SPIREITES: Saunders confident ahead of Coventry trip

Dean Saunders is looking for a first home win since the opening day.
Dean Saunders is looking for a first home win since the opening day.

Manager Dean Saunders says Chesterfield have nothing to fear as they head to fellow high-flyers Coventry City on Saturday, despite having seen his side give away points late on in the last two matches.

Last Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Colchester saw the Spireites concede an injury-time equaliser having been 3-1 up with 14 minutes to go, just a week after sacrificing a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead against Wigan Athletic and losing the game.

But with Chesterfield playing good football and scoring plenty of goals, Saunders says he remains confident they will continue to get results.

He said: “Coventry are a good team with good players but so are we. We’re playing well and scoring goals so we’ve got nothing to fear.

“We’re aware of them and what they’ve got which is good players all over the pitch and a manager who has got them organised and kept them up last year.

“I’ve managed Marc-Antoine Fortune and Sam Ricketts before so know all about them and they’ve both played in the Premier League which shows the quality we’re up against.”

On the draw with Colchester, Saunders said: “It happens in football all the time. On reflection, having got a point despite playing with ten men for 75 minutes was a good result, but it’s a shame we couldn’t hold out.

“You’ve got to give the other team credit for knocking on the door, and make sure that when we’re in that kind of situation we can do to other teams what has happened to us.

“We have to just manage the game better. We talked about it and there are certain things we should have done on Saturday that would have got us over the line. We didn’t communicate and talk enough and you can’t play football like that.”

Defender Drew Talbot was sent off just 15 minutes in for a foul on Marvin Sordell, and despite Saunders feeling the initial decision was controversial due to Sordell appearing to be offside, the club hasn’t appealed against Talbot’s subsequent ban.

He said: “We were going to appeal and talked about it between us but I think the referee gave his decision based on Sordell not being offside, which he was but the ref hadn’t seen that, although the ball was going through to Tommy (Lee) too so Sordell wouldn’t have caught up with it.

“You have to be careful with appeals as you can have another match added onto the ban so although it was unfortunate in that it was a tangle of legs and there was nothing Drew could do, we decided not to appeal.”

Saunders gave a surprise debut to 17-year-old Jack Fitzwater after Talbot’s dismissal, with the Spireites boss adding: “It was a difficult game for him. To make your debut in those circumstances is hard but he’ll have learned an awful lot.

“He’s frail in terms of his physical build as you’d expect of a 17-year-old, but you can see he’s going to be a good player.

“I didn’t expect to throw him in so early but we had injuries so there was nothing else I could have done. He got a bit too central at times as he’s more used to playing at centre-half but he coped well on the whole.”

Meanwhile, Saunders added to his squad this week by bringing in versatile Australian Chris Herd.

The 26-year-old was released by Aston Villa last summer and has signed a deal until January.

Saunders said: “Chris has played in the Premier League and you can see he’s really athletic, aggressive, wants to win and is good in the air too. He can play right-back, centre-back or in midfield so that versatility will help us too if we can keep him fit.

“He’s trained all week and Friday last week. We’re just easing him off now so he’s ready for Saturday.

“I think everyone will be available this weekend aside from Angel whose injury is long-term.

“Liam O’Neil, Chris Herd and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake have all trained all week and Sam Hird will train on Friday, so barring any mishaps we should have them all back.”