Long-running saga should reach end

THE long-running saga to decide who will be Ipswich Town's FA Cup third round opponents should reach its conclusion tonight.

Nick Garnham

THE long-running saga to decide who will be Ipswich Town's FA Cup third round opponents should reach its conclusion tonight.

Town are still waiting to find out whether it will be Chesterfield or Droylsden who they will face at Portman Road on Saturday, January 3 - an incredible 24 days after the original tie took place.

The second round tie was abandoned at the first time of asking because of fog with Droylsden leading 1-0 at the interval.

When the sides met again, the tie went to a replay following a controversial 2-2 draw after Chesterfield's Jack Lester scored following a throw-in after the ball had been put out for a player injury.

The visitors protested furiously and eventually the two teams decided that Droylsden's Steve Halford be allowed to walk the ball into the net unchallenged from the ensuing kick-off.

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Then when the two teams met a week ago the match was again abandoned with League Two side Chesterfield leading their Blue Square North opponents 2-0 through goals from Lester and former Ipswich player Darren Currie either side of half-time.

But the game was abandoned after 70 minutes due to floodlight failure meaning the two teams now meet for a fourth time tonight.

Chesterfield manager Lee Richardson quipped ahead to tonight's tie: “It's time to put the game to bed.

“It'll be interesting to see whether they give us a two-goal start in the interests of sportsmanship!

“We still want to progress in the tie and we're determined to go there and put in a similar performance to last week.”

Chesterfield return to the Butchers Arms on the back of a 1-0 win over Port Vale and Richardson has a selection dilemma.

He said: “We tinkered around a bit for the game at Vale with a view to having four games in a week or so which means there could be changes for the Droylsden game.

“Not through any sense that the performance wasn't good but just by the fact that we have to look at Friday's game with Luton and Sunday's trip to Darlington so we are going to need to rotate, purely because of legs, because the effort that's required in football these days in any game makes it very difficult to reproduce, with the same set of players over and over again.

“Four games in a week is impossible for everybody.”

Chesterfield midfielders Lloyd Kerry and Jamie Winter are back in contention after one-match suspensions.

Defender Alan Goodall serves the second of a four-match ban but a late decision will be made on the fitness of captain Robert Page after a calf injury.

Droylsden welcome back midfielder Jamie McGuire from a three-match ban, while Mike Byron continues his comeback from a hamstring injury but Carl Ruffer and Tony Gray remain cup-tied.