Chesterfield boss John Sheridan and keeper coach Mark Crossley give their thoughts on the battle for the number one jersey

Luke Coddington has not been brought to Chesterfield to be a number two goalkeeper.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 17:02 pm
Luke Coddington in action during pre-season (Pic: Tina Jenner)

Shwan Jalal’s experience and impressive performances last season might give him the edge in the battle for a starting place between the sticks, but the Spireites want Coddington to view that spot as his and fight for it accordingly.

One is moving towards the twilight of his career, while the other is yet to get going in senior football.

Jalal, 35, is preparing for his 17th season as a professional.

Shwan Jalal is the more experienced of the two

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He began his career at Tottenham and counts Sheffield Wednesday, Peterborough, Bournemouth, Bury, Northampton, Wrexham and Macclesfield, twice, among his former clubs.

A 2017/18 National League winners medal and a promotion to the Championship adorn his CV.

Coddington, 24, has been at some big clubs without gaining a great deal of experience.

His spells at Middlesbrough and Huddersfield failed to yield a senior appearance.

Keeper coach Mark Crossley

He played twice for Northampton Town, including a League One outing, but the majority of his involvement in men’s football has come during loan spells with Wrexham, ironically as injury cover for Jalal, and Guiseley.

Goalkeeping coach Mark Crossley will be working closely with both stoppers and acknowledges his input will differ depending on who he’s dealing with.

He’s been aware of Jalal for quite some time and made sure to do his homework on Coddington.

“I knew Shwan, he came to Sheffield Wednesday as a young lad on loan so I’ve worked with him and I’ve watched him play a bit, followed his career,” said the Town coach.

“I know he did well last season.

“We’ve brought someone in who is an up and coming young keeper (Coddington), who I’ve seen quite a bit. I made a lot of enquiries about him and all the reports were good, from goalkeeping coaches he’s worked with.

“I had a lot of joy with Tommy Lee, hopefully I can do that with Luke.

“Obviously Shwan is an experienced keeper, it’s just a case of keeping him ticking over, keeping him fit, and improving Luke.”

Crossley’s advice to Coddington is that he shouldn’t settle for being an understudy to the more experienced man.

He wants a fierce contest for the shirt.

“One million percent – I don’t believe in having a number one and a number two, that doesn’t happen in my book,” he said

“If Shwan doesn’t perform and Luke does then gets a chance and does well, he stays in.

“I don’t pick the team but that’s the way I look at it.”

The man who does pick the team is in complete agreement with the goalkeeping coach.

Manager John Sheridan expects Coddington to keep Jalal on his toes.

“I want someone who is hungry,” he said when Coddington was announced as a Spireite this summer.

“He hasn’t played a lot of football but I want someone who is pushing Jal.

“He’s a good age, he’ll work with (Crossley) who will hopefully help him.

“He’s hungry, I’ve heard good things about him.

“I want him pushing to be playing. He hasn’t come as a number two, I want him pushing for the number one spot.

“Jalal did very well for me last year but I want competition and Luke is going to give him that.”

And both goalkeepers appear to be well up for the fight too.

“(Luke) knows Shwan needs pushing and Shwan mentioned to me today actually he thrives off competition,” said Crossley.

“So that’s what he’s going to get.”