SPIREITES BLOG: Excitement builds as big kick-off nears for Chesterfield

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The countdown to kick off is well underway amongst Spireites fans, with the added excitement of two big local derby games against Barnsley and Sheffield United to begin the 2015/16 campaign, says Chesterfield fan James Thompson.

The big question is, however, which players are actually going to be pulling on the blue shirt, as the squad looks set for a huge shake up after the events of the last couple of weeks.

Dean Saunders was quick to bolster his attacking options, an area that has been lacking since the departure of Eoin Doyle in January.

Slyvan Ebanks-Blake has signed following his release from Preston North End, Chesterfield’s conquerors in last season’s play-offs.

The striker has had some bad luck with injuries and has tallied just one goal in the past two seasons.

However, he was twice Championship top scorer and both he and Saunders are hoping his time at Chesterfield will see a return to his best form.

Saunders’ backroom staff are in place, with emphasis on youth development, and notably Brian Carey has been appointed as the gaffer’s number two.

The two worked together at Wrexham, Wolves and Doncaster, and are very familiar with each other’s coaching styles.

However, it has been a really tough couple of weeks for Chesterfield.

Sadly, with the performance and success of Chesterfield last season, there comes a price, and that is that their prized assets are in high demand.

Two of the Spireites’ key midfielders have left the club for pastures new.

Central midfielder Jimmy Ryan, who formed a formidable partnership with Sam Morsy has moved to League One rivals Fleetwood Town.

Meanwhile, Gary Roberts has joined former boss Paul Cook on the south coast.

Whilst both players were integral to the success of the Spireites over the last two seasons and I would like to thank them for their efforts for the club, it is a bitter pill to swallow to lose two of your better players to seemingly lower calibre clubs on the back of a good season.

The departures may not end there too.

Attack-minded full back Tendayi Darikwa has been subject to interest from Leeds United and it looked as though he may be staying at the club when the interest in him went away.

However, rumours are emerging that bookies favourites for the League One crown next year Sheffield United are in pursuit of the 23-year-old.

Additionally, interest has been high in former Mansfield man Sam Clucas.

The 24-year-old utility man had an excellent season for the Spireites after making the step up from League Two, finding the net 12 times.

The club have already rejected a bid from Wigan Athletic, but with attention from Cardiff and Norwich, the lure of playing at a higher level may be too great if the price is right.

If the worse was to happen and both were to leave, it would create a massive hole in Chesterfield’s squad.

With regards to incomings, there have been a few names being rumoured that the club have interest in. Youngster Callum Chettle from Ilkeston is attracting much interest from Football League clubs. Jacob Mellis, Mark Marshall and David Fox have been rumoured too.

Both Marshall and Fox have departed their clubs (Port Vale and Colchester respectively), but Fox is highly sought after and Dean Saunders has dismissed report regarding the other midfielders.

Mellis has since signed for League One rivals Bury, which is a blow if he was a target.

It is crucial that Saunders finds the right players for the club and not just bring in the first ones that become available.

That said, the longer the Blues go without adding to the squad, coupled with more rumoured outgoings, the more nervous it is going to get for the Spireites faithful.