If Sheridan's record of sorting out midseason messes doesn't reassure Chesterfield fans, maybe his realism will
If John Sheridan's history of going into clubs and turning dreadful seasons around isn't enough to reassure worried Spireites, perhaps his realism will.
The man tempted back to the Proact, in what can only be described as stunning coup by owner Dave Allen, spoke this week with the honesty he’s become known for as a manager.
He admitted freely and unprompted that moving from a club flying high in League Two to a club struggling at the bottom of the National League carries a huge risk.
He made no bones about the attractiveness of the contract on offer.
And while ambitious talk of getting back in the Football League is all well and good, he admits his sole focus right now is fighting a relegation battle.
Forget the play-offs or a top half finish, Sheridan wants to turn the National League into a mini-division of eight or nine teams and top that.
Fans want to know that their club and their manager recognise the peril they’re in.
In the past there have been those who were reticent to speak about the dog fight, choosing instead to go with what they perceived as positivity, insisting the team was too good to be where they were.
The first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one.
Allen evidently sees the danger in the team’s current place in the National League, their form and the make-up of the squad, because he’s brought in a man who has made a habit of sorting out such a midseason mess.
The arrival of Sheridan also signals Allen’s continued and substantial financial commitment to arrest the decline.
Whether the motives for that are from a love of the club or a desire to recoup investment, no one should care, if the end result is a snapped relegation streak.
Sheridan has got his work cut out to make a success of the current campaign.
Yet again, a new manager walks into the Proact to find a lack of natural wingers, a defence that has creaked since Boxing Day and a team who have struggled to find the net too many times.
There’s a goalkeeping department that needs clarity – will Callum Burton remain on loan and if so, will one of Joe Anyon and Shwan Jalal exit?
A central defender might come in handy.
Jonathan Smith could do with a bit more help in the middle of the park.
Strikers Lee Shaw and Alex Kiwomya have done well out wide, but it’d be nice to see a quick winger or two arrive, men who can consistently deliver into the right area.
And someone to go and get 15 goals before the end of the season would ice the cake.
When it comes to the current crop, Sheridan says he hopes to get 10 to 15 per cent more out of them.
Given how competitive Town have been in many games, without getting the right result, a little bit more might be enough to stave off the drop.
And if he can get them playing the football Spireites supporters crave, all the better.
A united front is also key.
Nothing can grow in a toxic atmosphere and while closing the gulf between the hierarchy and the fans might take a miracle, a few wins would go a long way towards soothing a tension that has heightened recently and manifested in ways that will benefit no one.
Sheridan will need everyone’s backing, from the owner to the directors to the staff, the players and fans.
There’s no other option.