Gary Johnson takes full charge for the first time this evening and there’s no tougher place for him to start than with an away game at runaway leaders Chesterfield at the B2 Net Stadium. Johnson’s team selection will be the first thing to analyse as things get under way and we’ll see if there’s any significant changes to his thoughts from the side that were beaten by Shrewsbury, one picked by Malcolm Crosby.
One man pretty certain of his place will be Michael Jacobs who scored those two stunning goals at the weekend as the Cobblers twice took the lead at Sixfields only to lose 3-2. Billy McKay dislocated his elbow on Saturday so could be missing for several weeks while Leon McKenzie still doesn’t appear to be ready to return from his knee injury. That could mean Andy Holt filling in up front again unless Johnson has any new ideas regarding the now thin attacking options.
The three new signings that arrived yesterday, Steve Collis, Jamie Reckord and Nana Ofori-Twumasi, should all be available to play
League leaders Chesterfield stretched their advantage to eleven points with a big win at Cheltenham on Saturday and Craig Davies is still firing the goals in for the Spireites to lift them close to promotion. The lead at this point in the season is surely unassailable and the jittery spell in January is now all forgotten as they look to take another giant leap towards League One tonight.
Jack Lester should return to the starting line-up for the home side with boss John Sheridan’s policy of playing him in every home game likely to come into effect once more. Meanwhile Ian Breckin, who has missed his side’s last two games, could return from illness.
So a big night for the new boss to get to grips with and though there’s no real pressure to get a result we all desperately want to see us get back on the winning road. If we can do it tonight it will be a signal of real intent.
Elsewhere in League Two this evening…
If the Cobblers can get anything at Chesterfield, Bury are lurking and in terrific form with Ryan Lowe looking for a tenth goal in successive games for the Shakers. They take on Morecambe who have picked up fine wins over Chesterfield and Southend in the last two games. Wycombe slipped to third at the weekend so will be looking for all three points at Barnet who are looking increasingly doomed despite a good draw at Rotherham last time out.
Rotherham need a response from that one but face a tough trip to Bradford who will be desperate to impress new boss Peter Jackson in his first home game in charge. Fifth plays sixth with Shrewsbury hosting Port Vale and Southend are at home to the team they’re chasing in the final playoff place, Gillingham.
Stockport, off the back of a good win over Oxford at the weekend, go to Accrington still hoping for a miracle escape despite having played a lot more games than most with Burton Albion looking to pull away again with a home game against Lincoln City. Macclesfield Town still need to win their games in hand to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap and they welcome free scoring Crewe to Moss Rose in the hope of doing just that.
Elsewhere, Stevenage and Hereford both hope to bounce back from defeats on Saturday as they clash at Broadhall Way and Torquay travel to Aldershot with their eyes also firmly on the playoff places.