All we want at Saltergate is 100 per cent effort

by

Derby day approaches and an army of Stags fans will be heading up to Saltergate for Saturday’s big FA Cup clash.

I hate to be the pessimist but I have a really bad feeling about this one.

I know the FA Cup throws up all sorts of surprises and local derby games are even more of a leveller. But . . .

The Spireites are at home, in hot goalscoring form and probably really looking forward to kicking us when we are down.

I know it hurts but we have to accept that on current status we go into this game hugely as underdogs and all we can hope for is a gutsy showing from the Stags.

Miracles do happen in the cup and even a draw and a replay would be fantastic. But let’s not get too excited if we get well beaten.

Chesterfield have just scored 15 goals in their last four games at a higher level and will be very hard to contain on Saturday.

And don’t forget a mass of away fans booing our side off at Saltergate could shatter fragile confidences once again with two far more important games ahead at Field Mill.

In the first half at Torquay and throughout the 90 minutes at York on Tuesday Stags showed signs of improvement and the two games beyond Chesterfield – home clashes with Salisbury and Altrincham – represent a very real chance of six absolutely crucial points.

They have to remain our real focus whatever happens on Saturday. It will be a great afternoon out with a great atmosphere and, if Stags cannot pull off a shock, then all we want from them is 90 minutes of honest endeavour and effort in a game that few of them maybe understand the real significance of.

If they give that effort then, no matter what the result, let’s clap them off and encourage them for what lies ahead.

Huge congratulations to the 44 hardy souls that made the midweek trip to York City.

It was a third trip to the mouth-wateringly named Kitcat Crescent already this season for a real Mickey Mouse competition (sorry Setatanta) on a miserable Tuesday night and those who went deserve a medal for loyalty beyond the call of duty.

The Shield is such a rubbish competition all the way through that they don’t even bother with a neutral ground for the final. The two finalists just toss a coin for home advantage for the one-off game – amazing!

It was a lovely gesture from the Stags also to try to hand out some complimentary tickets the players had been given to the fans and get as many of the 44 in for free as possible.

And it was almost inevitable it would be extra-time and penalties. When that 94th minute corner came over you just knew where the ball would end up.

Then by the time we had extra-time and penalties and then had the usual lengthy wait for Billy McEwan to do his post match interviews it was very late to start typing and soon we were told they wanted to ground locked up and asked if we could leave.

That is all you need at 11.30pm at night still in York, still nursing the remnants of a hangover from the Torquay weekend, and with a long very foggy journey back ahead of you. Give me a break (give me a Kitkat)!

But we got our work done quickly and let’s look at the bright side of our exit – we would have had a midweek trip to Barrow in the next round following the fourth round draw.

Bring on the Spireites!

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