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Spireite view: Selling assets hasn’t helped, but we’ve had bad luck with injuries

Chesterfield

Chesterfield fans Luke Stone and Rob Lawson are hoping their side can move up the table when key players return from injury. Here’s the lowdown on tomorrow’s opponents.

Despite selling numerous players for big money, there doesn’t look as though there has been much investment back into the squad since Paul Cook left. Is that a fair comment and where do you see the Spireites ending up this season?

LS: It is a fair and accurate comment to be honest. Chris Turner and Dave Allen have been quoted on a number of occasions saying that we need to bring in young players, improve them and then sell them on at a profit in order to pay off the debt (Hence the lack of reinvestment).

That is fair enough, but when you sell off all the best assets in one go (Like we did before the start of last season: Clucas, Darikwa, Roberts to name a few), it jeopardises any progress that we make on the pitch.

I understand that this is what we need to do to in order to progress financially as a club, but we do need to progress on the pitch as well. Unfortunately, on the evidence of the previous two seasons, that is the complete opposite to what is actually happening. Hopefully our fortunes turn around soon because the table certainly doesn’t make for good reading at the moment.

RL: There has been hardly any reinvestment back into the squad at all, and what has been brought in has been inferior. The thing that the board got wrong was after being in such a good position we sold Eion Doyle for a pittance. He had already scored 20+ goals up to December and they then go and sell him, I can’t help thinking if we had kept him he could have got in the region of 35 goals and I honestly believe we would have been promoted.

It’s a bit like Scunthorpe being top at Christmas and then selling Morris and Madden. I really hope that we can finish mid table because at the minute we are utter garbage.

Were the club banking on Championship football when backing Cook financially and is the failure to reach the Championship the reason why the purse strings have been tightened? Was the spending sustainable?

LS: I wouldn’t say that we were banking on it no. We invested a lot before the start of the League 2 season before winning the league. The players we brought in were said to be in preparation for league 1. Players like Jimmy Ryan, Sam Morsy, Liam Cooper, Ian Evatt and Eoin Doyle were all brought to the club whilst we were in League 2. When we actually got to League 1, we only really brought in Dan Jones during the pre-season.

As far as “The strings being tightened”, I don’t think they were ever really open. Not since Paul Cook’s first pre-season. We aren’t Manchester United, we are Chesterfield. We need to be careful how much we spend. Look at what happened to Portsmouth as an example. I personally feel that we need to keep some of our players together for longer and when we obviously have a good team to keep the heart of the squad together as appose to selling almost an entire team.

RL: Paul Cook in my opinion was badly let down and that is one reason he left, he knew exactly what it would take and wasn’t given the backing. Yet again I go back to the sale of Doyle and also on the grapevine he was also told his star players would be sold in the summer.

How is Danny Wilson doing as manager?

LS: As an optimist, I like to think that if we keep Ariyibi and Evans, Danny is the man to re-build us into another play-off chasing team. Unfortunately, his hands are tied somewhat at the moment with the amount of injuries we have been having. That said there is no questioning that he is a very good manager. My only worry is that some of the fans see the results and automatically get at the manager.

If that starts to happen, it can get to the players, the manager and then ultimately the board. I hope that our fans can see through the recent results and look at the bigger picture. We really do need to start winning some games though. Hopefully now some of our injured players are coming back, that will happen. If it doesn’t though, although Danny Wilson is the right man for the job, football is a results business and doesn’t always take into account any bad luck you get.

RL: Danny is doing well as we have been crippled by injuries and the cancelling of the emergency loan market has had devastating effects. I think once players start coming back we can perhaps put a decent run together but again I think mid table is the best we can hope for.

He’s said in his pre match interview that with players returning from injury, performances will improve and you’ll start to move up the table. Do you think that will be the case?

LS: I hope so. Before our injury crisis, we were about 10th I think, so Danny’s prediction makes perfect sense. When we had both Evans and McGinn on the pitch on Tuesday night, we looked like a different team. I really hope that we can get up the table soon because the relegation zone just isn’t where you want to be.

