Chesterfield: Cook underlines importance of Shrimps clash ahead of JPT final

Spireites boss Paul Cook on the sidelines at Buxton by Tina Jenner
Spireites boss Paul Cook on the sidelines at Buxton by Tina Jenner
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Chesterfield boss Paul Cook says tonight’s League Two clash against Morecambe has a cup final feel to it, as his side look to pick up three much-needed points to give their automatic promotion push a timely shot in the arm.

Spireites are at Wembley for the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Sunday, when they come up against Peterborough United, but Cook believes the visit of Jim Bentley’s Shrimps is as important - if not more so.

“We’ve got a cup final here tomorrow night,” he said on Monday. “It’s the biggest game I’ve had since I’ve been at the club. In my opinion it’s bigger than Wembley. It’s only three points and if we were to lose tomorrow night we’re not out of the race, but it’s a big game for us as a football club.”

Chesterfield slipped to third in the table, three points behind league leaders Rochdale, following a goalless draw with bitter rivals Mansfield Town on Saturday. The manager said after the game he needed to lift his players after a run of games which has seen them pick up one win in six.

But he warned of Morecambe’s threat, which was demonstrated in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign when Spireites threw away a three goal lead at half-time to eventually lose 4-3, which has seen them hold a mid-table position - nine points from the drop and seven points from the play-offs.

Cook said: “Morecambe on their day can beat anyone. They are a strong side as we found out at their stadium. They will be a difficult opponent. We’ve got to have that focus now, that steely determination that when we’re struggling we find a way to win.”

He added: “That’s what good teams do when things aren’t going so well. We’ve worked so hard this year to be in the position we’re in.

“We need to make Morecambe as uncomfortable as possible from the first minute to the last.”

Cook confirmed winger Jamie Devitt, who is on loan at Morecambe from Chesterfield, will not be available for Bentley’s side. Dan Gardner and Drew Talbot were back in training yesterday morning after time out on the sidelines with injury.