Dowie responds to Chesterfield disaster

Last updated : 15 January 2002 By The Chairman
Darren Sheridan faces a long lay-off after injuring ankle ligaments at Chesterfield on Saturday. Sheridan was
victim of a bad second-half tackle and Athletic fear he will be out for several weeks. The fiery midfielder, who
had been sent off in his two previous games, again departed early, but this time on a stretcher. Athletic – beaten
4-2 at Saltergate after going two goals up – will have to reshape their team for the visit of Swindon this week.

Paul Rickers could be in contention for Wednesday’s match as he steps up his comeback from knee problems.
The 26-year-old has been made available for loan or transfer by Athletic, but the fact he can play at full-back or
anywhere across the midfield is a useful asset. Barry Prenderville, who hasn’t made a senior appearance since
October, was also due to return.
Iain Dowie defended the decision which allowed on-loan Mark Allott to play for Chesterfield on Saturday.
Unlike Mark Innes, the 23-year-old forward hasn’t left Athletic permanently. And it’s common practice for
such players to be kept out against their full-time club. Dowie explained that he and Mick Wadsworth, who was
unavailable after the game, made the agreement before David Reeves signed for Athletic.

The first-team coach added: “We all have a lot of time for Mark Allott, but we wanted David to play in this one
so it became part of the deal. And, with all due respect, we haven’t seen that sort of energetic performance from
Mark in our time at the club. Everything is easier with hindsight, but he did very well so good luck to the lad.
Mark Innes also played well, although you wouldn’t have mentioned either of them as features until
Chesterfield got their first goal. What concerns myself and Mick is the way the team was out-fought and
out-battled, which is something we never expect to happen. I always say you learn more from losing than you
do from winning, so we’ll look at this defeat very closely.”

“It’s about accountability, and in the second half Chesterfield showed more passion and spirit than we did.
There will be a lot of hard work after this and they have to improve, otherwise different players will be tried.
After three clean sheets in a row, we have conceded 11 goals (against Cheltenham, Blackpool and Chesterfield)
and there were some poor defensive decisions. We work hard on the training pitch and you sometimes wonder
whether what you’re saying will ever sink in — you shouldn’t have to repeat yourself four or five times.”

“We’ve still only lost two league games, but at the same time it’s three in a row and there has to be strength of
character. I’m a positive person and I’ll go into the club bright and lively, which I also expect from the players.
We will ask questions of them and see if they are man enough to hold on to 2-0 leads. This is a blip. The
performance was as poor as we’ve had, both defensively and offensively, and it will not continue.”

Dave Rushbury, Chesterfield’s caretaker-manager, was delighted with his first game in charge. He said: “We
looked ring-rusty in the first half, but Mark Allott’s effort and the passing ability of Mark Innes really helped us
after that. What a bunch of lads we have in that dressing room to come back from 2-0 down. They fought like
tigers. I don’t think Oldham could believe they were two up because they hadn’t really created much, but I said
at the time the fairytale might come true. We changed things round because we thought we could get something
from the game — and by crikey we did.”