Chesterfield: All to play for in tie as Spireites seek fast start

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Paul Cook is convinced Chesterfield can still reach Wembley despite losing the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final against Preston North End.

The Lillywhites hold a slender 1-0 lead following a sixth minute strike by Jermaine Beckford in Thursday’s tussle, but the Spireites showed more than enough in the remainder of the contest to suggest that the tie is far from over.

Spireites boss Cook said: “The first leg was a great night for our players, because when you go up against these teams you can get found out if you’re not good enough and that certainly didn’t happen to us.

“We’re still in the tie, we’re 1-0 down and there is a lot that can happen in football. We believe we can still do it, so we’ll do everything to prepare right, travel over on Saturday and see if we can get to Wembley, which would be remarkable for a club like Chesterfield.”

Goalkeeper Tommy Lee is expected to shake off a knock which hampered him in the second half versus Preston. Lee fell awkwardly in gathering a straight forward shot and hurt his left leg but is expected to be fit for tomorrow lunch-time’s trip to Deepdale.

Winger Gary Roberts said: “We go to Preston full of confidence knowing we can win.”

Cook is unlikely to make many personnel changes as they take on a Preston side who have never won promotion via the play-offs in nine previous attempts.

“We’ve got to believe in what we do. I do, our players do and our supporters do as well,” he said. “If we can start in the correct manner then we have a major part to play in this tie.

“The next goal will be vital and if we were to score next and take control then they could come under real pressure but if they get it then it could become a carnival atmosphere. We have their respect and they have got ours.”

Tomorrow’s clash could be Cook’s last in charge as he looks set to move to Portsmouth at the end of this season. The Spireites turned down an approach from Pompey for Cook last month.

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