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Match Previews

Walsall Preview

16 October 2015

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The Spireites face the daunting challenge of returning to form at the home of the league-leaders on Saturday as they travel to take on Walsall.

Defensive mistakes cost Chesterfield in last weekend's 3-1 home loss to Gillingham, and the rearguard will need to be at its tightest to earn a result at the Banks's Stadium.

Team News

The travelling Spireites are boosted by the news of two returning attacking options to the side. Striker Lee Novak has trained since Monday after a thigh injury and his manager Dean Saunders says the on-loan man is fit to go from the off in the West Midlands.

Secondly, globetrotting Gboly Ariyibi is back in training with the Spireites after three weeks in the US helping his Olympic national side to third place in CONCACAF qualifying, leading to a final play-off with Colombia in the new year for a spot in the football tournament in Rio de Janeiro next summer.

Defender James O'Connor is a doubt for the Saddlers and has been unable to train during this week after he picked up a groin strain in his side's last match, while Jason Demetriou and Neil Etheridge have returned from international duty.

Walsall will be further buoyed by news that boss Dean Smith has signed a new contract with the club following an approach for his services from Rotherham United earlier this month.

Form Guide

Chesterfield's loss at home to Gillingham last Saturday means the Spireites have lost four of their last five league games and have the intimidating prospect of a trip to the league leaders to turn things around.

Walsall's top-of-the-table win over Burton Albion last Saturday sent them to the top of the Sky Bet League 1 standings and a six game league unbeaten streak has been built on the backbone of a miserly defence: conceding just six so far in the league this season.

To supplement their stiff backline attackers Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Sawyers have scored ten goals between them as Smith's men sit with the joint best goal difference in the league.

Last year the sides scored a 1-0 home win a piece in their two encounters. Bradshaw scored the only goal for the hosts at the Banks's Stadium, while Sam Hird ensured the play-off pace gathered for the Spireites with the only goal of the game last March.

From the Dugout

In his pre-match press conference Saunders spoke about the importance of avoiding mistakes at the back, something he felt cost his side dearly last time out.

"You've got to make sure you don't beat yourself," he said. "Last week we beat ourselves giving away goals that we shouldn't have given away.

"We've got a good game coming up against Walsall who are good team and a good footballing team - we're going to have to defend well and take our chances when they come."

Saunders also spoke of the squad consistency that has aided sides like Walsall this campaign and spoke of how he is trying to breed a similar dynamic within his Spireites squad.

"Winning helps, as well as not getting any injuries," he explained. "Then you don't have to change the right-back or the left-back as we have. You also look for players to be consistent, especially at the back.

"I want us to carry on playing the football we're playing, we're playing some great football - I want us to play in an attacking way. I don't want us to shut up shop and bang the ball forwards, no one wants to see that.

"We have to fight through this patch and we're going to have ups and downs. The model of the club is that we play good football and we'll bring young players through and then ask where the next players are coming from; I'll give them the chance to play."
For those unable to get to the Banks's Stadium remember that you can follow all the Spireites' progress through the club's official media channels. They include:

- Full live commentary on PlayerHD
- Facebook score updates
- Images on Instagram
- Minute-by-minute coverage on the club's official Twitter handle

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