Column: Spireites in miracle territory but Caldwell still has faith

Picture by Lawrence Smith/AHPIX.com. Football, Sky Bet League One; 
Gillingham FC v Chesterfield FC; 14/02/2017 KO 1945; Priestfield Stadium;
copyright picture;Howard Roe/AHPIX.com
Chesterfield players celebrate their equaliser with the Spirite fans
Picture by Lawrence Smith/AHPIX.com. Football, Sky Bet League One; Gillingham FC v Chesterfield FC; 14/02/2017 KO 1945; Priestfield Stadium; copyright picture;Howard Roe/AHPIX.com Chesterfield players celebrate their equaliser with the Spirite fans
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If Gary Caldwell keeps Town in League One this season he might consider walking on Chesterfield Canal as an encore.

Finishing 20th or higher in the table will earn him a reputation as a miracle worker, reviving a season that many are already mourning.

Faith is said to be the assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen - and Caldwell appears to possess it.

What has not been seen in recent weeks is evidence that the Spireites can win enough games to stave off relegation.

They’ve taken two points from the 12 on offer since the Scot took over at the Proact.

If their current points per game ratio, after 31 games, does not improve Chesterfield will finish on 40 points for the season.

That kind of return would have seen them relegated in each of the last 10 League One campaigns - it simply won’t do.

What is needed is a massive improvement in form.

Simply put, they need victories.

The four home games against sides in the bottom half of the table will take on huge significance, particularly the visits of Bury, Shrewsbury and Port Vale - three sides also in the dog fight.

Don’t label the supporters who have already accepted relegation as pessimists, they’ve lost faith and are simply going on the evidence.

They don’t see this Chesterfield team as winners, because 71 per cent of the time they don’t win.

They don’t look at the players wearing the blue and white and see men who have come through battles like this one before.

On Tuesday night they saw a starting line-up with 717 Football League appearances between them.

Ian Evatt made 506 of those. Dan Gardner another 93.

Those two aside, the remaining players averaged 13 senior league games apiece.

Whether or not it was a huge mistake to opt for youth and not experience in the January transfer window can only be judged come 30th April.

Caldwell’s statement that the squad was stronger on 1st February leaves little room for recruitment policy to become an excuse.

But perhaps there’s a case to argue that the impetuousness of youth means Caldwell’s bunch of kids won’t be told they’re out of it, they won’t accept that they can’t do it.

Does the threat of relegation hold less fear for a 21-year-old than a 30-year-old with two kids, a wife and a mortgage?

Regardless, Caldwell’s task now, game by game, is to rekindle the faith of a large number of supporters.

The potential he sees in these players has to bear fruit in the very near future.

A win against Bury would be a fine start and then maybe momentum and an uplift in confidence can begin to take hold.

They need goals and the rare sight of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake making a positive impact on a game must be welcomed.

If he’s to become Town’s 2016/17 saviour and resurrect his reputation in the eyes of supporters, he’ll put Lazarus in the shade.

But a winner, any winner, even if it comes off an opposition player’s backside, will do.

There are 45 points left to play for and if Chesterfield take half of them, they’ll probably stay up.

On the evidence, we’re in miracle territory.