Column: Whisper it, but there are early signs of encouragement from the new gaffer’s reign

Chesterfield v Wimbledon, Dan Gardner
Chesterfield v Wimbledon, Dan Gardner
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This week and next could be the most important fortnight of Chesterfield’s 2016/17 season.

How the Spireites squad looks as they emerge from the January transfer window and how they perform as a result of two weeks of Gary Caldwell coaching might well determine whether or not they stay up.

Caldwell himself has spoken at length of the potential benefits that Chesterfield could reap from this somewhat fortuitous break in the fixtures.

Whisper it, but on Saturday there were encouraging signs of what he might be able to do with this Town team.

It is very early days, one swallow does not a summer make and the road ahead undoubtedly contains potholes.

But if Caldwell can get performances like that consistently, they’ll be alright.

One potentially exciting conclusion to draw from last weekend’s game was that Caldwell indeed has fresh ideas.

It took many by surprise, perhaps even Dan Gardner himself, when the attacking midfielder was employed in that deep, holding role.

But it worked.

It’s all very well thinking outside the box, but unless it yields results, it’s largely a waste of time – this bit of thinking helped contribute to an improved display.

Dominating possession, not being content to settle for a point at home, two more encouraging signs that might entice a few fans back.

Another highlight was an apparent spike in the confidence of Gboly Ariyibi.

It will say an awful lot about Caldwell’s prowess as a coach if he can get the best, repeatedly, out of the young winger, so often a source of frustration for fans this winter.

Ariyibi enjoyed Danny Wilson’s backing when it came to being selected, even despite poor form, but something said or done in the past week had an impact on the 22-year-old because he was actually taking on and beating players again.

Caldwell has mentioned a few times that he’s determined to work with and improve the current playing staff at the Proact, even Ched Evans, one you might have thought exempt from such talk.

It cannot be argued however, that there isn’t more to be gained from the frontman.

Nor can any one Spireite put his hand in the air and claim to have played to the best of his ability every time he’s crossed the white line this season.

Of course if players did that, they’d soon be off to pastures greener, but there is certainly scope for Caldwell to demand more from this squad.

We keep hearing they’re too good for relegation, but starting in February we’ll need to see it.