How Paul Cook's bold tactical switch helped Chesterfield secure win at Dagenham and Redbridge

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It is probably not a position he has played too often in his short career, but it might not be the last time Jesurun Uchegbulam is called upon to play right-back.

The 22-year-old, in his first season in professional full-time football, has come on as a substitute 26 times this season for the Spireites.

But the majority of those have been as an impact player in the latter stages of games, often on the left or right wing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So to see him line-up at right-back after Ryheem Sheckleford was forced off at half-time with a tight hamstring in the win against Dagenham and Redbridge on Easter Monday was a bit of surprise for many people.

Jesurun Uchegbulam.Jesurun Uchegbulam.
Jesurun Uchegbulam.

Sheckleford was assessed at half-time and although he wanted to continue Chesterfield made the ‘last-minute’ decision not to risk him.

With Jeff King not on the bench, Uchegbulam was the one selected to fill the gap.

"We would have liked a little bit more time to make that decision on what we were going to do next,” assistant manager Danny Webb said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It (playing Uchegbulam at right-back) has been discussed before when you are chasing games because of his pace and Palms can cover around.”

In the end, Uchegbulam’s right-back cameo was over within 15 minutes after a tricky start. He was switched over to his more comfortable territory of left wing, Ryan Colclough went to right wing, and Liam Mandeville was dropped back.

It was a bold tactical switch from manager Paul Cook, but it paid off as 10 minutes later Mandeville snuck in at the back post to head in Ollie Banks’ cross for the winner. And Uchegbulam looked a lot more at ease running at players, almost grabbing a second goal in injury-time, only for keeper Elliot Justham to tip over.

“You start to feel like it is not being fair on the lad (Uchegbulam) when he starts to be a little bit lost,” Webb explained. “Sometimes you have to be big enough and ugly enough to make another change after making a change. Sometimes you can be stubborn and stick with it and they end up equalising.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Overall, it was a bit of a learning curve for Town’s sprint king.

Webb added: "He tried his best in that position and I am sure he won’t have to do that again unless it is a real emergency. When he is the attacking half of the pitch he is a real threat.”