Chesterfield came relatively close to promotion to the Championship just two short seasons ago, the Spireites making it into the League One play-offs before bowing out at the hands of Preston North End at the first hurdle. Since then it has been two seasons of struggle and whilst they finished some seven points above the relegation zone at the end of 2015/16, they are now firmly embroiled in a battle against the drop.
Given that some ten points exist between Chesterfield and relative safety, it is really a battle which they are rapidly losing, that is if they haven’t already lost it. Failure to secure maximum points this afternoon will leave them with a massive mountain to climb and there isn’t realistically much time left to climb it.
Indeed the Chesterfield fans have already resigned themselves to life in League Two next season and they won’t be in much mood to delay the inevitable. OK so a win over Rochdale would certainly lift the spirits of the home fans this afternoon but one feels that the clouds of relegation loom too heavily over the Midlands side for any late escape.
Indeed Rochdale are looking in the other direction and whilst they sit some six points short of the play-off places as things stand, a win this afternoon could see that gap narrow considerably. Nevertheless the Dale have been a mixed bag of late with just two points from their last six games on the road and they won’t be having things all their own way at the Proact Stadium.
That said, Chesterfield have managed just a solitary home win since the turn of the year and we’re far from confident that they will manage another one this afternoon.