Chesterfield v Aldershot Town Match Preview – Tuesday 7 August 2018
Aldershot Town kicked-off the 2018-19 season with a point in a home draw with Barnet on Saturday. A combination of Jake Cole, the woodwork, and defenders putting their bodies on the line somehow ensured that The Shots kept a clean sheet against The Bees. On Tuesday, they travel to Derbyshire to take on Martin Allen’s Chesterfield, who, like Barnet, were relegated from Football League last season.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
On Saturday, manager Gary Waddock was unable to call upon the services of Luke Howell due to an ankle issue sustained in training. It’s unlikely that Howell, a new signing from Dagenham & Redbridge, will have recovered in time for Tuesday’s match. Waddock’s new skipper Karleigh Osborne wasn’t fit enough to start against Barnet, but came on for the last half-an-hour and could be in contention to start at Chesterfield.
Opposition – Chesterfield:
Nickname: The Spireites
Manager: Martin Allen
Stadium: Proact Stadium (Capacity: 10,504)
2017-18 league position: 24th (Sky Bet League Two)
Chesterfield FC was established in 1866 and turned professional in 1891, before changing its name to Chesterfield Town. They were founder members of the Third Division in 1921 and members of the Football League throughout the following 97 years, until relegation in May 2018.
Chesterfield overcame a financial crisis in 2001 when the supporters trust took control, having to put it into administration before passing its running on to four wealthy local supporters who steered it back to solvency. In 2010, the Spirites moved from Saltergate, their atmospheric home since 1871, and settled in to the 10,000-seat Proact Stadium.
The Gaffer – Martin Allen:
Allen enjoyed a successful career as a player, most notably with Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United. Allen made over 100 appearances for both London clubs before moving to Portsmouth in 1997 and retiring with Southend United the following year. Often referred to by his nickname of “Mad Dog” during his playing days, Allen was renowned for his no-nonsense style. He took his first management job with non-league club Barnet in 2003, before going on to manage a host of clubs including Leicester City, Notts County and Gillingham.
Having taken charge of Barnet on five separate occasions, he took the reins at Chesterfield on 15th May to succeed Jack Lester. The 52-year-old has most recently managed in the National League with Eastleigh, and becomes Chesterfield’s fifth permanent manager in three years. In the fourth of his five spells in charge of Barnet, he led the club to the Conference title in 2014-15.
Chesterfield’s relegation from League Two inevitably heralded the departure of a number of players who wanted to remain in the Football League. The departures of star striker Kristian Dennis, who left for Notts County, as well as loanees Andy Kellett and Louis Reed returning to their parent clubs, meant the Spireites lost three of their four leading goalscorers from last season.
Allen steadily began to rebuild his squad and has made some promising signings in the hope of bouncing straight back into the Football League. Keeper Shwan Jalal has joined having won the National League title with Macclesfield Town last season, and in front of them Allen has brought in the new central defensive pairing of Barnet skipper Michael Nelson and former Shot Will Evans. He has strengthened his midfield with the signings of Sam Wedgbury (Wrexham), Charlie Carter (Woking) and Curtis Weston (Barnet). Up front Allen, will be hoping for goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune (Southend United) and youngster Lee Shaw (prolific for Northern Premier League Grantham last season) as well as former Woking striker Gozie Ugwu, who joined The Spirites 12 months ago but is yet to hit form.
Tuesday’s referee is Peter Gibbons. Last season, he took charge of 18 National League matches showing 46 yellow cards and no red cards. He took the middle in The Shots’ 0-0 home draw with Ebbsfleet United.
BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and Luke Edwards of the National League Full-Time podcast team will be covering the game live on Tuesday evening. Tune in to the BBC Sport website or BBC Sport app from 7:30pm for full match commentary. To interact with them, tweet @RobShot66 & @Luke_1983.