Ross Fitzsimons relishing 'sweeper keeper' role at in-form Chesterfield

Ross Fitzsimons is relishing the ‘sweeper keeper’ role he has been tasked with taking on at Chesterfield.
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The 28-year-old has recorded three clean sheets on the bounce, taking his tally to 10 in 30 games this season.

The stopper has been challenged with sweeping up behind the high defensive line and he has received lots of deserved plaudits for his performance.

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He said: “I am adapting my game a little bit. I have taken on this sweeper keeper role. I am happy with where I am at and long may it continue. I have always been comfortable with the ball at my feet. I think it is just about being a bit more aggressive with my starting positions and covering those channels a little bit quicker really. I have done the sweeper keeper role but not as effectively as I have here.

Ross Fitzsimons.Ross Fitzsimons.
Ross Fitzsimons.

“It has been a while since I have had three (clean sheets) on the spin. I think for the boys it just breeds confidence and it is good for everyone at the club.”

Fitzsimons, who has now started the last 12 matches, secured another shut-out in the 2-0 win against Halifax on Saturday.

“I thought it was an excellent performance,” he told the DT. “They (Halifax) came out of the blocks in the first 10-15 minutes so we had to get to grips with what their strengths and weaknesses were. Once we gauged that I think it was pretty much one-way traffic for 75-80 minutes.”

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The goals came in each from Ollie Banks and Armando Dobra and Fitzsimons was full of praise for his team-mates.

On Banks, he said: “Take away the goals, he is massively effective in the way we play. Most of the ball comes through him, he is an excellent passer of the ball, probably one of the best in the division, and to add goals to his game is just the cherry on the cake.”

And on Dobra, he added: “He is a massive player for us. When he first got injured we missed him. It is great that he is back, he is a constant threat wherever he is on the pitch.”

The win against the Shaymen extends Chesterfield’s unbeaten run to six games ahead of a trip to Maidenhead United this weekend.

“There are seven games to go and we have got to carry this form on into the play-offs,” he added.