Column: Town in the driving seat over Dennis but must steer clear of nightmare scenarios
Chesterfield are currently in the driving seat when it comes to star striker Kristian Dennis but must steer clear of drama.
With 14 goals to his name, it’s no surprise that the man signed from non-league by Danny Wilson in July 2016 is attracting attention.
Clubs playing higher up the Football League have been keeping a close eye on the 27-year-old.
Burton have been linked with him, Bradford City were keen and this week Rotherham United cropped up too.
But unlike in previous Januarys when Town sold players who were due to leave for free in the summer, there is no pressing need to sell Dennis.
He is contracted to 2019.
There’s been no suggestion from club sources, or those close to the player, that he’s pushing for a move.
By all accounts, he feels at home at Chesterfield and doesn’t seem the type to cause unrest at a club.
The Spireites can set whatever asking price they like and if no one meets the demands, they can hold onto a player who could be key to their League Two survival.
By the same token, should a club stump up the necessary cash and Jack Lester is satisfied that he can find and secure an adequate replacement this month, Dennis may well get a move that few would begrudge him.
This isn’t a player who has been making big money for a decade, he’s only getting started in the Football League and turns 28 in March – time is running out to secure that one big contract to make his future a bit more comfortable.
His personal circumstances are a secondary concern, however, when considered in light of a potential relegation.
Lester will be keen to do the right thing by the forward, but doubly determined to do the right thing by the club.
As much as the gaffer speaks highly and favourably of Dennis, let’s not pretend there aren’t other strikers who could do the job here.
The nightmare scenarios here include a club coming in and turning a player’s head with a below-par bid and leaving Town with an unhappy front man, or the asking price being met in a surprise, last gasp swoop on deadline day.
Chesterfield can’t afford to be in a situation where an offer they can’t refuse forces a move when there’s not enough time to land a replacement.
The ideal would perhaps instead be a move elsewhere for Chris O’Grady, freeing up the money to bring in someone to partner Dennis and a few other players to boot.
It hasn’t worked out for O’Grady at the Proact, as yet, and he doesn’t appear to fit the system employed by Lester.
Looking at the squad, it still lacks experience at centre-half as well as pace and flair at the top end of the pitch, traits that would certainly help create chances for the top goalscorer.
Opportunities have been hard to come by in front of goal in recent weeks for Dennis and he’s proved that if he gets chances he’ll find the net.
The back injury currently hampering O’Grady, and his wages, could be prohibitive to that scenario.
Whatever happens, with or without Dennis or O’Grady, Town have to score more goals and that fact will drive their January dealings.