Plenty of rust to be shaken off and Chesterfield still need two additions but it’s not the time to panic
It was fitting that Chesterfield wore their all-red strip on Monday night, for a rusty display.
But as much as John Sheridan’s senior players need to shake off that rust, Town fans, writing off promotion hopes on an initial 45 minute glimpse in a pre-season friendly, need to shake off the panic.
Admittedly, some very experienced players turned the game into an uphill battle, on Hallam’s famous slope, but no points, positions or promotion spots were lost this week.
We’re still very much in the fitness work period of pre-season, when match minutes are paramount.
The friendlies against part-time neighbours are a chance for Sheridan to took a look at trialists and youngsters in match scenarios and an opportunity for senior pros to rediscover their touch and timing.
It’s a time for partnerships to form and teams to gel.
Similarly, the games against the Sheffield Uniteds and Burton Albions will be a chance for Sheridan to have a good look at the systems he has in mind for next season.
There’s a temptation to get carried away with what we see in the summer.
The 2017/18 Chesterfield. who held a very technically proficient Benfica B side to a 0-0 draw then bested Doncaster Rovers 4-0 in pre-season, went on to lose 10 of their first 13 games.
Even in the unlikely event that Town go out and batter the Blades, it’d still not be a true indicator of how the new season will go.
We’ll only know how the Spireites will get on in the National League when the National League is well underway once again.
What we can tell, from what we’ve seen so far, is that this Chesterfield squad still lacks pace and attacking options – but the management team have stated more than once that they want at least one winger and a striker.
No one at the Proact wants another one-paced team.
As for the current front men, against Hallam’s wily, battle hardened centre-halves James Colliver and Julian Lawrence, they didn’t have an easy night, but chances did come and go.
With Tom Denton out injured, Scott Boden is going to need a partner.
Even if the big man hadn’t suffered an injury, another proven striker was a must.
Levi Amantchi, inset, shows real promise, but he’s still young and raw.
Read the above for Luke Rawson too.
McKay needs work.
Lee Shaw needs goals, if he’s to play a part for Town next season in an attacking role.
His work-ethic is remarkable, but Sheridan wants a bit more than running about.
Liam Mandeville, meanwhile, has showcased quick feet and quick thinking in the first two friendlies.
He looks, on limited viewings, a good acquisition and someone capable of making things happen up top.
And, for those desperate for another plus point, Monday night might not have been easy on the eyes but Sheridan has turned the volume up to 11 with the signing of Anthony Gerrard – a very vocal leader.
Even if your glass is half full, or empty altogether when it comes to expectations, don’t ignore the Sheridan and Snodin factor.
They took one of the divisions’ worst performing teams and coaxed them into title-winning form, over a 15-game period.
What might they do with a squad of, largely, their own choosing?