RL: Ched Evans is massive for us and it gave everyone in the ground a lift when he came on the other night and he has been a massive loss whilst out injured and of course the trial. What was a nice touch was when he came on the Fleetwood fans applauded as well.

I would like to think he may show some loyalty after we gave him his chance back and if left to him I believe he would but its Dave Allen and Chris Turner were talking about so if there is a money offer they will take it, I’m convinced.

Ched Evans made his return on Tuesday following a supposed injury and the completion of his court case. How big a player is he for Chesterfield and how long do you expect to keep hold of him? With Danny Wilson unable to confirm if the club have an option of a further year in his deal, is he likely to go in the January window?

LS: I see the angle you’re coming from on that one and I totally agree. Whenever he has played this season, he has been a massive player for us. Before his “Injury”, people were saying things like “If Evans doesn’t score, Chesterfield doesn’t win” and more often than not they were right.

When we first signed Evans, it was said that he had signed on a one year deal with an option of a second year. As a result, we don’t really need the manager to confirm it. It’s there in black and white. If he does go in January, it would mean that we would have to sell him.

I hope it doesn’t because he is a massive player for us.

RL: Players to look out for are Ricky German if he plays of course Ched Evans, Jon Nolan and Gboly Ariyibi.

Evans aside, who else should we look out for in the Chesterfield side?

LS: Striker Ricky German looks to be the latest player to make his mark. He is only 17 and yet to score a senior goal, but that is only a matter of time. He looks very dangerous and a constant threat. He has speed and power and has proven in second string games that he knows where the goal is. He will very soon be doing the same at senior level in my opinion.

Jon Nolan is looking to be a quality addition to our squad as well. He plays central midfield and gets around the pitch very well. He has a nice touch and great passing vision. This season, he has created a good partnership with Gary Liddle in midfield. Gary Liddle tends to do the dirty work and Nolan is the ball playing midfielder.

Paul McGinn as I’ve already said is another great addition for us at right back. Defensively sound and also a threat on the attack. I wouldn’t like to be playing left back against McGinn and Ariyibi. He just needs to stay fit because he has been out for about a 3 weeks with a hamstring injury.

Winger Gboly Ariyibi on his day can tear just about any defence apart. He has amazing feet and he is probably the fastest player I have ever seen. He is rumoured to be next up for sale after we turned down bids from Brentford in the summer. I hope he stays beyond January because without him, opposing full backs will breathe a sigh of relief.

RL: I think our weak players at the moment are O’Shea who is going through a confidence crisis and our so called captain Gary Liddle, who in mine and many other Spireites minds is not good enough and is certainly not captain material.

 Have you got any weak links the Iron may be able to exploit?

LS: We have conceded a lot of goals from corners this season. The main way we concede tends to be from late runners into the box and midfielders not staying with their man. Maybe this is because we like to counter attack and turn a defensive corner into an attacking opportunity? I’m not sure. Either way, we are very vulnerable from corners.

Our two central defenders are very much ball winners. They are also not particularly quick. Playing against a couple of quick strikers who are looking to get in behind, we are very vulnerable.

We have also given a fair few penalties away this season. As a result, we are either A: Liable to do it again or B: hesitant to tackle in the area. The way that Fleetwood scored on Tuesday was in part down to the fact that we were reluctant to put in a tackle within the penalty area.

RL: I am hoping for a good end to end game, but sadly I think Scunthorpe will have the beating of us.

What sort of game are you expecting and could you give us a score prediction?

LS: I honestly think we will be playing for a draw and look to hit Scunthorpe on the counter attack. When teams set up this way, one of two things usually happens. The first is that it works and you grab a hard battled 1-0 win. The latter is that you end up giving the opposition too much time in midfield and they end up hammering you (Like Sheffield United at home last year).

Hopefully we can steal a 1-0 win.

RL: I think it will be 3-1 to the Iron.

Written by Matt Blanchard

Part of the team since 2007, before becoming editor in 2013. Undertaken the role of match summariser during Scunthorpe United live match commentaries for BBC Radio Humberside. Seasonal contributor to football titles FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes and a finalist at the Football Blogging Awards in 2014.

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