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Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Inside Line: Bristol City v Chesterfield

After clinching the Sky Bet League Two title on the final day of last season, many felt optimistic that the team could step up to the demands of performing in a higher division. So far, every single member of the Chesterfield squad has acquitted themselves well enough to reassure supporters that they can handle this particular task. 

However, in any walk of life you’ll undoubtedly encounter the odd pessimist and it’s no different at the Proact Stadium. During the Summer, there were huge calls for a new striker and more importantly, a proven goalscorer whose goals would fire the Spireites to a new level. 

Now, that’s all changed as Eoin Doyle has come alive in the knowledge of being the first-choice forward at the club following the departure of Marc Richards to Northampton Town. 

Nobody can complain with the more than impressive return of 12 league goals from just ten appearances. To be perfectly honest, without the Irishman’s ability in front of goal Chesterfield would without doubt be languishing in the bottom half of the table. Instead, occupying sixth place is extremely pleasing for any Spireite. 

During the last campaign, a reliance on goals from midfield was evident whereas now it’s the complete opposite, with Gary Roberts on just two goals for the season so far. 

The results in the recent past have dipped slightly, with a 3-2 loss at Doncaster Rovers and a 1-1 draw at home to Notts County acting as a blemish on this year's record. But, the levels of performance have been consistent with many pointing the blame simply at lady luck.

Also, a defensive rearrangement has took place due to the knee injury sustained by Sam Hird which ultimately led to the loan acquisition of Georg Margreitter from Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

Following a nervy start to his three-month loan spell, the Austrian finally looks comfortable in a blue shirt and the partnership with club captain Ian Evatt is blossoming. Even though the squad is small in numbers, it certainly doesn’t lack quality. 

Tommy Lee is an absolute rock between the sticks, although potentially suspended for Saturday’s game at Ashton Gate pending an appeal.

According to reports, Aaron Chapman has impressed greatly on loan at Accrington Stanley so we're still unsure whether or not a recall will take place. 

Daniel Jones is an added threat from the left-back position, producing quality deliveries into the danger area on a regular basis. Consistently brilliant, Sam Morsy is undoubtedly the most able midfield player I've ever seen in a Chesterfield shirt. 

Strong in the tackle, comfortable on the ball and can contribute with the odd goal or two when given the freedom to advance further into the opposition half. 

Spireites boss Paul Cook has already stated that he'll be taking his side to Ashton Gate in search of three points, especially with the large amount of travelling fans from Derbyshire. 

Depending on your own viewpoint, this could be seen as both a positive or a negative. Some might say that it's totally unreasonable to go all out for the win against arguably the best team in the division, but this particular approach has served us well in the past.

Both Tendayi Darikwa and Jones offer pace and precision down each flank, whilst Gary Roberts has the freedom to cause havoc as an influential member of the midfield trio behind the striker. Armand Gnanduillet serves as an unknown quantity for any opponent, with doubt present in a defender's mind once the tall striker enters the field of play. 

In certain situations, altering your style of play can seriously backfire. Areas of vulnerability revolve around the attacking approach, with the two central defenders occasionally left exposed due to a lack of cover on either side.

Despite this, I'm genuinely pleased that we have a forward-thinking manager who wants his team to play football in the correct manner. 

There genuinely hasn’t been one occasion where I’ve left a stadium this season and felt that Chesterfield haven’t matched or even bettered their opponents, with credit going to Cook for the brave decision of continuing his attractive and attacking style of play in a higher division. 

Obviously, the main aim for any promoted team has to be avoiding relegation although a positive start has understandably raised expectations amongst supporters. If the Spireites can continue in this way, then the sky really is the limit.

In terms of the final result on Saturday, I fully understand that it's going to be an extremely tough task taking on a Bristol City side who are currently unbeaten in the league. My view is that any point away from home is acceptable, even more so against the league leaders.

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