Chesterfield: Smith gives it straight

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Spireites caretaker boss Mark Smith will initially be hoping to get his squad back to playing with confidence, particularly at home.

Just two wins at the Proact this season was the major problem associated with Dean Saunders’ reign as manager and Smith will be hoping his experienced players step up to the plate for the weekend’s home FA Cup tie with managerless Walsall, who lost Dean Smith to Brentford on Monday.

Jay O’Shea, an ever-present this season, is eagerly anticipating the game, but he knows where the season’s aim remains. The Irishman said: “Walsall is a game we are looking forward to, but we need to be looking forward to the league and getting as many points as possible. It would be nice to go on a cup run but I think the most important thing for everyone is to start picking up points in the league.”

On Spireites’ general form he added: “The lads need to pull their socks up and just keep working hard and I am sure they’ll do it. Everyone has not been performing well enough and we have to get it together for the next few games.

“But we know we have got enough in the dressing room to get us out of this and you know what the league is like, it is very tight. We have been on bad runs before, and a couple of wins in this tight league, it gets you straight back up there. We need to do it as quick as we can or we’ll find ourselves in a relegation battle, that’s the reality of it.”

Smith’s biggest task this week will be how to shape his back four; Dan Jones broke an ankle last weekend as the defence conceded four more goals to take the level of concessions to 12 in four games. Ritchie Humphreys, Chris Herd or rookie Dion Donahue will all be considered, as will Drew Talbot.

Right-back has been a major problem this season with Talbot, Sam Hird, Chris Herd and Liam O’Neil all featuring there in the last few games under Saunders.