Spireites hope to get promotion back on track against Wimbledon

Chesterfield FC manager Paul Cook.
Chesterfield FC manager Paul Cook.

Chesterfield FC are working to put their promotion push back on track tonight, Tuesday, March 11, against Wimbledon after two disappointing League Two results.

The Spireites have been dealt a blow following a 0-0 draw at home to Portsmouth last Monday and a 1-3 away defeat to Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Tonight the Blues face AFC Wimbledon away at The Cherry Red Records Stadium from 7.45pm with the Spireites having suffered some injuries including news that Dan Gardner could be out for many weeks after he was hurt during the Stanley clash.

Gardner was forced to go off after being on the receiving end of a challenge which resulted in Stanley’s Peter Murphy being sent off.

Blues’ Manager Paul Cook said: “We’re waiting for Dan Gardner to see a specialist. We don’t think it’s a fracture but he could be out for a period of time.”

Cook also conceded the Blues had suffered “a couple of knocks and problems” regarding injuries but remained positive his team, which still sits top of League Two, could get its promotion push back on track.

He added: “We believe we’ve got enough to get over the line. My job is that we keep going.”

Cook described The Cherry Red Stadium as a difficult place to go to despite Wimbledon’s inconsistent results which have left them 16th in League Two.

Cook added: “Wimbledon’s Neil Ardley is a bright young manager and he was a very good player. His team have had inconsistencies but Wimbledon is a difficult place to go to.

“It’s important to just focus on this next game. We need to get back to being Chesterfield FC and just playing the way we can and that will get us over the line.

“We’ve got a chance of winning the league because we’re great going forward.”

As Cook’s side approach the final ten league games of the season he added: “We look forward to the game, we really do because every game now people are looking at league tables more and who everyone’s playing.

“My job’s to make sure that it’s the same as it was in September and October in that if you play well the likelihood is that you’ll win the game.”

He added: “I’m always confident, I’ve never doubted my group, never from day one. We went over the beliefs we have in them and what we set out at the start of the season to do.

“We’re in a fantastic position. We set out at the start of the season to try and be promoted, whether that be in the play-offs, automatic or as champions - promotion’s promotion.”

The Dons have revealed they will have a virtually a fully fit squad available as they too will be looking to bounce back from a 0-1 defeat at home to York on Saturday.

Following Accrington Stanley’s assistant manager Paul Stephenson and Cook’s sending-offs during the heated Accrington Stanley game, Cook explained he had felt Accrington Stanley staff had been trying to influence the referee. He admitted he had gone over to them and told them in “no uncertain terms” that the ref should be allowed to get on with the game.

Cook revealed only last week that he had been pleased to learn he was not going to receive a suspension or fine after a sending-off at Wycombe and hopes the same will apply after the Stanley game.

The Spireites are also looking into recruitment with the prospect of new players to strengthen their squad.

Cook said: “We’re looking to strengthen the squad to make us better. The recruitment for this club going forward will make us better. We’re always looking for players. A fresh face coming into the club will help everybody.”

As the Spireites face possible title honours and a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final on March 30, Cook was also quick to dispel any jitters.

He said: “Everyone gets nervous and agitated at this stage of the year, but sometimes we have to take a step back. My job is that we keep going.”