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Gaffer Praises Subs' Impact

9 February 2013

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Chesterfield boss Paul Cook heaped praise on both of his substitutes after Jack Lester and Ivorian forward Armand Gnanduillet stepped off the bench to fire the Spireites to within four points of the League Two play-off places.

The evergreen Lester replaced Marc Richards midway through the first half after the former Port Vale man was withdrawn following complaints over a tight hamstring and he put the seal on a hard-fought 2-0 win over rock-bottom AFC Wimbledon after Gnanduillet had teed him up seven minutes from time.

The former Le Havre youngster had earlier given the hosts the lead, opening his body up to convert a delightful curling effort into the far corner beyond the grasp of a despairing Neil Sullivan after sublime work on the left from Nathan Smith and Drew Talbot.

It was a much-needed win for the hosts, who had mustered just one victory in their previous six outings before the visit of Neal Ardley's struggling side.

"There's no problems when you win 2-0," said Cookie to Spireites Player after having a quick shower.

"Goals, clean sheet, great day and everyone goes home happy.

"It was a fantastic day for everyone at the club, a great day for Jack [Lester] and Armand [Gnanduillet], getting the goals. Great finishes by them both and defensively, we were solid.

"It was always going to be difficult, the pitch isn't great at the minute and we've spoken about being effective with plan B and Armand certainly helps to be effective with plan B because all of a sudden you have that physical presence and a bit of pace and it helps the other striker.

"I thought both goals were taken very well, great credit to both players and especial mention to Jack obviously.

"We all know if Jack gets chances like that he will score goals, that's the nature of the lad.

"There's been a lot of documentation about what goes on, but we all want to see Jack on the pitch scoring goals like that and we all know he can't go on forever. 

"That's just the disappointment, trying to keep him happy and everyone on side. All we want to do is win.

"In my opinion it was a great day for everyone at the club, all the office staff as well. It sets us up for the week, we go to Rotherham next week and everyone knows the importance of that. We'll go there on the back of a win and the support we'll take, our eyes firmly go to that game now."

The Liverpudlian was without the services of the Football League's Player of the Month for December 2012, Tendayi Darikwa, after the Nottingham-born youngster was forced to have surgery on a hernia.

Drew Talbot returned from injury, while captain Sam Hird was thrust into midfield alongside Sam Togwell to make way for the former Luton man. Mark Randall also returned to the side after an impressive cameo at Spotland, but Cook reserves special praise for his captain who is increasingly becoming a utility man.

"I thought Sam Hird was brilliant today," he added.

"I criticised him last week in the dressing room because I want him to organise and lead more, he was all of that today and deserves a big pat on the back.

"I know our supporters want success quick, it's hard. We beat ourselves up every day, we come in and work harder. We do everything we can to make this club successful and there's no-one who wants results more than us. 

"So today, the likes of Sam moves in there, he's played right-back, centre-half and in midfield and he played like a captain today.

"Not that he hasn't in other games, I was concerned with Rochdale's chance in stoppage time because I thought he should have organised us better. I thought today, he organised us. We were strong, it's a great credit to us defensively."

The Spireites make the short journey to the New York Stadium next week to face local rivals Rotherham United and they sit just three points behind Steve Evans' big-spenders.

The former Accrington boss was coy about the visit of the Dons after a 1-1 draw with Rochdale, but Cook wasn't as cryptic with his message this time round.

"I said this week's game was not a must win game, there's no such thing," Cookie revealed with a wry smile. 

"Next week's game is just another game, there's another three points at stake and we'll approach it the same way. 

"Work it our for yourself, we know it's a big game and we'll prepare properly not to let our supporters down in any shape or form.

You can watch Cookie's interview in full exclusively on Spireites Player

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