Spireites: Mark Smith cancels holiday in Brussels to lead team against Walsall

Chesterfield FC caretaker manager Mark Smith
Chesterfield FC caretaker manager Mark Smith

Mark Smith wasn’t planning to be in the dug-out leading Chesterfield into this afternoon’s FA Cup clash with Walsall.

The caretaker manager, who runs Chesterfield’s youth academy, had booked a weekend in Brussels with his wife, but has had to cancel it after Dean Saunders’ departure.

“I love Brussels,” Smith said.

“I used to go there loads when I was at Sheffield United looking after overseas recruitment, the club had a link with a club in Belgium so I spent a lot of time there. It’s great at Christmas as well.

“With a bit of luck we may beat Walsall so I can get a bonus.

“I can’t get me money back for the flights, so a £300 bonus would go down well.”

Smith has hinted at a formation change in a bid to get Chesterfield back on track after four straight defeats.

That could mean a switch to three central defenders, a set-up that would allow Jay O’Shea to play in the hole, his best and favourite position.

Chris Herd and Liam O’Neil are the pair battling it out to play centrally alongside Sam Morsy, whilst Drew Talbot seems nailed on for one of the wing-back roles, right or left.

The other wing-back role remains a problem, however; Smith would have to rely on a winger; either Dan Gardner, Gboly Ariyibi or Rai Simons, veteran Ritchie Humphreys or rookie Dion Donohue.

Having hinted at going for experience, a back line with Ian Evatt, Richard Wood and Sam Hird involved seems likely.

Smith says he hasn’t thought about the role long-term but added: “You never know.

“If we win a couple of games I may be asked to stay on a bit longer, and that’s all I’m looking to do at the moment: win on Saturday and then move on to the next game.”

One man who’s believed to have sent in his application for the job is ex-Chesterfield skipper and manager Nicky Law.

The Alfreton Town manager left Saltergate’s managerial hotseat to move to Bradford City at the start of 2002.