Chesterfield: Smith’s praise for Spireites squad

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

Caretaker boss Mark Smith has described Chesterfield’s squad as “a good set of players” as he prepares them for tomorrow’s FA Cup tie with Walsall.

Smith has taken training this week after the sacking of Dean Saunders.

And the former Sheffield Wednesday player said: “I’ve seen all of the home games. I didn’t want to go in there and rip everything up, I know they are a good set of players.

“I’ve worked with them before; when Paul Cook was here.

“I took a few training sessions and they are good people and, believe me, I’ve been at clubs where that’s not the case.

But is Smith surprised to be in charge following Saunders’ departure? “Yes and no. It’s never a nice time when someone has just lost their job but, looking at the bigger picture, you know it can happen at any time, and it would be wrong to say it hadn’t crossed my mind and now it’s come to fruition.”

“We seem to have won games in blocks and lost games in blocks but people only remember the last block.”

Smith added: “I thought straight away that I’ve got a bit of respect in the dressing room.

“I’ve spoken to some of the senior players to ask them what the mood is like and it’s clear confidence has been down a little bit.

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“So I did what I do with the kids - started the week with a couple of what I call loading days: short, sharp bursts of games.

“They seemed to like that, and we built up to ten v ten games and opened it up playing on full-sized pitches, doing a bit of light game planning .

“We’ll end the week with team shape and set plays, no different to normal really.

“All of the players know what they need to do.”

The man in temporary charge is pleased that it’s a cup weekend.

He said: “It is good. There’s not the pressure of chasing the three points and there’s the bonus of possibly being in the third round with the big boys.

“Then who knows? Pull out Manchester United and I may get a rise!

“I was in a similar caretaker position at Notts County and we drew Aston Villa who had the likes of Dwight Yorke, in the third round and drew before losing the replay.”