Chesterfield manager Paul Cook has a fully fit squad to choose from going into Saturday's game against Southend United and, as a result, faces difficult selection issues.With Sam Hird and Ian Evatt having served their respective suspensions against Bury last weekend, every member of the Spireites squad is available to feature on Saturday for the first time in the 2013/14 season.
This presents Cook with selection headaches for all the right reasons, particularly at centre-back, as Liam Cooper and Matty Brown shone in Chesterfield's 4-0 demolition of the Shakers on Saturday.
Speaking about the dilemma, the Spireites boss said: “It’s what managers get paid for. It’s probably the toughest decision I’ve made for a long, long time. I’ve obviously made my decision, I make them very quickly.
“If you let either of them play on Saturday it wouldn't bother me. Ian’s been absolutely outstanding lately. If you’d have seen him in training this week, you’d know that he smells that his place is up for grabs.
“Ian was the first to wish Matty well last week. Matty’s a young lad, he’s come from a non-league background and he’s been thrown in at the deep end in a couple of games. Not only did he stand up to it last Saturday, he came through it with flying colours.”
One player who won't be available to feature for Cook's side on Saturday is Gary McSheffrey, as the winger signed for Scunthorpe United until the end of the season earlier this week after his deal at the Proact Stadium came to an end.
The manager was full of praise for the former Coventry midfielder and grateful for his contribution to Chesterfield's season, he said: “There’s not many characters left in football and Gary’s a really good lad. He took to the dressing room really well. He’s had a great career and he’s got many more bright days ahead of him.
“He’s welcome back here at any time. He sent both myself and Leam [Richardson] a lovely text about this club. I think if you can let a lad go and he can text you the text that we’ve had, I think it speaks volumes for Gary as a lad.”
Chesterfield were knocked out of the FA Cup by the Shrimpers last month and looking forward to the game at Roots Hall on Saturday, the Liverpudlian expects fellow promotion rivals Southend to be tough competition. “In my opinion, they’ll be one of the teams that will definitely be promoted, I think they’re that strong," claimed the 46-year-old.
“Southend came here in December and they beat us fair and square, they were better than us on the day. I always hold my hands up and be honest when that happens. They’re the only team this year that have done that to us.”
“We played really well last Saturday, we’ve had another week’s training under our belt and everyone at this football club is looking forward to getting on that bus tomorrow to go down and try and bring three points back.”