As one fight ends for the current crop of Chesterfield players, another will take centre stage
Chesterfield’s fight for survival is nearly won, but even when it becomes mathematically impossible for them to go down, there will be no time to relax.
It’s not exactly true to say that when the relegation battle ends, a secondary battle will begin, because it’s already well underway – but it will take centre stage.
Fifteen current Spireites are out of contract this summer and it’s not at all unreasonable to suggest they all face a fight to earn a new one.
Circumstance hints that, for several at least, it will be an uphill struggle.
Gozie Ugwu and George Smith could have been used by John Sheridan, but he was content for them to go out on loan.
Granted, the manager appears to put more stock in a player’s desire to get out and play games, than to fester at the Proact while out of favour, but it’s hard to see a way back for those two.
They might not have had much of a chance to show what they can do in front of Town fans and they’ve each had their injury problems but ultimately, successive managers have passed over them when picking a team.
And to perhaps compound matters, they’ve both had unsuccessful loan spells.
A betting man might put more money on the pair making their current loan arrangements permanent in the summer.
Joe Anyon’s time at the Proact may well be coming to an end, too.
The goalkeeper hasn’t played a single game this season and was, at one stage, third choice behind Shwan Jalal and Callum Burton.
Since Burton went back to parent club Hull City, Jalal hasn’t been perfect but he’s been very good – certainly good enough to hold onto the number one spot.
Anyon struggled for confidence at times in the early part of last season, before an arm break in December 2017 took him out of the equation completely.
He’s never really got himself back into contention.
His story is one that shows just how cruel and fickle this game can be.
From the League One play-offs to the bench in the National League, in under two years.
Others, like Louis Dodds and Michael Nelson can’t currently get a game.
At the age of 38 and having played nine minutes of football since September, Nelson’s chances of another contract as a player here appear, at least from the outside, slim.
Dodds is as baffling a case as any, given how recently he was effective in League One.
He may yet get a chance to show Sheridan something, but given the fact that his Town career looked completely finished last summer, it would be a surprise to see it resurrected now.
For others, even those in the team regularly like Robbie Weir, or flitting in and out like Brad Barry and Jerome Binnom-Williams, there will be question marks.
Sheridan’s hints of a major rebuild have broadened as the weeks have gone on.
The remnants of the Gary Caldwell-Guy Branston era, with a pair of relegations and a near miss on their Town CVs, could surely have little argument if time was called on their Proact stay.
Sometimes it’s just too late in the day to prove your worth – see Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s last gasp attempt to revive his Chesterfield career in the 2016/17 season as a prime example.
But there’s always something to play for, someone else watching, a scout or a manager to impress.
If nothing else, giving their agent something to work with should be motivation enough to ensure every player is fighting tooth and nail for the right to wear the blue shirts of this old, old club.