SPIREITES: Mark Smith calls on Chesterfield squad to ‘stick together’ after FA Cup exit

Walsall vs Chesterfield - Mark Smith - Pic By James Williamson
Walsall vs Chesterfield - Mark Smith - Pic By James Williamson

Caretaker manager Mark Smith believes Chesterfield should take confidence from their FA Cup replay at Walsall.

The Spireites battled bravely at the home of the League One high-flyers for a place in the third round of the prestigious competition at Brentford.

But, after nothing could separate the two sides in 120 minutes of football on Tuesday night, bowed out 5-3 to the Saddlers after a penalty shoot-out.

And Smith in his third game in temporary charge of Chesterfield following Dean Saunders’ departure in November could see the positives from the game.

He said: “We handled it really well for 90 minutes and we more than matched them.

“We looked a lot more solid and made life difficult for them and doing that against a team as good as Walsall can only stand us in good stead.

“I was pleased with the performance but we just need to be more ruthless when we get into good situations. We just lack that bit of confidence in the final third.”

Chesterfield’s search for a permanent manager continues this week ahead of the visit of Bradford City to the Proact Stadium on Saturday in League One.

Smith wouldn’t be drawn on speculation over the vacant position before last weekend’s defeat at Bury, saying: “I was just asked to keep things going. No rush.”

And, if he remains at the helm for Bradford, the club’s academy manager told the players to stick together.

He added: “They can see what can be achieved by sticking together and that’s what they’ve got to do right now.

“There’s only the lads that will get us out of this situation. But they should be taking confidence. That’s my concern sometimes is that we don’t take as much confidence as we should.

“We should then be building momentum for the next game. I was pleased with the performance and the result apart from the penalty shoot-out, which it boiled down to.”