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Clay: 'We Need To Be More Clinical'

27 January 2013

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Chesterfield midfielder Craig Clay insists that the Spireites can still clinch an automatic promotion place, although they have got to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to clinch an immediate return back to League One.

The Spireites succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of fellow promotion chasers Southend United at an arctic Proact Stadium on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of Gavin Tomlin's 86th minute strike.

The former Yeovil Town striker capitalised on an error from Sam Togwell to race clear of the offside trap and convert past a helpless Tommy Lee to give the Shrimpers a smash and grab three points.

"We played some good football, we absolutely battered them to be fair but they had one chance and took it," Clay told the club's media staff at full-time.

"The first 10 minutes, you've got to earn the right to play, win your battles and stay strong and after that play football. We pinned them in their half till half-time and we were playing good football, but their goal was just one of those things.

"After the first 15 minutes, it was all us. It was free-flowing, everyone wanted the ball. I'm sure it was good to watch from the sidelines, but we should have made it count with a goal. We know we can play good football, we've just got to be a bit more clinical."

Following loan spells at Barrow and Alfreton, Clay has forced his way into contention this season having made 20 appearances for the first-team.

Currently keeping former Arsenal trainee Mark Randall out of the side, the Nottinhgam-born youngsters enjoying a new lease of life under Paul Cook alongside Sam Togwell and behind a three-pronged attack of Danny Whitaker and Tendayi Darikwa either side of Jay O'Shea and lone striker Marc Richards.

And Clay is delighted with how things of gone for him so far this season.

"On a personal note, i'm happy to be playing," he added. 

"I've just got to work hard throughout the week during training and make sure I am still in the team. I'll do everything I can to stay in the team.

"I'm happy to play anywhere, as a 20-year-old all I want to be doing is playing football.

"Obviously I came through the youth team with Tendayi [Darikwa] and he's from Nottingham as well. I know him quite well and i'm happy for him, he's doing quite well. Let's hope he can keep it up and his dream is to play in the Premier League, so hopefully he can make it.

"Whits [Danny Whitaker] is the king of head tennis and you can tell Jay O'Shea has dropped down a few leagues, he is a quality player as well and i'm sure they'll count for us for the rest of the season.

Ivorian striker Armand Gnanduillet joined up with the squad at Whittington Moor during the week and the Liverpudlian handed the under 23 international his debut with a five minute cameo following Tomlin's shock strike.

His introduction almost yielded the desired impact too, but he couldn't divert his header goalwards to complete a fairytale debut although Clay revealed he certainly hasn't been shy of making himself known in training.

"When it was snowing we went down to the college and he was just smashing people, so you do want him on your side!

"He looks naturally fit and strong, so i'm sure he can benefit us for the rest of the season. He had a chance when he came on so when he gets used to English football he'll benefit us.

"All the lads still believe we can get automatic promotion if we go on a winning streak like we have done."

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

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