As the contest for the National League title hits fever pitch, this midweek clash is absolutely massive.
League leaders Notts County hold a two-point lead over Wrexam, but this is one of our two games in hand on The Magpies, so the stakes are incredibly high for the visit of one of our greatest rivals.
It's fair to say there's only been one game this season so far where the opposition has imposed itself on Wrexham and unquestionably deserved the three points, and that was at Chesterfield last August.
Paul Cox delved deep into his well of experience, executing a tactically astute plan which saw him gamble with a very high defensive line to reduce space in midfield. The ploy worked a treat, and first half goals by Jeff King and Ollie Banks secured a 2-0 lead which they were able to defend comfortably in the second half.
Wrexham enjoyed a 3-1 home win over Dorking Wanderers on Saturday which illustrated the strength in depth Phil Parkinson has accumulated. Sam Dalby's excellent form earned a deserved second league start of the season and he took the opportunity with both hands, scoring a fine goal and combining threateningly with Paul Mullin. Andy Cannon also got a second league start for the Red Dragons and showed his class in the middle of the pitch.
When this game was originally scheduled, in mid-December, The Spireites mwere definitely in the title race. They'd just beaten Dorking Wanderers to record a fourth win out of 5 games, and had games in hand on the top two. They still have those games in hand, but they must now look to secure a good finish for the play-offs as a tough few weeks have seen them slip to 5th place.
The Spireites were denied an outstanding FA Cup third round result by a last-gasp equaliser by WBA, but after following up their cup heroics with a home win over Altrincham they've not won in 8 games, picking up 3 points out of 24. Last Saturday they suffered a home defeat agaonst Oldham Athletic
Recent arrival Ryan Colclough told the Derbyshore Times he was confident his new club would turn things around though:
“If we knock the silly mistakes on the head then there is no reason why we can’t go on a great run between now and the end of the season.”
I just don’t think at the moment we are getting the rub of the green. We need a couple of scruffy goals.
"I am delighted with the move, the club has been great with me. It is good to be back with the gaffer and Robbo, and Webby has been great to work with as well. His (Cook) demands are very high and that is something I need to push on.”
HEAD TO HEAD
When The Spireites came to The Racecourse last season they were in superb form, and took the lead in the first half. Kabongo Tshimabga then won a penalty but saw Rob Lainton save his spot kick to keep The Red Dragons in the game. Wrexham rescued a point with a strong finish to the match, with Paul Mullin heading in the equaliser from Ben Tozer's throw. In injury time Aaron Hayden nearly snatched a winner, as he hit the bar from close range.
Chesterfield have the upper hand in the fixture, winning 54 times to Wrexham’s 40, with 29 draws. At The Racecourse it’s a different story, though, as we’ve won 28 games to Chesterfield’s 16.
In recent years our home record has deteriorated, though: since 1997 we’ve won just 4 of our 13 home matches.
Our biggest home win against The Spireites was also the first time the two sides met! In 1921, during the course of our first season in the Football League, we walloped them 6-1, with both Ted Regan and Billy Cotton scoring hat tricks.
Akil Wright scored the only goal in the 2018-19 season, when Chesterfield returned to The Racecourse for the first time since October 2007. That match ended in a 4-0 away win, The Spireites best result in North Wales.
Our most recent home win in this fixture cane in October 2019, when JJ Hooper's neat finish earned victory in the preliminary round of the FA Cup. It was the first time the sides have met in the FA Cup, as far as I'm concerned.
Billy Ashcroft and Karl Connolly have also scored hat tricks against Chesterfield, and they stand at the top of our scorers in this fixture with 8 goals apiece.