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Play-off dress rehearsal?

2 May 2015

Nigel Clough hopes Sunday's clash against Chesterfield will prove to be a dress rehearsal for the Sky Bet League One play-off final, which will take place at Wembley later this month.

Speaking ahead of the fixture against the Spireites, Clough has spoken of the mutual respect between himself and his counterpart, Paul Cook, and their respective staffs and the Blades boss says Chesterfield's progress this season hasn't surprised him.

But with both clubs looking to finish as high as possible at the weekend, Clough says friendships will be put on hold, although he acknowledges it would be a fantastic final for the region, should the pair win their respective semi-finals to secure a place in the showpiece at the national stadium on Sunday 24th May.

Looking ahead, the United chief remarked: "We said at the start of the season that Chesterfield could do very well and although they have probably surpassed expectations, they are where they are on merit.

"They have nothing to lose from now on and that makes them a very dangerous opponent both on Sunday and possibly beyond. It would certainly be a fantastic game at Wembley should we both make it and I am sure Paul would say the same, but we are both just focused on making sure our respective sides are walking out there at the end of the month."

On what Cook has achieved at the Proact Stadium this term, Clough added: "Chesterfield are in the play-offs, whilst Rochdale and Fleetwood have both had excellent campaigns following promotion from League Two and all should be commended.

"But for me it just shows what unity, momentum and togetherness can do at a club, Paul has added well to his squad and coped admirably with the loss of Eoin Doyle to Cardiff City in January.

"Some people might have thought they might struggle following his departure but they have been consistent all season and have some excellent players.

"They have lasted the pace and will be quietly confident about their chances."

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