Chesterfield defender Drew Talbot faces a vital season in his bid to rekindle his career at the Proact Stadium after missing large parts of the last two seasons through injury.
It looked as though the 29-year-old was on his way out of the Blues exit door on the expiry of his contract at the end of last season, with an offer on the table from League Two club Oxford United.
However, despite only featuring 18 times in the last campaign – half of which were while on loan at Plymouth Argyle – new boss Dean Saunders was quick to offer the Spireite servant of seven seasons a new one-year deal.
Saunders admitted that he had tried to sign Talbot during his tenure with Doncaster Rovers, and his haste at securing Talbot’s services would suggest that the former Sheffield Wednesday prospect will feature prominently under the new regime.
A valid point made by Paul Cook’s successor when asked how he would maintain the club’s momentum of recent years was that the Blues’ plan B was not always effective, adding that he would instil a mentality and means of finding a way of winning when the attractive football which has put Chesterfield on the map in recent seasons does not prevail.
Talbot possesses the qualities required for Saunders to implement his ideas with a reputation for his grit, determination and consistency and will act as a role model for younger players including the likes of Tendayi Darikwa, Charlie Raglan and Gboly Ariyibi as Saunders looks to build a side which will routinely produce seven-out-of-ten performances.
Newly appointed strength and conditioning coach Mal Purchase will be tasked with ensuring that Talbot completes a full pre-season to give him every chance of rediscovering the form and fitness which saw him notch up just shy of 150 appearances in the three seasons before the abductor injury in February 2014 that was the first of several setbacks which almost made Talbot call time on his career.
With a training trip to Portugal and friendlies against Hull, Burnley and Hartlepool under his belt, Talbot should regain the confidence in his body to provide leadership and competition for Darikwa and Dan Jones in both full back berths, while also being capable of performing higher up the pitch if called upon, in his attempt to resurrect his career.