Tim Stoodley looks ahead to Tuesday night's trip to Chesterfield.
Peterborough United head to Derbyshire this Tuesday night for a 7.45pm clash with relegation-threatened Chesterfield, in a Sky Bet League One encounter, with Posh keen to bounce back after three defeats on the spin.
They face The Spireites at a time when both teams are low on confidence and struggling with form. Posh, with just nine points from the last 30 available, acome up against a side who have one win in ten, are scrapping for their League One status, and currently sit eight points from safety, with just nine games left to play. They picked up a well-earnt point at home to Shrewsbury on Saturday, but head into this one without a win at home since January 14th. Only two teams have conceded more than The Spireites this campaign, and up the attacking end the stats don’t make for better reading – they are the division’s third-lowest scorers, averaging less than a goal a game.
Experienced front-man Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is one name that will be familiar to Poshies. The Cambridge-born striker has a wealth of experience playing for Wolves and Plymouth, before he joined his current outfit. Ebanks-Blake actually joined the club on a free in 2015, and has been out on loan at Shrewsbury for a chunk of his time at Chesterfield. Since returning to the club in January he’s been a constant in the team and although he is yet to score, he is someone who can turn a game, owing to his natural heading and finishing ability.
There’s a creative outlet in the form of defender-midfielder, Welsh wizard Dion Donohue, who is joint top assist maker at the club. He’s a left back, who can be played out in the middle of the park if needed and is known for his work rate and passing ability. He’s featured for The Spireites more than any other player this season and is likely to be the first name on gaffer Gary Caldwell’s team sheet on Tuesday evening.
There’s a new man in between the sticks at The Spireites, German Thorsten Stuckmann was a free signing in February this year and was brought in as Caldwell looked too sure up the defensive options. Stuckmann was playing for Patrick Thistle, but has also had spells before in England, with Preston North End and Doncaster Rovers. He’s a very experienced head at 35 and has brilliant handling skills. He’s one of 13 non-English players in the Chesterfield ranks, a stat that can only be topped by 15 at Port Vale.
Manager Gary Caldwell is a relative newbie to the Chesterfield scene. Tuesday night will be just his tenth game at the club after he joined from Wigan Athletic, in an attempt to avoid relegation. Since joining he’s experienced winning just once, which gives him a worrying win rate of just 11%. When combined with his 71 games at Wigan, his success rate is a more amicable 37%. By contrast, Grant McCann is currently operating at a win rate of 42%, from 49 games in charge. Tuesday will be his half-century at the club.
The man in charge of this clash will be Sebastian Stockbridge from Tyne. He’s officiated 32 games this season, dishing out 130 yellows. That’s an average of 4-a-game. He’s also sent off a league-one high of seven players. We’ve had Mr Stockbridge in charge of us twice this campaign, and neither time have we had a result. He first took the helm as we suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Oxford in August. Jack Baldwin seeing red that day – he then took charge of our game against Bury as recently as January. We were smashed 5-1 on that occasion. He has also officiated The Spireites twice, with one defeat and one win.
Posh had it all their own way in the reverse of this tie. A comfortable 5-2 was the score line as we grabbed the three points back in December. A Tom Nichols brace was added to by Gwion Edwards, Paul Taylor and Michael Bostwick. Overall and Chesterfield do actually have the better record against ‘Boro. This will be the clubs 50th meeting and in the previous 49, Chesterfield has won 19 times to Peterborough’s 17. You have to go back to 2014 though for the last time The Spireites beat Posh. That was a 3-2 win in League One. Of course also in 2014 Posh claimed their most recent piece of silverware with a Football League Trophy victory at Wembley over the Derbyshire-based outfit.
Leo Da Silva Lopes will be suspended for this game after picking up two yellow’s in Saturday’s game. Marcus Maddison is likely to miss out with an ankle issue, while Jermaine Anderson and Gwion Edwards also miss out on the recovery table. McCann has stated he’s looking for a solid starting 11 to finish the season, and with players told to ‘play for their futures’ we await to see the gaffers selection.
The Proact Stadium is just 6 years old and contains all the bonuses you’d expect with a new ground. Good leg room is the main selling point, along with undisturbed viewing close to the pitch. Poshies will be located in one end of the ground, in the Rubicon Print Stand. The roof of the stand is quite low which aids to great acoustics, meaning a relatively small number of people can make a lot of noise! The ground itself, like many new-builds, is actually located outside of the town centre. Meaning there is a bit of a walk (20-30 minutes) from Chesterfield train station. The other option is jump in a taxi, as there is a rank right outside the Proact. The club also provide a shuttle bus from the stadium to the town centre and vice versa. This runs every 10 minutes and comes with a £1 fare. If arriving by car, then note that there is limited street parking nearby. You must avoid parking in the nearby Tesco store though as they do patrol and do tow away cars during the game.
If you fancy a cheeky one before the game then your best option is the Spireite Pub, which is just across Sheffield Road. This has recently been refurbished and has six real ales on tap. Alternatively there is the Derby Tup, further up Sheffield Road. This also takes you past a handy chip shop and Chinese complex. Alcohol is served inside the ground. Draught Carling will cost £3.60, Magners Cider £3.60 and a bottle of Bud £3.60. Wine is also available at £3.60 a glass. Food wise there’s Jackson Pies on offer. A peppered steak and Brampton ale will set you back £3, while the usual cheeseburgers, hot dogs and sausage rolls are also available.
The key figures: League positions; Chesterfield – 23rd Peterborough United - 12th
Last five; Chesterfield - DLWLD Peterborough United - LWLLL
Previous meeting; 10/12/2016 (Sky Bet League One) - Peterborough United 5-2 Chesterfield
Average attendances (2015/16); Chesterfield – 6,676 Peterborough United - 5,447
Top Scorer (league); Chesterfield – Ched Evans & Kristian Dennis (5) Peterborough United - Tom Nichols (9)
Interesting fact: Chesterfield gets their nickname from a world famous landmark, the crooked spire that rises to a height of 70m (228’) above the ground and leans 2.89m (9’ 6”) to the south-west. The spiral twist at the base is about 45° from west to east.
Tickets can be purchased on-the-day for this game, with no price increase. Note though that there is no cash accepted on the turnstiles, so allow time to buy your tickets from the ticket office at the Proact Stadium. Ticket prices are as follows; Adults £20, seniors 65+ £13, under 21’s £13 and under 17’s £1. Coach travel is also available. Tickets are on sale at www.theposhtickets.com, via the Ticketmaster hotline 0844 847 1934* and in person at the ABAX Stadium Box Office.
*calls cost 7ppm plus your network access fee.