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Match Previews

Peterborough United Preview

24 December 2014

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With the players hopefully less full of Christmas pudding than the supporters, Chesterfield entertain Peterborough United at the Proact on Boxing Day.

The match represents the first meeting between the sides since the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley last March, and the hosts will be looking to avenge the 3-1 defeat they suffered that afternoon.

The Spireites 3-2 win at Gillingham last Saturday certainly brought Christmas cheer and they sit just three points off the playoffs ahead of the Boxing Day clash.

At Priestfield, Chesterfield had just four men on the bench but in his pre-match press conference manager Paul Cook ensured that was a one off and he'd have a full range of substitutes to call from against the Posh.

The bench is likely to included Ollie Banks, recalled from his loan at Northampton Town, and perhaps even long-term injury casualty Drew Talbot, who is stepping up his training as he gets closer to a first team return.

Left back Dan Jones has now served his suspension for the red card at Crawley Town and will return to the squad, though Sam Morsy still has a further two matches of his suspension to serve.

Leading marksman Eoin Doyle is set to be back though, having been rested on the bench for the Gillingham match with a slight hamstring complaint.

Having made a roaring start to their League 1 campaign, the Posh have stuttered in more recent times, not winning in the league since mid-October, and Spireites win on Friday would see them leap ahead of their established rivals.

Compounding the disappointing recent results, Peterborough have a number of injuries and absentees to contend with.

They will be without striker Craig Mackail-Smith, who is set to be recalled early from his loan spell by his parent club Brighton and Hove Albion after they parted company with their manager Sami Hyppia earlier this week.

Marcus Maddison, Kgosi Ntlhe and Gabriel Zakuani are all doubts for the festive visitors, while Jon Taylor and Jack Balwin are also sidelined.

However, midfielder Joe Newell - sent off for United in that Wembley match last spring - will return to the squad following a one game suspension.

Cook looked ahead to the game and felt that the two competing sides have similar aspirations and will be looking to win to help fulfil them.

He said: "Peterborough are a strong club, obviously they're one of the teams looking to get promotion. You look up and down the league now and there's a gap to the top four, and I think those teams will probably end up being the top four.

"But certainly there's a playoff place or two floating about for someone, and we're two of the teams with an eye on that. 

"Even from last year when we said we were trying to get promoted, we weren't being clever about it, but if you're not going to positive what's the point in being anything?"

The manager has done his preperations for the match but despite the form guide, is taking his opponents and their manager very seriously, recognising the tough challenge that awaits his side.

He said: "I think nowadays these runs they get publicised quickly - and you can guarantee that if a club's not won in six they'll have won the seventh.

"I don't really buy into it because people will have had injuries and suspensions. When you support the club you'll know what's going on.

"Darren's got numerous trophies in his cabinet now, promotions and then beating us at Wembley. They've had a tough run with injuries but they've got good strikers who can cause you problems."

If you can't get down to the Proact Stadium for the match you can follow the game via full live match commentary on Spireites Player, via minute-by-minute text commentary on Twitter or with score updates on Facebook.

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