Friday, 23 September 2011

Remember the last time Chesterfield came to The Valley?

We have to go all the way back to 1980 to find a league fixture between Charlton and Chesterfield at The Valley. Charlton ran out one nil winners on the day, but it was during a time where the club went through four managers in a two and half year period before Lennie Lawrence was finally brought in to steady the ship.

Charlton achieved promotion in the 1980-81 season by finishing third in the division under manager Mike Bailey, with legend Derek Hales scoring 41 goals. No play-offs were required as those were the days when it was three up, three down. Bailey quit the club soon after when he was offered the Brighton job.

More recently the two clubs met in a League Cup clash at Saltergate (the Spirites former home). The game was level at 3-3 after extra time with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (2) and Darren Bent (1) grabbing the goals. Charlton won the resulting penalty shoot-out with Hermann Hreidarsson netting the winning spot kick.

History lesson over, and although the information is interesting it probably has no bearing on where both teams are at this point in time. Chesterfield are unbeaten in their last four games and in fact have won their last three on the bounce. After winning League Two last season the Spirites have stuck to their game of playing some nice passing football and it seems to be paying off for them.

Leon Clarke, will be Chesterfields main threat and man to watch. Clarke signed on a three month loan deal from Swindon after he spectacularly fell out with Swindon boss and former Addick, Paolo Di Canio. Since his switch however Clarke has scored five goals in three games, including a hat-trick against Carlisle last weekend.

Charlton could be missing Danny Hollands from the line-up after his wife gave birth to three baby girls this week, so congratulations to him, but we might miss his contribution if he isn't available. It's likely that Andy Hughes will be brought in to deputise, but there was also disappointment for another midfielder - Bradley Pritchard who picked up a metatarsal injury which could keep him out for up to six weeks.

As I've mentioned in previous entries our home performances have been lacking when compared to our away form. That said we have had the trickier games at home, but this is a tie that we should win on paper, though Chesterfield will have their tails up and will be looking to make life difficult for us.

The club has generously offered all tickets for this weekends game for a fiver, so I'm hoping for a large crowd and a good atmosphere. I've managed to rope my brother into coming along (a West Ham fan) and it will be the first time we've ever been to a football match together, and with both of us now being in our forties and football mad for our entire lives, it's long overdue.

In last seasons 'Football for a Fiver' fixture we played Exeter City. There were some 24, 000 fans in the stadium that saw us lose 3-1. Let's hope there isn't a repeat tomorrow.

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