most shockingly, the National League's top scorer, Kabongo Tshimanga, who has scored 24 goals in 27 league games this season, is facing a long lay-off after breaking his leg at Weymouth. Of course, Wrexham's top scorer will also be missing as Paul Mullin is serving the last match of his suspension.
Mullin scored a late equaliser when the sides met earlier in the season, latching onto a Ben Tozer throw after Chesterfield put on the best performance against Wrexham this season. Wrexham were grateful to Rob Lainton for keeping them in the game by saving a Tshimanga penalty.
This is the second in a massive sequence of four testing home games for The Spireites, and it started badly with a 3-2 loss to Solihull Moors last Saturday. They raced into a 2-0 lead but within two minutes Curtis Weston was sent off and the game turned dramatically. A late challenge on Jak McCourt, which remarkably was not even considered to be a foul by the referee, led to him leaving the game on a stretcher as the home side had to finish with 9 men. Weston wil join Jeff King on the sidelines on Tuesday as both are suspended.
WREXHAM'S RECORD V CHESTERFIELD
Wrexham have a remarkably unfortunate habit of conceding decisive late goals at Chesterfield since their rivalry renewed in the National League: in each of our three league games at The Technique Stadium we've been denied late on.
Akwasi Asante scored both goals last season as The Spireites won 2-1. He struck after just 8 minutes, but Luke Young equalised from the spot. However, in the 89th minute Wrexham lost the ball in midfield and Asante swept in to grab the winner.
While Wrexham couldn't really complain about that 2-1 defeat, our late loss the season before was particularly bitter. We outplayed the Spireites and led twice, first through an own goal and then Jordan Ponticelli, but they came back to clinch the win in the 94th minute as Weston's shot crashed into the underside of the bar and dropped down just over the line.
We’d already played an FA Cup tie at Chesterfield earlier in the campaign, drawing thanks to a Bobby Grant goal and then going through thanks to a JJ Hooper winner in the replay.
Our first match against Chesterfield in the National League looked to be heading our way as Brad Walker's frst half penalty meant we were in the lead as the game went into added time. However, despite being n control for much of the game, Sam Ricketts' side had been forced to defend their slender lead desperately in the closing stages, and paid the price when they conceded a 91st minute equaliser.
Our biggest away win over Chesterfield was in September 1976, when Billy Ashcroft hit four goals in a 6-0 win. His feat was matched in January 2005, when Juan Ugarte hit all our goals in a 4-2 win.
Ashcroft and Karl Connolly are our top scorers against Chesterfield with 8 goals apiece.
Callum McFadzean's 225th career appearance.
Jordan Davies' 75th league appearance.
Reece Hall-Johnson's 50th league appearance for Wrexham.