Chesterfield boss Paul Cook keeps cards close to chest ahead of FC Halifax Town play-off clash

Paul Cook kept his cards close to his chest with regards to injuries ahead of the play-off clash at Halifax on Tuesday night.

By Liam Norcliffe
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 10:30 am

Chesterfield travel to The Shay in the eliminator round, with the winner visiting Solihull Moors on Sunday in the semi-finals.

Gavin Gunning, Joe Quigley and Akwasi Asante all missed the draw against Woking last time out but Cook understandably did not want to reveal if any of the trio would be available.

"You don’t want to give too much away in these interviews,” Cook said.

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Spireites boss Paul Cook.

"Come the end of the season now, most clubs will be carrying injuries and knocks and stuff like that.

"With us, we have obviously got injuries in and around the club, we have got lads who are not going to make the game, but we won’t be discussing that in these interviews pre the game.”

Stefan Payne was loaned out to National League South side Havant and Waterlooville in February and the striker scored five goals in 16 appearances.

The Hawk finished eighth, narrowly missing out on the play-offs by one place and two points.

Many Town fans have been wondering whether the forward will now come back into the fold to help their promotion push.

When asked the question by the DT at Monday morning’s pre-match press conference, Cook again was reluctant to offer up any information.

He said: "I am not discussing, I am sure Pete (Wild) will be listening to my interview just like we will listen to Pete’s interview in the hope of gaining some kind of advantage. I think Pete’s advantage will be when he gets our team sheet tomorrow night at 6.45pm – the same as I’ll get Halifax’s. So all the discussions and the ‘what ifs’ and everything else are fine but there will be a none discussion from me on those situations.”

Chesterfield learnt a harsh lesson last season in the play-offs when they did not name a goalkeeper on the bench and it came back to haunt them and ended up costing them the game.

On whether they will name a sub goalkeeper this time, Cook appeared to suggest that he would like to but that he might not be able to.

He added: "The reality for us is we have been making too many substitutions early in games anyway so we need every outfield player on the bench because we have needed them in the games. Our options are minimised by the injury situations within the games. You would be foolish not to name a goalkeeper on the bench, without a shadow of a doubt, but we will have players on the pitch tomorrow night, probably similar to Halifax, that are maybe not match fit.”