Chesterfield made the step up from League Two with ease, finishing in the top half of the table along with their fellow promotion sides Rochdale and Fleetwood. Despite finishing 6th, a play-off against Preston was too much and now the club face an uphill struggle this season given Paul Cook has gone and several key players have followed him out the door.
Last Season: League One (6th)
Manager: Dean Saunders
GKs: Tommy Lee, Aaron Chapman, Alex Cairns
DFs: Daniel Jones, Sam Hird, Ian Evatt, Ritchie Humphreys, Charlie Raglan, Drew Talbot, Laurence Maguire
MFs: Sam Morsy, Dan Gardner, Jay O’Shea, Dion Donohue, Michael Onuovwigun, Ollie Banks, Gboly Ariybi
FWs: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Armand Gnanduillet, Byron Harrison, Kai Simons, Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, Jake Beesley, Jake Orrell
In: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Preston North End), Kai Simons (Ilkeston), Jake Orrell (Gateshead), Alex Cairns (Leeds United)
Out: Jack Broadhead (Released), Charlie Dawes (Released), Gary Roberts (Portsmouth), Jimmy Ryan (Fleetwood Town), Sam Clucas (Hull City), Tendayi Darikwa (Burnley)
First Six: Barnsley (H), Sheffield United (A), Shrewsbury Town (A), Rochdale (H), Millwall (A), Wigan Athletic (H)
Likely Lineup: (4-4-2) Lee – Talbot, Evatt, Hird, Jones – O’Shea, Morsy, Banks, Ariyibi – Gardner, Ebanks-Blake
A word from…Jamie Hewitt
On his time at the club I signed here when I was 16, that was 31 years ago! Apart from a year away I’ve been here the best part of 30 years.
Obviously it’s very dear to me, the football club as a whole and not many people will have a bond like that with a club in the football league. I’m a Chesterfield lad, my dad used to take me to Saltergate, it was 20 minutes from my house and it wasn’t my chance to go to Doncaster for a year. I got an offer which I took, I did enjoy it there but I popped in to see the assistant manager here, got an offer and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since!
On Old Trafford When you go out on the pitch you do what comes natural to you, whether you’ve had a good game or a bad game.
Some days it comes off, we had a game plan from the start at Old Trafford, it was a very good team performance on a stage none of us were used to. We found ourselves trailing to a very good Premier League side but when the ball comes in the box, there’s nothing to think about, you don’t have time to think about being a hero, you just do what comes naturally to you. It turned out to be a great moment for myself!
On memories I’ve got a lot of memories here, my first appearance, I went to Plymouth Argyle for the trip really but someone fell ill and I ended up being the one sub and playing the second half! Those things can play a hand in your career, just someone falling ill on the team bus! I’ve had a couple of Wembley appearances, one as a winner, one as a loser, the winning game stands out the most!
It wasn’t just the FA Cup game that was a memory, the whole run all the way from round one was memorable, but that game obviously plays a big role in the whole history of this club and everybody will always remember it.
On the new season It’s a good place to be at the minute, the club is on the up with the new ground, everything has changed and the club seems to be going places.
Hopefully with the new manager and some new recruits we can continue that this season, the foundation has been set so there is no reason why we shouldn’t. We’re just hoping to kick on, it won’t be easy as there are some big clubs coming down here this year but we’ll keep pushing.
You analyse what happened last season and try and improve, in the medical department we’ll look at what we can do, we’ve no right to succeed so we’ve got to go out and prove it on the pitch and hopefully after last season teams are a bit more wary of Chesterfield as a team now.
On the chairman He’s had a positive vibe on the club, the manager’s have been backed and the new stadium has been built and is fantastic. He’s had a massive input into the football club but the town too, attendances have gone up so I think Chesterfield as a whole has benefited from him being here.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Despite an excellent season last time around, it would be a surprise if Chesterfield were looking up rather than down this season given the players that have left and lack of incomings. Dean Saunders’ relegation record is also unfortunate…
Key Player: Jay O’Shea – The winger is one of few star players that has stuck around this season, for now! He’s now made over 100 appearances for the club and has chipped in with more than 20 goals. With players around him departing, he’ll take on added responsibility this season.
One to Watch: Ollie Banks – Two years ago, the now 22-year-old was excellent in League Two, scoring 7 league goals compared to the blanks he fired last season. If he can rediscover that goalscoring touch from midfield, he’ll have a great season in League Two again.