Chesterfield have gone back to basics ahead of Tuesday night’s clash with Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Spireites boss Dean Saunders was frustrated with elements of Saturday’s defeat to Port Vale and has worked with his players on the fundamentals of their approach.
Vale scored three out of four shots on target in the game and Saunders wants his side to become more resolute to turn points lost in to points gained for Chesterfield.
“We played really well with the ball and created good opportunities,” he reflected. “We didn’t take as many chances as we should have and we’ve given away three goals from basic defending.
“It’s really frustrating because it’s avoidable and we’ve been over it in training. Our defensive lines from goal kicks are sometimes too deep and we’re not heading the ball back to their goalkeeper.
“It sounds like a basic and it is. You’ve got to do the basics in football. All the top sportsman do the basics well. As a defender you have to do the basics; clear the ball, tackle, don’t get beaten one-v-one and win headers.
He added: “So when you do all those right the talent hopefully comes on top and that gets you out of trouble. Football brain and talent. If you don’t do the basics properly you’ll come unstuck, so we’ve been practicing that.”
Lee Novak and substitute Rai Simons got the Spireites’ goals as the visitors racked up three shots on target of their own on an ice cold afternoon at Vale Park.
That’s two in three games for Simons and Saunders said: “He’s got some assists and he’s got some goals and it’s exactly what I want.
“He’s not on his own, we’ve got Gboly (Ariyibi), Mani (Dieseruvwe) and Liam O’Neil all chomping at the bit. It’s good for the club.
“I’ll gradually feed them in and hopefully in six months you’ll see the best of them.”
Saunders spent 18 months at Rovers before leaving them in the League One automatic promotion spots in January 2013 to take over the Wolverhampton Wanderers hot seat.
“I enjoyed it there,” he said. “I left on good terms, we were top of the league and flying. But that doesn’t mean anything. I’m Chesterfield manager and we’re going there for the points. It’ll be nice to see everyone.
“The owners were good to me, the fans were good to me and there are some players there that I worked with who are still there. It’s a great place. I loved it in Doncaster and I’m looking forward to going back.”
Former Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson, and son of Manchester United great Sir Alex, took over the Rovers reins in October and they have since won four of eight.
They sit three points below Chesterfield in the League One table and lost 2-0 at home to Rochdale on Saturday.
Saunders said: “They’ve got a lot of good players who have played in the league above. We’ve got a few from higher up but not as many. We’re going to have to play well to win. I know Darren and he gets his teams playing attractive, attacking football.
“We know what their strengths and weaknesses are and I’ll have to pick the right team now to try and hurt them.”