How John Sheridan got Carlisle United winning again and the statistics which might give hope to Chesterfield supporters

John Sheridan has said on more than one occasion that he will turn Chesterfield's season around.

Monday, 9th September 2019, 5:00 pm
Chesterfield manager John Sheridan.
Chesterfield manager John Sheridan.

Opposition managers have backed him to 'get it right' because of his experience and previous record.

Who would have thought the Spireites would be rock bottom of the National League after 10 games without a win?

Chesterfield owner Dave Allen will provide more funds to manager John Sheridan for new players, club saysLiam Norcliffe's Chesterfield column: Enough is enough - it is time for everyone at the Proact to stand up and be countedAt Sheridan's press conference before the Bromley match, the Town boss talked about statistics and the impact he had when he re-joined the club in January.

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"The players and the system is not too dissimilar from last season," he said.

"When I came in last season the first nine games we conceded five goals.

"We scored 11, conceded five.

"Last year when I came in we played eight games at home and we won five, drew one, lost two - that is promotion form. (We had) five clean sheets in the first nine games."

A closer look at the stats show that Sheridan won 10 of his 18 games in charge last season, losing five and drawing three.

In his first five games, they conceded just one goal.

They enjoyed a six match unbeaten run from March 12 until April 19.

But this season is a different story.

Town had already conceded 17 goals by the full-time whistle against FC Halifax Town, just the ninth fixture of new campaign.

They have the third worst defence in the league and are the only team in the division not to have won a game.

Torquay United, who come to the Proact on Saturday, have conceded just two fewer goals than Chesterfield but are 8th in the table.

Stockport County, Yeovil Town and Dover Athletic - who are all in the play-offs - have all scored 14 goals - one more than the Spireites.

So what does this tell us? That the Spireites are leaking far too many goals at the back - but scoring goals is not a problem.

Perhaps it also shows that with a few tweaks Sheridan's men can start moving up the table.

If Chesterfield can get it right as a team defensively, then they should start winning games.

They need to become hard to beat with everyone putting in a shift and defending from the front.

If Town fans are looking for something to give them hope, we asked Jon Coleman, who covers Carlisle United for local newspaper, News & Star, to give us his thoughts on how Sheridan turned things around at during his spell as the Blues boss from June 2018 until he left for the Proact in January of this year.

Coleman highlights how Sheridan hit upon a winning formula that involved a few positional changes and a couple of loan signings...sound familiar?

"Sheridan never came under what you'd consider serious pressure at Carlisle and if anything his starkest reaction came when the team was flying, rather than struggling," Coleman said.

"The first few months of his reign brought inconsistent results and displays, including a barren run at home interspersed with some useful wins on the road.

"After a routine defeat at MK Dons it appeared Carlisle's season was going nowhere, and supporters feared a further downturn.

"Suddenly, though, Sheridan hit upon a dramatic winning formula. This involved a couple of loan players being switched into their preferred positions in midfield and attack, coupled with influential senior players such as Jamie Devitt and Danny Grainger hitting a spell of real form.

"They went on a winning streak in December which took them into the automatic promotion places, so if you can call that a response to pressure, it's certainly fair to say Sheridan found a few timely solutions. Carlisle were now playing with counter-attacking pace and intent.

"On Boxing Day, they annihilated Oldham 6-0 - but it was clear things were not as they should be after such a heavy victory. Sheridan had some angry exchanges with players such as Grainger during that game and, in his post-match media interviews, threatened to quit if certain players could not get on board with his 'demanding" nature'."

He added: "That was a sign of things being unsettled behind the scenes, and it was not long before speculation emerged linking Sheridan with Chesterfield. Whether that was directly connected to his unexpected post-match outburst only he will know, but a couple of weeks later he resigned.

"I doubt very much whether Sheridan is the sort of character to be unsettled by expectation and criticism, but he will need to dig deep into his vast experience now."