Chesterfield: Cook’s men out to tame Shrews in first real test

Chesterfield will come up against former Barnsley midfielder Liam Lawrence at Shrewsbury
Chesterfield will come up against former Barnsley midfielder Liam Lawrence at Shrewsbury

The Spireites step up a level in pre-season tomorrow when they travel to Shrewsbury Town, writes Phil Tooley.

Managed by former Fleetwood Town boss Mickey Mellon – an ex-Burnley team-mate of Paul Cook – the Shrews, relegated from League One last season, have made some shrewd signings this summer.

New faces amongst their ten signings include midfielders Liam Lawrence and James Wesolowski, captured from Barnsley and Oldham Athletic respectively, and striker Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro from Tranmere Rovers.

Striker Scott Vernon, from Aberdeen, and Blackpool winger James Caton have also been recruited by Mellon as the Shropshire side look to bounce straight back to League One.

Chesterfield keepers Tommy Lee and Aaron Chapman, not risked in the 4-1 midweek win at Matlock Town or the 1-1 draw at Buxton last weekend, could be available after minor problems.

Drew Talbot will be looking to step up his rehabilitation after an injection to try and solve a troublesome groin problem. Talbot had a brief run out at Causeway Lane on Wednesday.

Attacking midfielder Romy Boco – who played a major part in Spireites team at Matlock – is likely to feature again as is midfielder Nicky Featherstone, a Walsall player for the last two seasons.

Boco, who’s played for Cook at Sligo Rovers and Accrington Stanley, started on Wednesday after anticipated starter Dan Gardner, who came off the bench late on and scored, reported a thigh niggle, so wasn’t risked from the start.

“Boco’s a friend of mine who’s been training with us while he looks for a club,” said Cook.

“But we’re having a good close look at Featherstone to see if he can improve our squad and you could see how comfortable he looked on the ball.”

Cook also tried a couple of unnamed lads as late replacements up front and a third in goal, though none are expected to be serious contenders for contracts with the club.

Midfielder Ollie Banks remains sidelined but his recovery is on plan and he’s expected to be ready for first team selection early in the new season.