COLUMN: Having gambled and lost League One status, Spireites must play it safe this summer

Poker face  Gary Caldwell can't afford to gamble this summer
Poker face Gary Caldwell can't afford to gamble this summer
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Having gambled and lost big in 2016/17, Chesterfield could do with playing it safe this summer.

Last year in pre-season Danny Wilson added seven players to his Town squad and only one of them had any League One experience.

When it came to the division Town have just dropped out of, Ched Evans was the only genuinely tried and tested summer addition.

And yet he, after four and a half years out, was arguably the biggest gamble of all.

The rest of the signings were for the most part unproven and inexperienced.

That’s not to say they were bad signings, individually.

Kristian Dennis showed that he could cut it with a double-figure return that made him the club’s top goalscorer.

Jon Nolan didn’t look out of place in his first season in the Football League, Paul McGinn showed real promise but was sadly denied a full season by a barmy decision to try and come back from injury too soon and Lloyd Allinson didn’t disgrace himself at all.

In fact the ex Huddersfield prospect can feel aggrieved to have so often lost the battle for a start to Ryan Fulton.

Reece Mitchell has the potential to be a threat down the flank but took a long time to adjust to the physicality of men’s football.

It’s not hard to understand why Wilson brought each of them in, individually.

But together? A risk.

Add to that the punt they took on Dan Jones’ ankle holding up and the over reliance on youngsters and you paint a picture of the tightrope Town wobbled along all season, until they fell off.

January’s recruitment simply carried on the theme.

Untried, untested, unproven – bar Thorsten Stuckmann.

Deadline day simply made a bad situation worse.

The club owned by a casino empresario gambled with League One status and lost it.

This summer, Gary Caldwell, Guy Branston and Ashley Carson can’t afford to gamble.

The stakes are even higher, because getting it wrong could spell real disaster.

Players with League Two experience, who can be relied on for 40 games, will be key – Sheffield United built a side on players who they knew could do it in League One.

Loanees have to be able to contribute, regularly.

Of course there’s no guarantee with any signing and it’s not always the manager’s fault if a player doesn’t replicate past performances, but if the stated aim is promotion then jobs and reputations hang on the summer rebuild.

No pressure, fellas.