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Lee Johnson believes Latics can triumph over adversity tonight and win through to the Northern Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Latics' manager admitted preparations for the Area Semi-Final against Chesterfield had been far from ideal in the wake of the spot-fixing allegations made against one of his players, Cristian Montano.
Johnson is confident his side will give a good account of itself declaring: "The one thing about Latics is that we have a fantastic fighting spirit.
“When the chips are down, as they have been, it is about how we come back and show our defiance.”
Johnson says the Sky Bet League 2 Spireites will be tricky opponents: “Chesterfield are flying high and have a good team.
“I have seen them a couple of times and they have a lot of threats so it will be a tough one.
“We are at home and also unbeaten in our last eight games. And though we didn’t win on Saturday, we are still in a decent run of form.
“We are looking hard to beat so go into the game confident and strong.”
Johnson believes Chesterfield will miss top scorer Gary Roberts who is ruled out through injury.
Latics’ manager revealed that Roberts had been a target last summer, but he was unable to compete with Chesterfield’s finances.
“It is a positive for us that Roberts isn’t playing as he is an excellent played,” he said.
Johnson also believes it is pay-back time for Latics who have been knocked out of the JPT in each of the last two seasons including a defeat in the Northern Area Final in 2011.
“I am sure both clubs see this as a realistic chance of reaching the Northern Area Final, though Wembley is still a long way off.”
Latics’ manager was not at the helm at Boundary Park for those fixtures, but says: “I have heard about the legend of the Northern Area Final when Latics lost both games, despite playing well in each of them.
Johnstone's Paint Trophy
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012: Chesterfield 2, Latics 1
FA Cup with Budweiser, second round
Saturday, December 7th, 2013. Chesterfield 1, Southend 3
Saturday, December 7th, 2013. Latics 1, Mansfield Town 1
Latics have Genseric Kusunga back after completing a three-match ban while James Wesolowski and James Dayton remain injury doubts. Chesterfield will be without their two top scorers as Gary Roberts and Armand Gnanduillet are both ruled out through injury and also missing are Jay O'Shea, Nathan Smith and Sam Morsy.
Danny Philliskirk (8) for Latics. Gary Roberts (5), Armand Gnanduillet (5) for Chesterfield.
ONE TO WATCH
Tommy Lee - every time Latics play Chesterfield's goalkeeper plays a blinder.
Latics' manager Lee Johnson once had a loan spell with the Spireites whose striker Marc Richards is a former Latics' loanee.
Admission prices have been reduced to:
It is pay on the turnstiles for all with Latics' fans accommodated in the George Hill Main Stand and Zen Office Chaddy End. The Verlin Stand is closed to home supporters.
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