COLUMN: O'Grady brings experience and a momentum change for Spireites
Chris O'Grady hasn't kicked a ball for Chesterfield FC and yet he's already provided a much needed momentum change at the Proact.
The mood among fans, who largely appeared quite pleased with the club’s transfer business thus far, had begun to turn.
A fortnight without a new face and the collapse of a loan move for Sheffield United youngster David Brooks was starting to give rise to mild panic in the ranks of the fanbase.
But just when supporters needed to hear some good news, the club delievered. In a big way.
Six foot two inches striker O’Grady, with bags of experience and plenty of quality, has become the most high profile of their 2017 signings.
It’s been greeted, almost unanimously, with approval from the faithful.
And with good reason.
O’Grady undoubtedly had options at a higher level and he represents a significant outlay for the League Two outfit.
He played in the Championship last season and while he found goals hard to come by, he’s likely to give defences a massive headache in the fourth tier.
The last time he graced the division he hit the net 22 times in 43 games.
Fellow strikers Kristian Dennis, Gozie Ugwu and Delial Brewster will be rubbing their hands, because O’Grady will be expected to make goals for them.
And with three relatively young and inexperienced forwards around him, O’Grady can pass on the expertise he’s gained from more than 400 Football League appearances.
At 31 he should have plenty left in his legs and he increases both the average age and experience of Gary Caldwell’s squad.
No signing comes with a guarantee and Chesterfield have been burned in recent history with two-year deals for players who didn’t produce anything like the form they club hoped to see.
However, it was Caldwell who managed to get some excellent performances out of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake when the vastly-experienced striker appeared to be going out with a whimper at the Proact.
And O’Grady is known as a hard worker, a quality that will endear him to the Scot and something the man that released him this summer was keen to highlight.
Being a regular starter for Chesterfield can only be a good thing for the striker and having expressed a desire to play closer to his home, O’Grady has a chance to feel settled and, yet again, loved - like he has been at so many previous clubs.