"It is a nightmare" - John Pemberton believes Chesterfield would benefit from delay to start of National League season after Covid difficulties

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John Pemberton believes Chesterfield would benefit if the start of the new National League season was delayed as it would allow them to catch-up on some much-needed training ground work.

The campaign is due to begin next Saturday (October 3) but it could be put on hold if the government does not provide the finances that clubs need to survive without fans in stadiums.

The Spireites started pre-season later than a lot of clubs in the division because the takeover was delayed and the players remained on furlough.

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They have managed to play just three friendly matches and the Covid situation has proved to be a “nightmare,” Pemberton said.

Town's pre-season ended in defeat against Guiseley.Town's pre-season ended in defeat against Guiseley.
Town's pre-season ended in defeat against Guiseley.

Speaking after Chesterfield’s 1-0 defeat to Guiseley at the Technique Stadium on Saturday, the Blues boss said: “We have got to get going some time but if it was delayed for a month for example it would benefit us more, I think, because of where we are with pre-season. We started behind everybody else and that (Guiseley) is just our third game that we have had but that is just where we are.

“It is a catch-22. Would I like another month’s preparation? Yes because of where we are. But then could we get six or seven games down the line and hopefully we can kick into some kind of gear? It is a difficult one but one we have got to adapt to whatever the situation.”

Town have experienced a very disruptive pre-season with the game against Matlock Town cancelled due to Covid as well as a couple of injuries.

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“It is difficult because I have not experienced it before,” Pemberton said. “Everything we have done has been stop-start. Last week the players had to take themselves in the session because we couldn't bring any of the staff in because we had to wait for the test results to come back through.

“The problem we have, with the way things are at the moment, anybody who gets slight symptoms of a cough or a cold or whatever we have to have them tested and the problem we have got with that is that they can’t come in until the test is negative. This is going to be the problem through the season because we are going into an environment now where people are going to get common colds but we have to be tested to make sure it is not Covid.”

On that note, goalkeeper Kyle Letheren was not included in the matchday squad against Guiseley, with young stopper Dylan Wharton playing the full 90 minutes.

Pemberton explained: “He (Letheren) has had a bit of a cold, we’ve had him tested but we haven’t got the results through yet so he can’t come in until we get the test back. It is a nightmare.”

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The 55-year-old added that he was “disappointed” with the Guiseley result but felt it was a “much better” performance than against Alfreton Town last week.

The Spireites are set to face newly-promoted Wealdstone in the season opener next weekend and Pemberton is desperate to have a clean bill of health for the trip down south.

“I just hope I have got a team! And the next thing is trying to organise us to go down and perform,” he said.