Former Watford, Hartlepool United and England goalkeeper set for special milestone when Chesterfield host Southend United

Scott Loach says it will be a ‘massively proud’ moment for him when he makes his 500th career appearance on Saturday as Chesterfield take on Southend United.

By Liam Norcliffe
Friday, 4th March 2022, 2:41 pm

The 33-year-old, who joined the Spireites in the summer, has kept 15 clean sheets this season and he hopes to add another on what will be a special milestone for him personally.

He told the DT: “It will be a massively proud moment. I think if you had said to me when I was 17 that I would play 10 games I would have bit your arm off. To get to 500, and still only be 33, which is quite young in goalkeeping terms, is a great honour for me.

"The way I am feeling I have definitely got two-three more years left in me playing week in week out. I want to stay in the game as long as I possibly can.”

Scott Loach.

Loach’s career highlights include being capped for England at under-21 level, playing for Watford in the Championship and for his boyhood club Ipswich Town but his biggest achievement is just being a professional footballer, he says.

"I just love it, I love diving around and hopefully I will never lose that feeling,” he said.

"I love that feeling of walking out every week. When you are in the tunnel and you are walking out in front of 6,000 at Chelsea away it is one of the best feelings you can ever have.”

Despite the hundreds of appearances, he has not won a trophy and that is something he is desperate to tick off his list.

"When I look back on my career it has been amazing and I have been lucky but I have said before that if I could trade a bunch of those games for a medal then I probably would,” he explained. “But, at the same time, would it feel a lot better if we go and do it now? I can’t wish for too much but that is one thing I want.

"The celebrations the other night after the game (against Notts County) – I just turned into a fan for about five minutes – so I can only imagine what it is like if you win something. I just want a piece of that.”

Paul Cook’s arrival at the club has given everyone a lift and the Spireites appear to have turned a corner after a difficult last month.

On Cook, Loach said: "It is like someone has just put a Duracell battery in the club! It has just gone off.

"He is so energetic. He has injected a lot of life into the squad. I think it helps that we had a great togetherness before. He has just come in and added more fuel to that and brought us all even closer. Long may it continue because with the injuries we have got you need that positivity, you need that energy running through the whole club and I think that is what he has brought right from the boardroom right to the club shop – everybody seems to be buzzing at the minute.

"I think the lads are breathing with confidence and I think you can see that. I think that is because they know they can make a mistake...they are kind of expressing themselves a lot more.

“He wants the players to take charge on the pitch. He just wants 100 per cent commitment and have pride in wearing the badge. As long as we have got the desire and mentality I think that is all he wants.”

With two months to go until the end of the season, Chesterfield have slipped off the top of the table but Loach is adamant they won’t be giving up.

Asked for his take on the title race, he laughed: "You just can’t work it out, can you? I think the main thing for us is to keep chipping away because you never know. If you are in there with two or three games to go then the teams around you and above you are going to get nervy. I don’t think you can call it. I think it is just bizarre. It is a really, really crazy league.

"All I know is that we will be giving it 100 per cent. We are not settling for a play-off place. If we can stay in and around it and nick it then great. If we get second or third then we will give everything.

"I think the thing that works in our favour is that there are a lot of people writing us off now. That is fine, it takes the pressure off us and let’s us do our things. We will keep chipping away and hang in there.”

Loach’s 15 clean sheets is the most he has had in a season and he is ‘proud’ of that achievement but he can’t help thinking it should be more following some last-minute goals.

He said: “I think over the course of the season I have grown into the team. Like any goalkeeper there have been a few ups and downs but that is part of the role and it is how you bounce back. I am not one to shy away and say ‘I have been excellent’ but on the whole I think I have been solid and reliable and I think that is what a team looks for.”

The experienced stopper is out of contract in the summer and he ‘100 per cent’ would like to extend his stay.

He added: "You don’t realise how big of a club this is until you are here. To get 7,000-8,000 at home blows some League Two teams out of the water.

“It is a massive club and I want to finish the job that we came here to do but I want to help them kick-on again and again really.”