Mark Crossley on demanding more from Chesterfield's midfield players, relegation battle, signing new players and possibly recalling Lee Shaw from Guiseley

Chesterfield's coaching staff are demanding more from the midfield players. Pictured is Joe Rowley.
Chesterfield's coaching staff are demanding more from the midfield players. Pictured is Joe Rowley.

Chesterfield's midfield players need to step up and make themselves undroppable, according to goalkeeping coach Mark Crossley.

The midfield area has been a massive problem for the Spireites so far this season with manager John Sheridan trying out several different combinations.

It is arguably Sheridan's biggest problem as no one is standing out as a definite starter.

The lack of consistency and stability in midfield is putting a lot of pressure on a leaky defence which has conceded almost two goals a game.

When asked by the Derbyshire Times how Chesterfield solve the midfield problem, Crossley responded: "The manager has stressed that he is unsure which team to pick at the moment.

"Wedge (Sam Wedgbury) has come back into the team and done okay.

"Young Charlie Wakefield has come in, we want more from him. He is a young lad and he has a lot of ability. We want him training harder. We want him doing more.

"We want more from them all to cement down a place especially in that midfield.

"Curtis (Weston) has come in. Curtis is a workhorse.

"Charlie (Wakefield) is really good on the ball.

"Joe Rowley is a young lad. More. More. More. We want more. Demand more in training, work harder, stay behind, do a little bit extra. All them things, as a young lad, and cement down that position for yourself and give the manager a problem not to pick you."

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Another problem for the Spireites this season, which has been repeated a number of times by Sheridan, is that the coaching staff 'can only do so much' and that when the players cross the white lines it is up to them to take responsibility and make the decisions themselves.

When asked how as coaching staff they can get the messages to the players to sink in, Crossley said: "You have just got to repeat what you are doing. Repetitiveness is the key here so that is what we are trying to do because what would happen if the message was not the same? God only knows.

"The same messages going over now are the same messages going over the back end of last season and the back end of last season the results were there. So the messages are the same.

"Whether you are low on confidence you have to rise above it.

"We can only give so much information for the players to sink in.

"They have got to stop worrying about being low on confidence, they are just excuses.

"They have to roll their sleeves up, work hard, if someone is not doing their job - tell them - argue about it at half-time.

"We don't have much falling about between us which probably needs to start happening. To be successful you have to be a demander, go to be a leader, go to be a winner.

"There was a few harsh words said on Saturday which was good.

"We can see that they are afraid of making the wrong decisions and we encourage them to not worry.

"If it is the right decision but it does not go right then don't worry about.

"Just because we have got big Dents on the pitch it does mean that we have to go direct to him. We do stress that. It looks like we tell everyone to 'hit big Dents' but that is not the case. Big Dents is in there because he is a threat in the box."

Town are currently third bottom of the National League with just two wins all season. But despite the poor start Crossley believes they can still mount a play-off charge given how tight the division is.

When asked if Chesterfield are in a relegation battle, Crossley said: "The reality of it is yes. We have looked at the league this morning and we are 12 points off the play-off positions which is nothing is it? We say it year in, year out, but this year especially this league is going to be like that. All the teams you expected to be at the top have struggled.

"It is still early days but you can't start mentioning relegation battles at this point but it is concerning."

And when asked suggestions that the current crop of players are the worst in the club's history, he added: "We fully understand that they (fans) are frustrated. The manager has said many times that when the fans are moaning that they are right in what they are saying. He acknowledges that and we just want everybody that is picked to ask themselves 'could you have given anymore?' and if you can't then fair enough."

Owner Dave Allen said last month that more funds would be made available to Sheridan for new players and winger Gevaro Nepomuceno joined on loan until January from League Two Oldham Athletic.

So are the Spireites still looking at strengthening the squad?

"Yes, always but obviously we have a budget to work to so a lot of the times you might have to get players out to get players in," Crossley explained. "That is how it works. I spoke to you a couple of weeks ago about the chairman being kind enough to let us stay overnight (Sutton away) which has cost a lot of money. We are trying to do all the right things and sometimes you ask yourself 'would that (money) be best towards another player or bringing a loan in?' All these questions that you are asking ask go round in our heads as well. We are talking about it all the time."

One player who could return to the Proact is Lee Shaw, currently out on a season loan at Guiseley in the National League North.

The striker, who was also used at right wing-back, signed for Chesterfield in 2018 under then manager Martin Allen.

"Players who are not in your team become stronger players when they are not in the team and the team is not doing well that you are picking," Crossley said. "He has been spoken about, quite naturally. And you question yourself 'have we made a mistake sending him on loan?' and 'should we have kept him here?' course you do. But we made that decision because he wanted to play week in, week out, and we could not guarantee him it so we felt it was the right decision. On the plus side he is playing competitive football. It might be a decision we have to make to bring him back if people are not performing."