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Now's The Time For Skipper Hird

10 February 2013

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Chesterfield captain Sam Hird revealed his satisfaction after a thoroughly professional performance saw his side comfortably dispatch of rock-bottom AFC Wimbledon on a chilly February afternoon at the Proact Stadium on Saturday.

Ivorian striker Armand Gnanduillet stepped off the bench at half-time with the game delicately poised at 0-0 before going on to score his first goal in English football and also tee up Jack Lester to wrap the points up seven minutes from time.

It was only the Spireites second win of 2013 after a dismal start to the new year, but after playing his first 90 minutes in the middle of midfield this season, the captain insisted it was one his side fully merited.

"I thought we were well worth the three points today," the skipper revealed after the game.

"I thought it was a good, disciplined performance. To be honest, the pitch isn't in the best condition now with the weather and I thought we dealt with it well as well as playing some good football and being organised.

"I enjoyed it," Hird said about his first appearance in midfield.

"I've played there quite a bit for Doncaster, so i'm used to it more than when I was filling for Drew at right-back so i'm more than accustomed to it.

"When we played 4-4-2, it is hard work. But when we played with a three, you're able to get on the ball and move it and things are a bit easier."

Former Port Vale striker Marc Richards was given the go ahead to start by manager Paul Cook after passing a late fitness test, but following complaints over a tight hamstring he was withdrawn midway through the first half for Lester.

Mark Randall also made way at half-time for the former Le Havre striker Gnanduillet and the Ivorian's introduction paid dividends inside 15 minutes when he popped up to convert Danny Whitaker's neat cutback with a confident finish.

The Liverpudlian revealed he was delighted with the impact his substitutes had against the Dons and his sentiments were also echoed by Hird.

"It seemed to do the trick," he added.

"The formation the gaffer likes and that we looked solid in the first-half, you see a lot of the ball and we moved it well but we lacked a little bit of penetration.

"But on the flip side of that, you've got good organisation and you could say the reason we went on to win the game was because of that.

"Armand came on and took his goal well and so did Jack.

"Obviously we were organised and disciplined, but at times we played some good football on a pitch that with the weather is getting a lot worse. It was good link up play by Smudger [Nathan Smith] and Whits [Danny Whitaker] and I think overall they played really well."

Town moved to within just three points of local rivals Rotherham United and four points adrift of the League Two play-off places following the win ahead of their first ever trip to the New York Stadium next Saturday.

High-flying Gillingham and Aldershot Town then visit Whittington Moor at the end of February, before a gruelling March sees the Spireites play five out of seven fixtures on the road in a jam-packed fixture schedule and Hird knows that it is now or never if his side are to give themselves any chance of an immediate return to the third tier.

"It'll be a good game, a great atmosphere and we're hoping to give the fans something to shout about.

"Two or three wins in a row and things can change quickly, Looking at the table now we are four points off the play-offs and we're confident of putting a run together and if we're going to do it then now's the time."

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

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