COLUMN: Brace yourself for what might be a crash landing in League Two
Chesterfield fans will be hoping that their status as a '˜yo-yo' club will not desert them next season.
With League Two football all but inevitable, at least according to 90 per cent of the supporters polled this week, many are already turning an eye to the 2017/18 campaign.
But anyone expecting the Spireites to simply bounce straight back up might be in for a rude awakening.
The current season holds a little insight into why next season isn’t likely to be plain sailing for Town.
Three encounters with League Two clubs were all shots across the bow.
An excellent Wycombe Wanderers side, playing really nice football, battered Chesterfield 5-0 and dumped them out of the FA Cup in shameful fashion.
Luton thumped the Spireites 4-0 to bring about a similarly shambolic EFL Trophy exit.
Earlier in that competition a well drilled Accrington Stanley outfit also put four past Chesterfield, at the Proact no less.
Of that trio only Luton are in with a shout of automatic promotion and that gives you an idea of how competitive the division below could be next term.
Recruitment is going to be incredibly important this summer and with so many players out of contract it’s a chance for a fresh start.
Sadly January’s dealings in the transfer market have not given any indication that Gary Caldwell is a master recruiter – he’s yet to prove that to Town fans.
And with no scouting department or network in place right now, it’s hard to imagine that he already has a list of targets to be secured when summer comes.
Chesterfield’s wage bill is unsustainable at present and with half of the fans polled saying they won’t buy a season ticket, Caldwell can expect a big cut to his budget.
The manager has apparently lost the support of a great swathe of the fanbase and if he doesn’t win them back quickly, it will only translate to a further weakening in the club’s financial performance.
If you like your glass to be half full, there are a few reasons for optimism.
Players like Dion Donohue, Jon Nolan and Ricky German hold genuine promise and others you’d expect to excel in League Two, namely Tommy Lee, Paul McGinn, Kristian Dennis and Ched Evans are all contracted until summer 2018.
If Caldwell can avoid a summer fire sale, recruit shrewdly with a competitive budget, win back the fans and finish above the Stags, then he might just be okay. Easy.