'Right decision' for Southend United-Chesterfield match to go ahead, coach says
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The game was in doubt after three Shrimpers players received international call-ups. In the Football League, that would be enough for a club to request a fixture to be postponed, but no such rule exists in the National League. As far as the Spireites are concerned, it is the correct decision for the match to be on.
Coach Danny Webb said: “There were probably a few people in the Southend end that would have liked it to have been called-off for certain reasons. But like with any weather or travel problems, we always plan for it to be on and stay professional, because then you are not caught off-guard. The game is going ahead and rightly so.”
Asked whether the speculation at the start of the week had been a distraction, he replied: "No, not at all. To be successful you have to overcome all sorts of hurdles and barriers. Southend have got their reasons for wanting it called-off, the league has said it is on, so we get on with it and look to get the three points. With the run we are on, we wanted to keep that run of games going.”
Given Southend’s thin squad, the hosts will probably not be able to fill their bench, which could mean Chesterfield’s subs prove to be the difference.
Webb explained: "The manager has said this morning that the subs, in a weird way, are more important for Chesterfield because of how they can impact the game. He likes to bring on his flair players and, as we saw against Barnet, those who came on affected the game in a positive light and we have got to continue that against Southend.”
Webb said he has a ‘soft spot’ for Southend, a club his dad David managed, but admitted that all ‘sympathy’ would have to go out of the window for 90 minutes on Saturday. And although the Shrimpers find themselves 16th after being deducted 10 points, as well as being under a transfer embargo, the Spireites are fully aware of how strong the are. They have won seven out of nine at home and have the best home defensive record in the league.
"Southend have not been able to fill their bench recently but their starting 11 is very strong,” Webb said. “Without the points deduction they would be up in the play-offs. They are a good team. I am sure Kev (Maher) would want more than 13 or 14 available, but sadly that is the situation they are in. We have highlighted some of their threats to the players this morning – they are a good team. I am sure Kev, behind closed doors, will be whispering ‘play-offs’ because, for me, they certainly won’t be down near the bottom at the end of the season. This is not a wounded animal we are playing – this is a very good football team.”
As well as being tight at the back, Southend also have one of the league’s top scorers in Harry Cardwell, who has 11 goals in 18 games.
Webb added: "They have got a centre-forward who is very powerful and he ticks a lot of boxes. They play a formation that suits them. They are organised and within that they have got some good creative players and some destroyers who can break up play. They are good at the back and they have got a goalscorer so they are a force to be reckoned with. I don’t think they will fear us coming into town. And we are not going to be taking their league position for granted because we know without the points they would be higher up in the league.”