It’s been the best start in over a century for a Chesterfield team that just two weeks after the end of last season didn’t have enough players in their first team to field a full 16-man squad. The departure of faces such as Danny Whittaker, Craig Westcarr and the retiring Jack Lester left Chesterfield fans with the little to look forward to as Paul Cook aimed to turn the squad into one of his own. However, with the bad comes the good and the likes of Gary Roberts, Ritchie Humphries and a returning Ian Evatt meant Chesterfield were out for promotion this year.
As pre-season favourites to go up, the Spireites have lived up to all the hype with just one defeat in all competitions so far this season and victories over the likes of Portsmouth and Bury, two teams considered very strong sides in League Two this year. Although there have only been six fixtures played Chesterfield are still seen as people’s favourites for promotion, even if it isn’t to be as champions once again.
The next three fixtures for Chesterfield are tough ones playing both third place, AFC Wimbledon at home before travelling to second place Oxford United. A defeat in either of these matches could see the tide of the table turned very early on in the season. News of Nathan Smith’s injury giving him an earlier return date than expected will be music to the ears of Paul Cook’s boys.
The season highlight so far in my eyes will be the unfortunate defeat at the hands of Leeds United. Travelling to a club who are hoping for a return to the top flight soon and taking them that extra mile is something Chesterfield can be very proud of with a performance that even Leeds United fans saw as exceptional. One United fan even claimed that if both sides played similar football for the remainder of the season they will be meeting up in League One next season on more than one occasion.
However, the early exit hasn’t seen Chesterfield disappointed and dropping just two points in the League so far this season sees them currently sat at the top of League Two. As some people say, it is only early days, but the performances shown by the Chesterfield team can only be described as promising.
Providing Chesterfield can avoid defeat to Oxford United, AFC Wimbledon and in the local derby against Mansfield Town the Spireites will see nothing stopping them and they may extend on the records they set themselves three years ago under John Sheridan, when the afore mentioned released players helped them take the League Two title. Another player involved in this feat was Deane Smalley, who rejected a contract renewal at the Proact to move down South.
For now, a confident start for Chesterfield and similar performances will see them create a promising lead ahead of their promotion rivals early on. Dave Allen’s five year plan for the Championship started three years ago and needs back-to-back promotions to make it happen. It is possible and has happened before with other clubs and with Paul Cook in charge, I can strongly say the next five years for Chesterfield may just be the most promising in their history.
Written by Adam Marsden, We Are Going Up’s Chesterfield blogger
Adam tweets at @AJMarsden