The inside track on Chesterfield ahead of Hartlepool United visit – playing style, manager, players and form discussed
With Hartlepool United set to host Chesterfield in the National League this evening (7:45pm kick-off), we have the inside view on the Spireites.
The two former Football League sides are both in much need of a win at Victoria Park tonight with Pools looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats while Chesterfield are searching for only their second win of the campaign.
The Spireites currently sit second bottom of the National League table with eight points from their opening 12 games. As one of the pre-season favourites for promotion, their start has certainly taken many by surprise.
Pools are nine places and seven points above the Derbyshire outfit in the table and will be looking to move back into play-off contention with a win. Craig Hignett’s side currently lie four points outside the top seven.
Ahead of tonight’s clash, we spoke to Chesterfield reporter Liam Norcliffe from our sister title, the Derbyshire Times, to get the inside track on Pools’ opponents.
Here’s what he had to say...
What's your assessment of Chesterfield so far this season?
Chesterfield started the season as one of the promotion favourites after finishing strong under manager John Sheridan in the last campaign after he took over in January.
There was a lot of optimism around the club but the Spireites started dreadfully with no wins in their first 10 matches and they slumped to the bottom of the National League after defeat to Bromley earlier this month.
Town got their first three points with a 1-0 win at home to Torquay United the following week but took a massive step back with a 4-0 loss away at Sutton United on Saturday.
Sheridan still does not know his best starting line-up due to a lack of consistency. He has only named the same starting 11 once this season.
They have been leaking goals at the back and have the third worst defence in the league with 23 goals conceded.
How would you sum up the job John Sheridan has done in his time in charge?
This is his second spell in charge of Chesterfield after winning the League Two title and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy the first time around.
He returned to the Proact in January this year and guided them away from the relegation zone, eventually finishing 15th after taking over from previous boss Martin Allen.
Sheridan made Chesterfield hard to beat and got them keeping clean sheets and winning at home, hence the surprise at the start they have made this campaign.
Despite the poor results, the club's owner and board have given him their backing and only recently said more funds would be made available to him to bring in some new players.
What can Hartlepool expect in terms of style of play from Chesterfield?
Sheridan likes his team to keep the ball on the floor, get it out wide and put crosses into the box.
The problem for the Spireites this season is that they lose possession of the ball far too cheaply and it is often dangerous areas.
There is a lack of pace in the team but they have just signed left winger Gevaro Nepomuceno on loan from Oldham Athletic until January who should help with that.
Big target man Tom Denton has just returned from injury and made his first of the season in the 1-0 win against Torquay so don't be surprised if he starts and Town look to go a little bit longer in their passing at times.
Who are the key men for Chesterfield?
Striker Scott Boden has five goals to his name so far and if he and Denton can play up front regularly now that Denton is back from injury then Chesterfield should start getting a few positive results.
There are high hopes for Nepomuceno who has just joined on loan from Oldham. The Latics fans seemed disappointed to lose him.
Centre-back Will Evans was voted Chesterfield's Player of the Year last season and although he has not been at his best so far this campaign he is still an important player for Sheridan's men.
What are the expectations for Chesterfield this season?
The Spireites were tipped as one of the favourites for promotion this season but with just one win in 12 so far and sitting second bottom of the National League I think the majority of fans are expecting another season of struggle unfortunately.
How have Chesterfield's new signings settled in?
The biggest performer from Sheridan's signings has been striker Mike Fondop who joined a couple of weeks into the season from Wrexham. He scored two goals on his debut and bagged five in five. He has scored a couple of great headers in the box but needs to work on his all round game.
Any other news from the club?
After achieving their first win of the season against Torquay, Anthony Gerrard got himself involved in a Twitter spat with a fan which led to him being stripped of the captain's armband and being slapped with a hefty fine. The fan has had his season ticket cancelled and been banned from attending home matches for three years so absolutely nothing good came of their row.