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Brentford Preview

By Liam
September 24 2004

Chesterfield begin the League one campaign with a home game against Brentford. The Bees have a small, yet talented squad. Under the guidance of Martin Allen, I feel they will do better than expected this season.

Martin Allen was a breath of fresh air when he took over at Griffin Park last season. He saved them from relegation and formed a confidence within the side, which promptly lifted them up to a 17th place finish in the old division two.

So far, the ex-Barnet boss has brought in eight players this summer. They are Deon Burton (Portsmouth), John Salako (Reading), Isiah Rankin (Barnsley), Andy Myers (Colchester), Scott Fitzgerald (Colchester), Chris Hargreaves (Northampton), Sam Sodje (Margate) and San Lee (West Ham).

There is obvious quality throughout the side, and with players who have both Premiership and international experience, Brentford will be an easy three points for nobody.

However, top scorer Stephen Hunt has left on a free, solid centre back Ibu Sonko has gone to reading and left back Ronnie Bull has also been allowed to leave. The trio were all key players last season, and it remains to be seen whether they have been replaced adequately.

This team is now Martin Allen's, just like the Spireites are now assembled under the tag "McFarland's Team".

The Spireites brought in three players, Shane Nicholson, Wayne Allison and Alex Bailey in pre-season, all of which are expected to play some part on saturday.

Alan O'Hare and Alex Bailey both missed the last two games due to minor problems, which are expected to be sorted by saturday. Therefore, I would expect the line up to be similar to the one which started the friendly against Derby, with my preferred strike partnership being Tcham N'Toya with Mark DeBolla.

Meanwhile, Kevin Dawson is struggling with a thigh injury, with Alex Bailey likely to fill the ex-Forest man's boots.

With the Spireites looking to play more attractive football, and McFarland now happy with his team, I think this will be a close run encounter.

I would be wary of Brentford's wingers, but hopefully Alex Bailey will be on top of his game or Dawson will be there to show he is not to be messed with. Ian Evatt and Steve Blatherwick need to keep a close eye on Deon Burton.

I think our strike partnerships will bear fruit this season, with a mix of pace and experience up front. However, it remains to be seen how we will do in a fully competetive match.

My prediction: Chesterfield 2-2 Brentford

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New on site, 'Spireite Legends', a fan's view of his all time legend, Dave Caldwell, written by Simon Hayward.

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