Setback after setback '“ is Chesterfield's injury nightmare just rank bad luck?
Danny Wilson's time at Chesterfield has been plagued by injury setbacks and complications '“ but is it just bad luck?
That’s a question that has preoccupied the veteran manager, who says he’s never seen an injury crisis as relentless or lengthy as the one Town have endured.
Last season Ian Evatt, Liam O’Neil, Angel Martinez and Dan Jones all suffered serious knocks and were unable to complete straight forward recoveries, the latter two still not back playing regular first team football.
This season, Tommy Lee has had setbacks in his attempt to recover from shoulder surgery, while Paul McGinn seriously reinjured his hamstring when he apparently attempted to come back from injury too soon.
Ched Evans missed a number of games with a foot injury Wilson had never heard of before, on-loan striker Conor Wilkinson suffered a knee problem that cost him two months of action and Kristian Dennis is currently recovering from a viral infection.
Wilson and his staff have investigated the issue to ensure their methods are not at fault.
“I’m hoping it’s bad luck,” he said.
“We’ve tried to pinpoint areas and reasons maybe towards doing something different.
“Has it happened in training because of certain things? Are we doing certain things?
“We’ve had meetings after meetings about it and when you look at it, they’ve been freak - some injuries we’ve never seen before - or just complete bad luck.
“Impact injuries you can’t do a great deal about, viruses you can’t do a great deal about it.”
The injuries have undoubtedly hindered Chesterfield this season.
Scottish right-back McGinn has played just 13 games since signing in the summer and the absence of he and Jones has necessitated the filling in at full-back by midfielders like Dion Donohue, O’Neil and Gary Liddle.
Both Evatt and centre-half partner Sam Hird have also been out with hip and hernia issues respectively.
Only captain Gary Liddle has started every league game for the Spireites this season, with Gboly Ariyibi and Jay O’Shea the only other players to have appeared in all of those 25 matches.
For Wilson, who has taken charge of over 1,000 games in a long management career, it’s been a unique challenge.
“It happens sometimes but I’ve never seen it so often or have such longevity about it,” he said.
“Normally you can have a spate and they clear up fairly quickly, but not one that lingers as long as this one has.
“I think we’ve been very unfortunate but that’s the way it is.”