Chesterfield FC are the visitors for The Exiles ‘Homecoming Match’ at Rodney Parade. They will be coming to South Wales intent on navigating a route straight back to League 1 after relegation last season. They finished bottom of the third tier, winning just nine league matches, remaining 13 points away from safety.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of the first league match at Rodney Parade for the 2017/18 season!
Recent league and cup form
The Spireites got their season up and running with victory over Port Vale on the weekend.
Before that, they lost on the opening day 3-1 to Grimsby Town. Striker Kristian Dennis scored for Chesterfield, but it was a mere consolation at the Proact Stadium as Grimsby took the spoils.
They followed that result with another defeat, this time to Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.
Dennis scored again, this time from the penalty spot, as the Spireites lost 4-1.
Another defeat soon followed, Notts County taking all three points with a 2-0 win.
Jorge Grant, scorer on the final day against County, scored both goals, including a superb free-kick.
But their luck changed against Port Vale with victory moving Chesterfield up to 19th in the table.
Dennis opened the scoring again, before midfielder Jordan Sinnott secured the victory.
Like County, Chesterfield open their Checkatrade Trophy campaign in midweek, as they entertain Bradford City in the opening group game.
As expected following relegation, the Spireites have had a huge overhaul of the playing staff. In fact, 12 players have entered with 16 leaving the club.
Striker Chris O’Grady seems to be one of the more notable summer signings. Although not hitting the scoring heights of Dennis at the moment, the 31-year-old has a vast experience of playing in the EFL.
Goalkeeper Joe Anyon is another summer addition who boasts vast EFL experience, as does defender Scott Wiseman.
Amongst the other incomings, they have also picked up Jordan Sinnott and Gozie Ugwu from the non-league.
The Spireites may yet make more notable inclusions, as they will be due a sizeable fee from Sam Clucas’ move from Hull City to Swansea City.
Of the departures, Ched Evans stands out as a huge loss. The Welsh striker scored seven goals at the Proact Stadium last season, but returned to Championship side Sheffield United for an undisclosed fee.
Another two players have also left for undisclosed fees. Defender Dion Donohue went to Portsmouth and midfielder Jon Nolan went to Shrewsbury Town.
Goalkeeper Tommy Lee made a welcome return from a long injury lay-off in the win against Port Vale.
Scott Wiseman’s red card against Notts County has now been rescinded, so will be available for the game at Rodney Parade.
In their last match, Chesterfield set up in a 3-5-2 formation. The side that played was as follows:
Chesterfield: Lee; Barry, Flores, Wiseman, Evatt, Hird; Weir, Sinnott, Reed; Dennis, O’Grady.
One to watch – Kristian Dennis
Goals this season: 3
Previous clubs: Macclesfield Town, Curzon Ashton, Stockport County
Dennis has started well to the new season, being one of only two players to score for the Spireites.
He has three goals to his name already this campaign, and has scored in three different games.
The 27-year-old scored ten goals in all competitions last season, one of the shining lights of the Chesterfield side.
Before his time with the Spireites, Dennis had two spells with Macclesfield Town. The second of those reaped the most rewards, in the 2015/16 season, as Dennis scored 23 goals in the National League. That earnt him his move to Chesterfield, his first taste of the Football League.
He has also scored well in the spells he had with Curzon Ashton and Stockport County.
Dennis can be found at odds of 5/1 to score the opener at Rodney Parade, or 7/4 to score at any time, according to SKY BET.
Manager – Gary Caldwell
Caldwell took over in the dugout in January 2017, for his second managerial job.
The 35-year-old couldn’t prevent relegation last season, and has won just 13% (three games) of his 23 matches in charge.
Before turning to management, Caldwell had an extremely successful career as a player.
After a few loan spells in the lower divisions of the English game, Caldwell finally settled when moving to Hibernian.
He spent two seasons with them before earning a move to Celtic. He won four trophies with the Hoops, before moving to Wigan in 2010 for an undisclosed fee.
He was made captain at the club shortly after, leading them to their first FA Cup triumph in the club’s history as they beat Manchester City 1-0 in the final.
Caldwell retired in 2015, having made 55 appearances for the Scottish national side, scoring two goals for them against Trindad&Tobago and France.
The two clubs have met on a previous 36 occasions. It is Chesterfield who currently have the superior record, having won 19 of the meetings. County have won 15, with two draws.
However, of those meetings, only two have occurred since the Exiles reformation in 1989.
In County’s first season back in the Football League for 25 years, the sides met for the first time competitively for 26 years.
The sides first meeting of the season came at Rodney Parade on Sunday 1st December.
Danny Crow scored an early opener for County before Jimmy Ryan equalised just after the hour. Liam Cooper was sent off for fouling Conor Washington in the area with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, Adam Chapman converting the penalty to restore County’s advantage.
Andy Sandell secured the victory with three minutes to go, as Marc Richards could only get a consolation in stoppage-time. The victory for County knocked Chesterfield off top-spot of the League, and put County on the brink of the play-offs.
The sides then met again at the Proact stadium on Saturday 5th April. Jimmy Ryan gave the Spireites the lead just after half-time, with Max Porter scoring the equaliser seven minutes from time. The draw left Chesterfield on the brink of promotion, which they went on to secure, as County moved into 14th position.
Referee: David Webb
Assistant referee 1: Kevin Howick
Assistant referee 2: Ravel Cheosiaua
Fourth official: Grant Taylor
David Webb, from County Durham, is in his 10th season as a Football League referee.
Last season, Webb refereed 45 games, brandishing 119 yellows and three red cards.
So far this season, Webb has officiated five matches. The last of those came on Tuesday, as Bolton Wanderers beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2. Four yellow cards were given, as no players were sent-off. He did, however, send both managers to the stands late on in the game.
That means so far in the 2017/18, he has given out 17 yellow cards with no reds.
Webb has refereed County on three occasions, all coming last season. Unfortunately, County didn’t win any of those three matches.
The first game was when County lost 2-0 to Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium. There were seven bookings in the match, four of which to County – Jamie Turley, Scot Bennett, Dan Butler, and Jon Parkin all cautioned.
The second match also came against Doncaster, with the two sides drawing 0-0 at Rodney Parade. There were five bookings that time, three to County on this occasion – Maxime Blanchard, Mitch Rose and Darren Jones given a yellow card.
The final game came in County’s last away game of the season, as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Carlisle United. Tom Owen-Evans was the only player to be given a yellow card from either side.
Other fixtures around the league (All 3pm kick-offs)
Barnet vs Stevenage
Cambridge United vs Morecambe
Cheltenham Town vs Exeter City
Colchester United vs Forest Green Rovers
Grimsby Town vs Wycombe Wanderers
Lincoln City vs Carlisle United
Mansfield Town vs Luton Town
Port Vale vs Crewe Alexandra
Swindon Town vs Crawley Town
Yeovil Town vs Coventry City