BACK in August when BT Sport chose today’s game at The Shay for live broadcast, FC Halifax Town were sitting second in the table and newly-relegated Chesterfield eighth.
Both looked a good bet to turn that promising early form into a concerted promotion challenge, so the broadcaster felt able to explain their tea-time pick for Non-League Day with the pronouncement: “Strong starters FC Halifax Town face a Chesterfield team also with promotion ambitions.”
Fifty-two days on, however, and the league table tells a rather different story. Jamie Fullarton’s men are still in touch with the leading pack, six points separatingthe club from AFC Fylde in the final play-off place.
But Halifax have won just once in 10 games and sit in the bottom half of the table.
Chesterfield, meanwhile, have nosedived horribly with Martin Allen’s side not having won since August 11.
If Havant & Waterlooville beat Gateshead on the south coast in a 3pm game, the Spireites will kick off at The Shay in the relegation zone.
Tom Denton, Halifax’s top scorer last season before moving to Alfreton Town during the summer, will be hoping to kick-start an upturn in fortunes after joining the Spireites last month.
“Chesterfield are a very big club,” he said. “When I made my home debut I walked out in front of 4,500, which was a bit of a surprise.
“I knew I was joining a big club, but we just need to get on a bit of a run because we are struggling a bit at the moment.
“I am looking forward to it a lot. I didn’t think I would get to play against Halifax again. I have got family and friends who are Halifax fans, so they are looking forward to it.”
On the prospect of netting his first goal for Chesterfield against his old club, Denton added: “That is what happens in football sometimes, but I would take having a good performance and winning the game.”
Chesterfield could hand a debut to striker Alex Kiwomya, who is on loan from Doncaster Rovers, while Halifax will give a late test to Jordan Preston (hamstring).
Today’s fixture, which kicks off at 5.15pm, will be the 12th time the Shaymen have been shown live on TV since reforming a little over a decade ago.
Halifax defender Nathan Clarke added: “With it being on TV it makes no difference, really. It is the next game, and we will be desperately trying to do well. It is a frustrating situation, but as a group of players there is only us that can turn it round.”