Missing Chesterfield trio are not 'scapegoats' for lack of clean sheets, insists coach

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Three players who were left out of Chesterfield’s win against Dagenham and Redbridge will not be made ‘scapegoats’ for the amount of goals conceded this season, says coach Danny Webb.

Jeff King and Branden Horton were not in the matchday squad at all and Ash Palmer was an unused substitute in the 3-1 victory on Saturday. All three started the 4-3 win at Aldershot Town the previous week.

King’s statistics show he has been one of the best attacking right-backs in the National League in the last three seasons but he has found himself behind Ryheem Sheckleford at the start of this campaign. A hamstring injury to Sheckleford meant that King started three games in a row but at the weekend Liam Mandeville was asked to drop back into the right-back role instead.

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The Spireites are yet to keep a clean sheet in eight matches this term but Webb insists that no one player is to blame.

Miguel Freckleton in action against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture: Tina Jenner.Miguel Freckleton in action against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture: Tina Jenner.
Miguel Freckleton in action against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture: Tina Jenner.

On King’s absence, Webb said: “He got that hamstring twinge at Aldershot. He was not quite right, but that was not the reason he did not play today. He trained with a little group this morning and his attitude was fantastic.”

When pressed more by the DT why he was left out, Webb explained: “He did come off at Aldershot with a slight injury but you are also looking at ways to try and plug the gaps and stop conceding goals.

“What happens then, sadly, is that the lads who are left out suddenly become the reason why you conceded three goals at Aldershot and that is natural but, in my opinion, that is not the case at all.

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“It is tough when you go from starting to not being on the bench, the same for Branden (Horton) and it is a kick in the stomach at times. But they have both trained this morning, they are both in the dressing room high-fiving everyone.

“The manager is experienced and sometimes he shows that ruthlessness in his decisions which he believes will benefit the team.”

As well as Mandeville, Tyrone Williams and Miguel Freckleton came into the defence against the Daggers.

“Anyone can come in at any given time,” Webb said.

“It is very hard sometimes. Whether it be Palms, Kingy or Branden, people might look at that and go ‘well it’s their fault we concede goals’ but it certainly isn’t that at all. There is no scapegoat at all. But there is no point having a big squad ready to be given a chance if you don’t give them that chance.

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“Tyrone came in today and did excellent but, as you saw, we decided to take him off and decided to go a little bit more attack-minded. That was through no fault of what he did wrong. Just sometimes tactical things that you decide to do.

“With Mandy, you have got a player, I believe, who can play anywhere on the pitch, he is that good and that reliable.

“And it was a good time to give Frecks a game and I thought he was excellent. He is really keen and wants to learn. Sometimes when a player comes from a Premier League club they might have a ‘know it all’ mentality but there is certainly no ounce of that in the boy. He is very confident, calm and relaxed.”

Chesterfield return to action this Saturday away at newly-promoted Ebbsfleet United.