SPIREITES: Chesterfield boss Dean Saunders expecting interest for key players and admits he may have to ‘wheel and deal’ in the transfer market

Chesterfield FC reveal new team manager Dean Saunders at the Proact Stadium.
Chesterfield FC reveal new team manager Dean Saunders at the Proact Stadium.

Dean Saunders is bracing himself for a flurry of phone calls from other clubs wanting to sign his players but has warned - “we won’t give players away”.

Saunders is yet to meet the squad, with many of the players on their holidays, but says he has plans to speak to them all and expects some dilemmas to arise.

Jimmy Ryan, Drew Talbot, Armand Gnanduillet and Michael Onovwigun all see their contracts expire while other key figures are also attracting interest.

“Some players are out of contracts and some will be leaving,” said Saunders. “I’m waiting on phone calls now, waiting for the vultures to come and nick our better players.

“Paul (Cook) has some players who have done really well for him and so I imagine he will be interested in taking some of them with him.

“I have got to do what I think is best for the club and not let anyone go unless we get the right price for them and not let anyone go that I like.

“I still need to speak the players and tell them what I’m trying to do. We will have some dilemmas I’m sure.

“If that happens then I’ll draw up a list of players to make us better and start the recruitment process. I’ll have to wait to see who leaves first.”

And Saunders has already highlighted positions where he feels the team can be better next season, with a certain area of the pitch holding top priority.

“We need a striker, maybe two, who are going to get goals,” he said. “There’s no point in playing football the way we play if you’re not taking your fair share of chances that you create.

“You can’t score every chance that you create but if you play the way Chesterfield do using the full width of the pitch then you’re leaving yourself wide open if you’re not taking your chances.

“If I was managing against that, I would set a team up to let you do that and try and sneak one and win one-nil at the other end of the pitch. You’re only as good as your strikers.”

He pointed towards the success of Preston North End in the play-off semi-finals against the Spireites, which saw Jermaine Beckford take centre stage.

“It doesn’t matter how good a team you’ve got, you’re only as good as your strikers. Preston had Beckford, (Sylvan) Ebanks-Blake, (Paul) Gallagher, (Kevin) Davies, (Joe) Garner - those five have played at the top.

“They’ve played at a higher level and you see what happens on the day, Beckford scores a goal out of the blue. His first goal in the second leg was a great goal too. Those moments were the difference.”

It is not lost on Saunders those players come at a cost and admitted that he will have to “try to wheel and deal” to get the best solution for Chesterfield.

“You have to either pay a fortune to get them or you have to pay a transfer fee. We can’t do that so I’ve got to find a way of finding us two good strikers without spending much.

“We’ll try everything from getting people on loan from higher league clubs or spread the cost. If you’re not paying a transfer fee for a forward then something’s wrong.

“He’s either too old, on too much money or he doesn’t score,” added Saunders, who was no stranger to finding the back of the net himself.

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