As National League transfer window shuts, John Sheridan explains why he only signed four players and makes bold prediction for next season

The National League's transfer window closes today but there won't be any feverish, last ditch attempts to recruit new faces at the Proact.

By Graham Smyth
Thursday, 28th March 2019, 3:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 8:08 pm
Scott Boden was one of Sheridan's three signings
Scott Boden was one of Sheridan's three signings

John Sheridan has signed just four players since he came in - a trio of loanees, two of them teenagers, and striker Scott Boden - and won eight games from 14 to lift Chesterfield clear of the drop zone.

He admits he might have liked a couple more, when he first arrived in January.

But players who were here when he walked through the door have proved more than adequate in staving off the threat of relegation.

And less than three months into his first ever experience of National League football, he's prepared to make a bold statement about his first full season in the division - the 2019/20 campaign.

"Possibly when I first came in I would have five," he said.

"But when I looked at the squad when I came in, there were good players there, good experience.

"I think obviously the striker position was the main focus where I wanted change.

"Other than that there was a lot of players here.

"I thought to myself will I get them out, but the most important thing for me was bringing one or two in if I could, I'd have liked four or five but at the end of the day I don't think I really needed them.

"I wanted to get the players on board with what I wanted to do, pat everyone on the back and get a smile on their face."

Sheridan has taken a team who had won only four times in National League action in 28 attempts and guided them to seven victories from 12 league games.

He's already gone on record to hand all the credit over to the players, but today he named the individual he feels has been most reliable and others who have played their part.

"If I'm looking at a player out of them all I think Will Evans has been the most consistent player for me," he said.

"(Haydn) Hollis has done well, (Josef) Yarney has come in and done well, Robbie Weir - which I know I'm going to get from him, he's experienced, Curtis (Weston) too, those two probably have 1,000 games between them.

"Young Ellis (Chapman) comes in, he's only 18.

"Shawy (Lee Shaw) started for me and did brilliantly when I came in, (Jonathan) Smith, players who are going to run their socks off for me and give 120 per cent every time they play.

"I just felt get them on my side and then I felt, to myself, we'd have enough with what we've got."

And although it's not mathematically impossible for Town to be relegated, it would take a truly remarkable set of results for fourth from bottom Havant and Waterlooville to close the 11-point gap to the Spireites, in the six remaining games.

Safety has been all-but achieved without, in Sheridan's eyes, ever really dominating teams or even 'playing great'.

"There should be a spring in their step, we're in good form," he said.

"I don't think we've played great, I don't think we've played a team off the park.

"I think our best performance was Aldershot, since I've been here, and that was the first game.

"We were very comfortable, won the game, got the goals and saw it out really well.

"When we've won games it's been in patches.

"It's not by outplaying teams.

"But you still get results.

"When we score first, we've gone on to win the games, we've got that bit of belief.

"You only have to keep a clean sheet if you score first."

Supporter expectation is already beginning to rise, thanks to the side's resurgence and club owner Dave Allen's vow to financially back the manager's attempt to restore Football League status.

Sheridan himself isn't afraid to make his own prediction about next season.

"The chairman has worked with me before, he knows, I'm not greedy as a manager, I'll very rarely go on about the size of the budget, this or that," he said.

"I won't look for any excuses, if we're not winning, that's down to me picking the wrong team or it's the players not performing, it's not because of my budget."

"I think I can get them out of the league, next year, with what's available to me.

"I'm hoping I will.

"I'm putting myself under pressure even now saying it, but I think we'll be getting out of the league next year.

"That's just the way I think and I want everyone to think like that.

"I think we're going in the right direction, if we're all positive."