Talbot savoring life at the back

Chesterfield v Carlisle....Johnstone's Paint Trophy....Spirites.....Drew Talbot
Chesterfield v Carlisle....Johnstone's Paint Trophy....Spirites.....Drew Talbot

Drew Talbot is relishing his football after a move into defence.

Traditionally a maurauding winger, the 24-year-old Chesterfield FC player has switched to full-back with the League Two table-toppers.

Talbot was shuffled into defence and took over the skipper’s armband when the Spireites won 2-0 at Lincoln City last month.

Talbot said: “It was all down to Simon Ford. He was injured at Sincil Bank and had to go off. The gaffer did not want to change things around too much, so I was asked to fill in at right back.

“I must be doing okay because I’m still playing in that position.’’

And for the Blues No 25, it was akin to turning from poacher into gamekeeper.

“My natural tendency is to bomb forward but the reins have been put on me a bit and I’ve been told to hold my position.

“As a forward you take pride in scoring goals, when you play at the back, you take pride in keeping clean sheets. It’s a new experience for me. Quite a bit of my career has been affected by injury, so I’m happy just to be playing,’’ he said.

Talbot also felt privileged to take over the captaincy, a role he held for a further six games until Mark Allott was reinstated for the Rotherham showdown.

“The Lincoln game was a big turning point for me. It’s an important job to be captain and I was very proud. It was an honour,’’ he said.

Managers love versatile players and Talbot certainly now fits into that particular category, but he has no idea how long his spell in defence will last.

“Dwayne Mattis and Simon Ford have been two big losses. But I do not know what will happen when they become fully fit again,’’ he said.

The Barnsley-born crowd favourite broke his right leg twice as a teenager before he graduated from the youth academy at Hillsborough and signed professional forms with Sheffield Wednesday in 2004.

He played 29 games with the Owls and had a brief spell on loan at Scunthorpe before a £250,000 move took him to Luton in 2007.

Talbot became a big hit with supporters at Kenilworth Road and his popularity reached a high point when the Hatters drew Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup in January, 2008. Under the gaze of England manager Fabio Capello, Talbot was the star of the show as League One Luton drew 1-1 to earn a replay at Anfield.

Full of non-stop running and raw power, Talbot sent over the cross which John Arne Riise turned into his own net to earn Luton the replay. His display oozed confidence and led to Talbot being nicknamed the ‘Ginger Maradona’.

But two months later, Talbot suffered a knee injury which kept him sidelined until the November of that year.

By January, 2009, Talbot had made 49 league appearances for Luton and another one would have triggered a whole raft of fresh payments which the Hatters - by then in financial turmoil - could not afford.

In addition, Talbot was missing his northern roots and he had no hesitation to agreeing a loan move to Chesterfield. And it worked a treat as his bustling, high-energy performances quickly won over the Saltergate faithful.

Talbot’s reputation was further enhanced when his first goal for the Spireites - a spectacular effort from distance - earned Chesterfield a 1-0 victory at rivals Notts County.

Talbot played 17 games on loan before signing a new contract that summer after Luton agreed to his release.

In his first full season, Talbot proved full value for the Spireites when he netted an impressive return of ten goals from 35 appearances.

This season - with Chesterfield leading the way in League Two - Talbot has also played a part, scoring three times, his last goal being the winner in the 1-0 triumph over Stevenage in January.

But at the moment he’s more concerned with stopping them than scoring.