Column: The most impressive aspect of Chesterfield’s Lazarus routine under John Sheridan
The most impressive aspect of Chesterfield’s Lazarus routine is that John Sheridan hasn’t needed the blank cheque he was offered.
Five wins and a draw from his eight National League games in charge have taken the Spireites to their highest league position since midway through September.
He has more wins from six weeks in charge than his predecessor managed in five months.
Sheridan is, as one Town fan on Twitter pointed out, making it look easy.
And it would be easy to understand how he was doing it, had he splashed the cash made available by owner Dave Allen.
There was no budget – it was a spend what you like invitation.
Yet Sheridan has been extremely selective in his recruitment.
He spent a relatively insignificant amount to prise Scott Boden away from Gateshead and brought two teens in on loan.
A third loanee arrived, but it’s evident from Jack McKay’s situation that Chesterfield were doing Cardiff City and the player a good deed.
It’s unlikely that the 22-year-old striker is costing the Spireites a great deal at all.
When you also consider the fact that Callum Burton went back to Hull City and Alfie Beestin returned to Doncaster Rovers, Sheridan’s expenditure has been minimal.
Sheridan has conjured up a winning formula using another manager’s team.
Seven of the starting XI in the Tuesday night win at Braintree, a victory that put a seven-point gap between Chesterfield and the drop zone, were Martin Allen signings.
One was a Gary Caldwell signing.
Many managers would have taken one look at the side’s record this season, their lack of wins and inability to score goals and keep clean sheets, and made wholesale changes to the squad.
It’s been well proven at the Proact in the last couple of years that spending big does not guarantee results, but few would have predicted that Sheridan’s revolution would cost so little.
I, for one, expected at least a couple of players to be paid off in order to create room for new signings.
Instead, Sheridan has done what he set out to do when he first came in.
He’s got that 10 and 15 per cent extra out of players who simply weren’t performing to the best of their ability before his arrival.
A new formation and a new style of play, one the fans are much more appreciative of, has not only made Town more solid at the back, but more potent looking in attack.
The demanding nature that seemed so difficult for some Carlisle players to handle, has apparently been replaced with a more understanding approach, an arm round the shoulder of a side who needed their confidence boosting and their nerves calming.
Sheridan’s appearance for a post-match press conference so soon after the final whistle of a home defeat was a surprise in itself, because he’s previously been known to take all the time he needed to deliver his postmortem, even after a win.
He’s dropped broad hints that, once safety is secured, players will see a different side to him, but to be able to switch that on and off is more evidence that the manager is in complete control, of both himself and the fortunes of Chesterfield Football Club.