Former Watford and Hartlepool United goalkeeper Scott Loach on life at Chesterfield, promotion race, team spirit and the 500-club

Scott Loach has made a solid start to his Chesterfield career – and he is determined to keep it that way.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 11:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 11:17 am

The 33-year-old has recorded seven clean sheets in 14 appearances since signing in the summer.

“I am enjoying it, I feel like I have been pretty solid and that is all I want to do,” he told the DT. “I don’t want to be one of these keepers that is all flashy, I want to be known as someone who the fans and the manager look at and say ‘he is a good goalie, he is solid and reliable.’ Yes, there will be ifs and buts along the way but as long as over the course of the season I do my job then that is all I am looking for.

"I have family who support the club so it was a great opportunity for me. I am really grateful and I am just trying to repay that and show hunger and desire and see if I can be here for a long time and nail that position down.

Scott Loach signed for Chesterfield in the summer.

“I probably did not know how big a club Chesterfield was when I signed for them – the following is incredible.”

Loach’s calming influence has helped Town to third in the National League table having lost just once in all competitions this season – leaving them just one point off top spot.

The former England Under-21 and Watford goalkeeper can’t help but think that perhaps they should have more points on the board after throwing away leads against Bromley and Torquay United but acknowledges that they could have lost at Dover Athletic.

He said: “We are happy with where we are, we know we can do better, we are going to lose games but our response since Woking has been exceptional. If we can keep this kind of consistency we are going to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. We have got some big games coming up but, at the same time, they won’t want to play us.”

As Loach says, the Blues are six games unbeaten since suffering their first and only defeat of the campaign so far.

They face promotion rivals Notts County, Grimsby Town and FC Halifax Town in December in what could prove to be a pivotal run of games.

Injuries have hit the squad hard but team spirit is strong and they are all pushing each other on.

“There is such a togetherness in the training room and I can honestly say hand on heart that there is not one player who can’t talk to another player or have a coffee with another player and that is massive,” Loach explained. “At the same time, that gives us more license to demand from each other because you know it is not personal. That can be that extra percentage to get us through.

“The gaffer has put together a competitive squad and I think that is starting to show now. Players are getting their chances and they want to keep the shirt. It keeps us on our toes and keeps the standards high in training."

Pushing Loach for the number one spot is Melvin Minter – who started in the last round of the FA Cup and could do so again this Saturday against Southend United.

Like Loach, Minter signed in pre-season and they are backed up by youngster Dylan Wharton and led by goalkeeping coach Dave O’Hare.

Loach, who is inspiring the next generation at his own goalkeeping school in Southwell, said: “Melvin has got spider arms - he makes saves that he should not make! It is hard to be a number two, I have done it in the past, but he has come in and his attitude is incredible. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

"And as for Dylan, I don’t want to jinx myself, but he has got a chance. He is very good for his age. He is very calm, big stature, for a 19-year-old he is one of the best I have seen.

"But the biggest credit goes to the goalie coach, he is incredible, he simplifies everything. I was walking off the pitch with him yesterday and I said ‘do you know what I love about you?’ You demand more. If we do half-volleys and I catch nine he wants ten. He does not expect more, he wants more and demands more of every single one of us. The one thing I would say about the goalies is that we are all friends.”

Different managers demand different skills from their goalkeepers so what does boss James Rowe expect from him?

“Be consistent, be solid, be a leader, be positive, come and take the pressure off the defence,” Loach told the DT. “It helps when you have got the likes of Gavin Gunning in the team marshalling that defence, it gives you the space to come.

“For me at my age now it is about using my experience to be solid behind and be a calming influence on the team.

“He (Rowe) demands off me exactly what he demands off everyone. Nobody gets away lightly, he does not care where you have been or what you have done, we are here at Chesterfield now and I like that and I respect that.”

Loach is closing in on making 500 career appearances but, as he said when he first signed, he would swap half of them for a medal around his neck come May.

He added: “I think I am on something like 480 now. I want to win something. It has been a good career so far but I have still got plenty to go and hopefully I can start adding something to that trophy cabinet “