Allen moving quickly to get Chesterfield moving quickly
Martin Allen is moving quickly to get his Chesterfield team moving quickly.
Or at least, he’s trying.
Most of those who have watched the Spireites in recent weeks would acknowledge that they’re in need of some pace.
Some have said they need more invention, creativity and trickery in the middle or out wide.
Everyone agrees that they need goals.
Allen is, evidently, not content to wait until the midway mark of the season to assess his squad and make changes.
After a 10 game review, the boss has asked for and received backing from above to do some business.
In, this week, comes Tom Denton.
He’s a man I had the pleasure of watching week in and week out in my previous role as Worksop Town reporter.
As nice a bloke as you will meet in the game off the pitch and by all accounts as horrible a bloke to play against as you will find outside the Football League.
His height is somewhere around the 6ft 5ins mark but he plays like he’s seven foot tall because, unlikely a number of big strikers, he actually gets off the ground.
Denton has never relied on his height to win headers, he augments it with a leap that makes him an asset from set-pieces at both ends of the pitch.
For Worksop and the clubs he’s played for since, he was much more than that.
The ball into Denton’s feet was rarely a bad option in the two seasons I reported on his matches.
He held it up well, won free-kicks or played it off to team-mates and did what all good strikers do, got into the right area to score.
His finishing ability, flick ons and link up play formed a huge part of a lethal three-pronged Worksop attack.
Leon Mettam was the fox in the box, Denton the targetman and Jack Muldoon, now tearing up the National League with Harrogate, the pace and power.
Muldoon would barrel down the flank and whip the ball in. More often than not Denton or Mettam would be on the end of it to either score or assist the other.
In their final season together as Tigers, they plundered a ridiculous 101 goals between them.
Mettam bagged 50, Denton 30 and Muldoon 21.
They all added many assists.
The reason Denton was so effective in that team was the quality of service, from full-backs overlapping, from midfielders who could pass it and from his very clever strike partners.
Chesterfield will hope that Lee Shaw or Zavon Hines will play the role of Mettam.
The role of Muldoon appears to be so far unfilled.
Charlie Carter, soon to return from injury, looks like a player with some guile and craft and obviously an eye for goal.
But it’s pace and an ability to cross a ball or pick a pass that will really get value from the money spent on Denton.
What the Spireites don’t need is a speed boat with no driver.
We’ve all seen players, even at the Proact in recent times, who could get their head down and run with the ball at some speed, without producing anything worthwhile at the end of it all.
Anyone can find a blind alley on a football pitch.
For a brief moment this week, Gboly Ariyibi provided that same frisson of excitement that was felt around the Proact when he ran at and beat defenders in a blue shirt.
His potential arrival on loan was, largely, met with the smacking of lips from Spireites who felt he would be too quick, too good for National League defenders.
Now that we know he favours staying put at the Cty Ground, it seems it was too good to be true.
That won’t deter Allen, however, who showed with his aggressive pursuit of Denton that he can be like a Mad Dog with a bone when he sets his heart on something.
Pace is hard to find but it’s not impossible, not when there’s no transfer window standing between you and new signings.
Elsewhere, he might look at improving the mobility and ball retention of the midfield, an area of the pitch that has looked problematic since Carter and Wedgbury were removed by injury.
What is certain is that the manager will not stubbornly stick to a formula that is not working.
As the unfortunate misfiring Gozie Ugwu discovered this week, Allen waits for no man in his quest for success.