September 24 2004
Chesterfield will travel to Prenton Park in high spirits after an unbeaten start to the season, yet Tranmere Rovers will be no pushover as they aim to push on towards those cherished promotion places.
Chesterfield will be without Kevin Dawson and ex-Tranmere hitman Wayne Allison for the trip to Prenton Park. However, another ex-Rover in Shane Nicholson looks set to retain his place at left back.
Tranmere will be without Chris Dagnall after he received a second yellow card for over-zealous celebrations at Hartlepool on tuesday. Calvin Zola is set to deputise. You may remember Zola from his loan spell at Oldham, but more importantly, the superb way in which Steve Blatherwick dealt with him during that game. Influential midfielder Ian Hume is also a doubt for Rovers.
Last season the Spireites faced Tranmere three times. The first of which being the 3-2 FA Cup defeat at Prenton Park. Tranmere went on to reach the quarter finals of the competition.
The next meeting between the two sides was subject to a hectic start. If you came in late, you wouldn't have believed that after just one minute, the score stood at 1-1! The game ended with honours even at 2-2.
For the second time of the season, the Spireites travelled to Prenton Park with the aim of progressing in their 'Great Escape' campaign. Chesterfield came away with all three points after a reversal of the score in the previous Prenton Park meeting between the two sides.
Chesterfield owe Tranmere a huge debt after their 2-1 defeat of Grimsby on the final day of last season. Images of Nicky Law looking dumbstruck as he gazed down at his mobile, only to realise that Glynn Hurst's late goal had relegated his Mariners were absolutely priceless!
Tranmere have added heavily to their squad this summer, and have possibly pulled off the coup of the season by signing Republic of Ireland international Jason McAteer on a free transfer. Rovers' squad already had the potential to do well, but now the rough edges have been smoothed over with new signings and Tranmere look like serious promotion contenders.
I expect this game to be a closely fought and fairly high scoring affair. The Spireites lively front line looks bursting with goals, and the solid back line has only been breached once so far this season. However, we owe Tranmere a huge favour, and it's probably best to get it out of the way!
Sorry to be pessimistic, but I've gone for a repeat of the cup score.
My prediction: Tranmere Rovers 3-2 Chesterfield