After three successive draws, League Two leaders Chesterfield FC will be hoping to return to winning ways when they travel to meet relegation-threatened Burton Albion on Friday evening.
Tommy Wright was not best pleased with his players after it required a late goal from Deane Smalley to earn a point against Aldershot at the B2net Stadium on Saturday – when he accused some of them of being in their ‘comfort zone’.
The Blues assistant boss said: “We were very fortunate to get a point. In the second-half our performance was poor. We had no tempo, no rhythm. You can’t just turn up and win football matches.
“If you get in a comfort zone, you get your backsides kicked. It is not acceptable.
“Aldershot were better than us in the second half. Far better. We were bitterly disappointed with that performance.’’
The Brewers may currently be in one of the two relegation slots but they gave the Spireites a black eye in November when they became the first side to inflict a home league defeat at the B2net.
Smalley was an unused substitute in that 2-1 defeat but he has since blossomed into one of League Two’s most in-form strikers.
The 22-year-old front man has scored seven goals in the past eight games and has become hot property.
His loan with the Spireites has been extended until the end of the season and initially it seemed as if manager John Sheridan viewed the player, who he managed at Oldham, chiefly as one to start in away games.
The Blues chief has opted to kick off with leading marksman Craig Davies and veteran goal ace Jack Lester in home games, believing that any opposition will know they are in for a game if they spot those two names on the pre-match team sheet.
But since the start of the year, Smalley, who wears the No22 shirt, has been so prolific that Sheridan has found it hard to keep him limited to away days.
Since he hit his stride in the away 2-2 draw at Accrington, Smalley has scored in the 3-2 win at Southend and grabbed both in the magnificent 2-0 victory at Gillingham before salvaging a point in the 1-1 draw at Stockport.
His five goals were all on road trips until he was given a start against Aldershot on Saturday when he was played wide left in midfield, with Davies and Lester up front.
And it was Smalley who gave Chesterfield an early lead before he replaced Davies in attack after an hour and slotted a late leveller after Aldershot had taken a 2-1 lead during the second half.
Smalley had played only a handful of games before his move across the Pennines at the start of November and Wright said: “We know he is a talented player and now he has been playing more he has got fitter. He’s scoring goals and getting his reward.’’
The Friday night showdown at Burton (7.45pm KO) is all-ticket for Chesterfield supporters who must buy their tickets in advance as none will be on sale at the Pirelli Stadium.
On Tuesday, Chesterfield travel to promotion rivals Bury before two further away games at Lincoln City and Bradford.
Meanwhile, holders of half-season tickets have been reminded that they do not include a ticket for the re-arranged home game with Wycombe Wanderers. The match will now take place on Tuesday, March 1. Half-season ticket holders need to purchase a match ticket for this game, which are now on sale.
l Chesterfield’s youth team will play Lincoln City in the semi-final of the Midland Youth Cup at the B2net Stadium on Wednesday, March 2, kick-off 2pm.