Column: Caldwell can ensure O’Shea exit is regrettable and not fatal – but clock is ticking

Chesterfield v Wycombe Wanderers, Jay O'Shea
Chesterfield v Wycombe Wanderers, Jay O'Shea
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With a week left in the transfer window, Gary Caldwell has ‘some ‘freedom’ to move in the market thanks to two big exits.

A relatively young and inexperienced squad anyway, Chesterfield have allowed over 650 Football League appearances to walk out the door this month in the shape of Gary Liddle and Jay O’Shea.

As Ian Evatt put it when appraising the departure of O’Shea, there are some big shoes to fill.

Certainly in the case of O’Shea, the player’s desire to join promotion hopefuls prompted the move.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which you’d shop a forward like O’Shea around, when you’re in the relegation zone.

With his contract running out in the summer Chesterfield were perhaps over a barrel – we’ve already seen this season what can happen to a player’s form when he wants to move on but is made to stay.

Town haven’t stood in the way of O’Shea’s ambition and although Caldwell now has greater scope to change the squad, he also has less flair and creativity at his disposal.

O’Shea was the club’s top goalscorer and someone capable of producing breathtaking magic, if only sporadically this season.

He’s a man who secured his own place in Spireites history with those two goals at Burton to secure promotion in the 2013/14 season.

He has created special memories for Chesterfield fans with truly spectacular goals and lovely moments of trickery and imagination.

His quality is underlined by a place in Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United squad.

He is not, however, irreplacable.

Chesterfield might not be able to go out and get someone to match the skill level or unpredictability of the Irishman, but they might find someone capable of scoring at a better rate than one every four.

Or they might sign someone who can supply Ched Evans with the necessary opportunities to fire them to safety.

Admittedly, O’Shea hasn’t exactly been part of a consistent, successful team this season and his own form will have been affected by this.

But he hasn’t been consistently brilliant, he was subdued even on Saturday as part of a good overall Chesterfield team performance – and he wasn’t being ‘wasted’ out on the left wing.

The big worry for Town in January wasn’t so much that they’d lose good players, it was that they’d lose good players and have no time to replace them.

As I wrote back in the first week of the year, a Chesterfield squad weaker on 1st February than on 31st January would be a frightening thought for anyone keen to see them retain League One status.

At least, with O’Shea’s desertion, some time remains to address the situation and plug the gap.

It’s not quite ‘madness’ as at least one fan has suggested on social media. Not yet anyway.

Caldwell has seven days to pull a rabbit out of his hat and ensure fans can look back on O’Shea’s departure as a regrettable but not fatal moment in the 2016/17 season.