There’s certainly never a dull moment being a Chesterfield (Cashterfield?) supporter this season.
After Chief Executive John Croot predicted the global pandemic and bought an insurance policy which paid the type of finance to bankroll a string of big money signings, the Spireites looked unstoppable for the first half of this season.
Up until a 3-2 defeat at Maidenhead United in mid-January, they had won 13 National League matches, made the third round of the FA Cup and had a striker in Kabongo Tshimanga who literally could not stop scoring.
But, that loss in Berkshire is where things started to go wrong. Having lost that match, then-manager James Rowe signed Yeovil’s top-scorer Joe Quigley (it’s still our fault he left by the way, Glovers’ fans) and he played in a goalless draw at home to Aldershot Town which followed.
Poor old Joe, the following Monday, the manager who signed him had been suspended amid allegations of misconduct which led to him being dismissed and former Glovers’ player Danny Webb was placed in charge.
To be fair to Webb, who had a fairly anonymous spell on the Huish Park staff, he picked up two wins and a draw (the latter coming against fellow big spenders, $tockport County) before he was replaced by Paul Cook, a legend in the Peak District having managed the club out of League Two in 2014.
But, in his first game in charge, Tshimanga suffered a horrific leg break down at W*ymouth in a match they drew thanks to a late equaliser and then last weekend midfielder Jak McCourt was stretchered off in the 3-2 home defeat to Solihull Moors and is out for the season.
They followed that up with the defeat at home to Wrexham on Tuesday night, after which, Cook said: “At the minute with suspensions and injuries, it’s horrific but we can’t make excuses, we can’t think we’re not where we want to be.
“That disappointment must be felt and we’re feeling it at the minute, but that’s the thing that drives you on to be more successful.
“We’ve had a really good season to date and won a lot of football games, but at the moment it’s not going for us and we’ve got to take that medicine and get better.”
FROM THE MANAGER
Speaking after the midweek defeat against fellow big-spenders Wrexham, Chesterfield manager Paul Cook called on the club’s fans to stick with the team:
“We’re a little bit of a blip and, when you are going through it like we are, if you don’t take your chances, it will come back to bite you and it did tonight.
“It’s a tough league and at the moment we’re feeling a bit flattened out, my job is to lift the players and make sure we don’t feel the same going in to the next few games.
“Our fans know what we are going through behind-the-scenes, that is obvious, we are going through a bit of pain and we need to stick together to make sure that pain goes away.”
In front of the BT Sport cameras, Cook said the weekend’s game gives his side an opportunity to bounce back from a recent run of poor form:
“It’s a big opportunity for us in front of the cameras (against Yeovil) and then we have Notts County and Southend, they’re all good games for us.
“If we want to be in that shake up at the end of the season, we must win games so the next game is a big one.”
Injuries and suspensions? There’s quite a number at Technique Stadium, Chesterfield. It is probably simplest to list them out…..
Gavin Gunning – missing since the FA Cup third round tie at Chelsea on January 8 with a shin and calf injury, thought to be approaching fitness.
Luke Croll – suffered a knee injury in the draw with Stockport, not expected to return until towards the end of this season.
Haydn Hollis – injured his Achilles and is out for the season.
George Carline – last season’s player of the year suffered a bad injury in October and seems likely to be out for the season.
Manny Oyeleke – looked superb against us at Huish Park but out for four to six weeks with a torn calf.
Jak McCourt – suffered serious ligament damage in last weekend’s home defeat to Solihull Moors, will be unavailable.
Jack Clarke – former Yeovil loanee out for the season with a hamstring injury.
Curtis Weston – suspended for a red card against Solihull
Kabongo Tshimanga – suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle in the draw at W*ymouth earlier this month.
Danny Rowe – not featured since October due to an ongoing “health issue”.
But, in better news for our hosts this weekend, right wing-back Jeff King is back after serving his suspension for a red card at Stockport, and striker Tom Denton and midfielder Joe Rowley both impressed Cook having come off the substitutes’ bench in midweek.
Denton scored Chesterfield’s winner in the days before their money at Huish Park last season, whilst Rowley impressed whilst on loan at King’s Lynn Town in their opening day win over the Glovers.
A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
If a few weeks ago you had asked us to name two ex-players who we were fearful of facing for Chesterfield, midfielder Tom Whelan and (still) our top-scorer Joe Quigley would not have been our first picks.
More likely we’d have gone for free-scoring striker Kabongo Tshimanga, who probably does look back on his time at Huish Park with a great deal of fondness, and one-time loanee Jack Clarke, who was awful in green and white but impressed in the blue of Chesterfield.
The latter two are injured, but the former two seem likely to be among those we face on Saturday. Whelan is facing us for the third time having played against us twice for Eastleigh this season and is undoubtedly a talented playmaker, whilst Quigley has suffered a torrid time since moving north but remains our top-scorer.
Goalkeeper Scott Loach is the other player expected to be in the visitors’ starting XI who has been in both camps is goalkeeper Scott Loach, who played six times during a one-month loan spell at Huish Park in 2015.
In the Yeovil side of the pitch, Glovers’ keeper Grant Smith and striker Adi Yussuf both turned out for the visitors’ last season.
Smith played 18 times after joining Chesterfield in the second half of last season, whilst Yussuf scored twice in a 10-game spell on loan at Chesterfield whilst a Blackpool player last season.
Going back even further, Glovers’ full-back Mark Little had a spell on loan at Chesterfield from Wolves in 2009-10.
Even Chesterfield first-team coach Danny Webb has Yeovil Town connections after following his dad, former Glovers’ manager and owner David, to the club. He played seven times in a couple of years at Huish Park, but failed to score.
As ever, there’s a fair list of players who have done time with both clubs, so we’ve stuck with the ones who will have some involvement this weekend, here’s a few others:
- Mike Hughes
- Daniel Johnson
- Marc Richards
- Nathan Smith
- Terrell Forbes
- Martin Gritton
- Adam Rooney
There’s probably more, but that’s enough to be getting on with.
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