We look ahead to the weekend's fixture...CHESTERFIELD v GILLINGHAM
npower League Two
Saturday February 23 2013
Danny Kedwell could make a surprise return to the first team squad as he continues to recover from a torn hamstring, although a starting position seems unlikely. Charlie Allen however will definitely miss out as he hasn’t yet recovered from the broken hand he sustained against York a couple of weeks ago.
Andy Frampton, who was substituted during last week’s win against Dagenham, picked up a minor knock and his fitness may be left until the last minute.
Adam Birchall and Bradley Dack could force their way in to first team plans after convincing displays during the development game against Dagenham & Redbridge earlier in the week.
As for Chesterfield, their skipper Sam Hird (defender) will miss the match through suspension having picked up his tenth yellow card of the season against Rotherham last Saturday.
Tendayi Darikwa has undergone a hernia operation and could be available for selection having missed last week’s trip to New York Stadium.
THE SEASON SO FAR…
Chesterfield welcome the Gills to the Proact Stadium currently sitting 12th in the League Two table having picked up 43 points (11 wins, 10 draws and 11 defeats) from their 32 games.
They have a sound home record having won seven and drawn four of their 16 matches. Only Barnet (1-0), Dagenham (2-1), Fleetwood (2-1) and Southend (1-0) have returned home with all three points.
In their last ten fixtures Chesterfield have won three, drawn two and lost five – their last result being a 1-0 defeat to Rotherham at New York Stadium.
As for their progress in cup competitions the Spireites were eliminated in the first round of the Capital One Cup after a 2-1 home defeat to Tranmere after extra-time.
Tranmere were Chesterfield’s nemesis in the FA Cup too, this time in the second round after Lee Cook’s side had convincingly beaten Hartlepool 6-1 at the first hurdle.
In the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy they again got to the second round, before losing 1-0 to Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Deon Burton’s match-winning penalty against Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday took him on to 11 goals for the season and moved him to within one goal of strike partner Danny Kedwell.
When central defender Leon Legge fired the opener in the same game he became the 19th different Gills player to find the net this season.
Veteran striker Jack Lester, now 37, leads the Chesterfield scoring chart with nine goals with former Port Vale marksman Marc Richards following behind with six.
Both Tendayi Darikwa and Jay O’Shea have netted four goals apiece while midfielder Chris Atkinson had added five goals during his loan spell with the Spireites from Huddersfield Town earlier in the season.
EARLIER THIS SEASON…
Back in early September Chesterfield, then under Tommy Wright and Mark Crossley in a caretaker capacity, became the first side to take a point off the Gills in league action this season following a 1-1 draw at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
The Spireites went in front in the 13th minute when Craig Westcarr, who was later sent-off for a second bookable offence, converted Terrell Forbes cross.
Just eight minutes later the Gills equalised when Danny Kedwell rose to meet a Myles Weston cross from the left and beat Tommy Lee with a far-post header, despite the keeper’s valiant attempt to claw the ball away.
Gillingham hadn’t been at their best but the point gained took them to the top of the League Two table for the first time.
Gills: Nelson, Fish, Martin, Flanagan, Whelpdale (Allen 62), C.Lee, Kedwell (Birchall 78), Montrose (Payne 31), Burton, Weston, Barrett.
Unused subs: Strevens, Frampton, Davies, Forecast
Chesterfield: T.Lee, Forbes, Trotman, Hird, Ridehalgh, Talbot, Allott (Clay 72, Randall 78), Togwell, Whitaker, Richards (Lester 90), Westcarr.
Unused subs: O’Donnell, Boden, Hazel, Darikwa
Chesterfield: WLDWL (7 points)
Gills: WLWDW (10 points)
There have been 63 previous meetings between the two sides with the Gills, having won 28 and drawn 15 of these, holding the upper hand. The games date back to the 1961-62 season when both team’s won their home fixture.
On September 9 goals from Dennis Hunt and Peter Godfrey weren’t enough as the Gills lost 3-2 at Saltergate. However four months later braces from Charlie Livesey and Ronnie Waldock were added to by a Harry Hughes penalty as Harry Barratt’s Gillingham ran out 5-1 winners.
No meetings will pass without mention of the 1987-88 campaign when the Gills did an amazing double over the Spireites.
In September Keith Peacock’s side hammered ten unanswered goals past a shell-shocked Jim Brown in the Chesterfield net with Howard Pritchard, Dave Shearer, George Shipley and Karl Elsey all netting twice while David Smith and Colin Greenall also hit the target.
Then in the February return striker Steve Lovell, who had not found the net in the first game, hit a hat-trick in a 4-1 away win, with a Les Hunter own goal completing the rout.
It has to be said though that for many years afterwards the Derbyshire club held a voodoo over the Gills with five wins and two draws in the next eight games at Priestfield.
Referee: Robert Madley
Assistants: Richard Bartlett & Glen Hart
Fourth Official: Andrew Hutchinson
The West Yorkshire official has taken charge of 25 games previously this season in which he has issued 69 yellow and four red cards.
His last Gillingham game was back in September 2010 when he refereed a 2-0 home win against Shrewsbury Town.