The Thursday Preview: Chesterfield Vs Aldershot

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 in The Thursday Preview | No Comments
Between ourselves and fellow Football League websites The Seventy Two and Soccer AM/MW, coverage of Chesterfield Football Club’s 2010-11 has been scant thus far – surprising given the club’s arrival in a new home and subsequent ascent to a comfortable first place in League Two. With the Derbyshire men a full eleven points clear of fourth placed Bury, it was high time we put this oversight right.

John Sheridan was one of the most under rated playmakers of his day – veritably hero worshipped at Leeds, he was a cornerstone of Sheffield Wednesday’s last great side, scooping a Cup Final winner and gracing the fields of Orlando and East Rutherford in USA 94. His managerial record thus far also bears tough scrutiny.

At Oldham, he took the Greater Mancunians to a play off semi final and his departure came about for non-footballing reasons after a night out at Belle Vue dog track provoked heated debate. Mardy at times – indeed, “a  bit horrible” – as my fellow blogger Lloyd described him in our half season review – he’s always come across as a little snarling and combative – a tough Stretforder who wasn’t scared to support Man City as a kid, but he’s certainly beginning to confirm his status as winner.

The one time fleeting Forester has had an overarching impact on Chesterfield’s success this season. In August, our preview diagnosed the lack of support for Jack Lester as a reason for hitherto stunted progress – that’s now been sorted with ex-Latics Craig Davies and Danny Whitaker making up a genuine three pronged goal unit. Davies, whose spell at Verona lasted as long as his boss’s stint at the City Ground, has scored more than a goal every two games and Whitaker has plundered 12 from midfield.

As both have begun to tire in recent weeks, provoking some disquiet among the “glass half-full merchants” of the message boards, Sheridan has reacted well – bringing in another Boundary Parker in Deane Smalley – his two goals in a 2-0 victory over Gillingham justified that faith and if a couple of scrappy draws against Stockport and Bradford suggest a blip, a record of nine matches undefeated is still enouraging.

Management has also been key at the home of Saturday’s opponents Aldershot, with Dean Holdsworth describing the team’s results since his recent arrival from Newport as a “microwave month”. No, I don’t really know what he’s on about either – but a man whom, along with Chris Sutton, one never foresaw as a future helmsman as a player, is proving a lot of people wrong. His spell in Gwent was terrific and if the Shots are still way short of last season’s over achieving play off heroics, the recent wins over Crewe and Bradford instilled much heart.

Captain and defensive ballast Anthony Charles scored the winner against the Bantams, but it’s unlikely recruit Jermaine McGlashan who has provided some of this season’s primary highlights. If his name, like Reading’s Jobi McAnuff recalls both Detroit and Dunbar, this wingside arrival from Middlesex’s Ashford Town has been a tick in the credit column for the Kevin Dillon era. With AFC Bournemouth Jamie Vincent still gracing Wessex turf, Shots are in ruder health than they have been for a while. That said, you’d have to fancy the Spireites to continue their promotion march.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.

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