COLUMN: A strange old season for Chesterfield’s only reliable goal threat

Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League Two,v Chesterfield Town v Cheltenham Town, Proact Stadium, 30/09/17, K.O 3pm

Chesterfield's Kristian Dennis battles with Cheltenham's Harry Pell

Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League Two,v Chesterfield Town v Cheltenham Town, Proact Stadium, 30/09/17, K.O 3pm Chesterfield's Kristian Dennis battles with Cheltenham's Harry Pell Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
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It’s been a strange old season thus far for Chesterfield’s leading goalscorer and only reliable goal threat.

Kristian Dennis led the Spireites in goalscoring last season, despite the presence of far more experienced strikers Ched Evans and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at the Proact.

The man plucked from non-league by Danny Wilson was expected to be amongst the goals again in the 2017/18 campaign and so it has proved.

But oddly Dennis, who has scored half of the goals claimed by Chesterfield players this season, hasn’t been ever present.

Of their 12 league games, he’s started eight.

He beganthe season on the bench, when Gary Caldwell gave a surprise start to 17-year-old Charlie Wakefield and opted for Chris O’Grady and Gozie Ugwu up top.

Dennis started the next game, at Hillsborough, and scored Town’s only goal.

And although the 27-year-old bagged three times in his first five starts, he wasn’t nailed on to play in his preferred and most obvious position.

We saw him on the wing, to zero effect, against Crewe and his frustration was both visible and audible, according to fans sat near the Gresty Road touchline.

When Caldwell left, Guy Branston became caretaker boss and prompty dropped Dennis, who was an unused substitute at Luton.

Amid talk of an illness, the front man came off the bench in the next game and scored a wonderful goal.

Enter Jack Lester, the new Spireites manager, who has chosen to start Dennis in just one of his three games in charge.

Last season Dennis averaged a goal every 246 minutes in a team that was outscored by 21 other League One rivals.

This season, despite missing the equivalent of five whole matches, Dennis is averaging a goal every 130 minutes – in a team with the second worst goalscoring record in League Two and with a distinct lack of service.

We know why O’Grady starts – to win the ball, hold it up and help others score.

But it’s hard to fathom why Dennis wouldn’t also.

He’s generally not wasteful with the ball, he creates and takes chances and works himself into the ground.

Statistics can lie, but on this occasion they don’t.

Five goals in eight league starts tell us that if you play Dennis, he’ll hit the net, even in a struggling team.

For that reason, in Town’s position, surely he has to start?