I get the impression that Jordan Bowery divided opinion.
Some people can’t tolerate his lack of goals, and understandably, many felt his record in League One last campaign, of scoring on average 0.2 goals per appearance, just wasn’t good enough! However, the 21-year old earned several admirers, including myself, for his phenomenal work rate; this “hunger to succeed” was noticed by Aston Villa and their manager Paul Lambert.
One day after the negotiations emerged in the media, John Sheridan was placed on gardening leave. I remember the line from chief executive Chris Turner “this isn’t just about the first four games of the season. There’s a bigger picture to this!”
John Sheridan had started Bowery in the last 18 league matches prior to his departure, and the Bowery move would have had an ominous feel to it, as just 12 months previous, John Sheridan’s main centre forward Craig Davies was sold, costing the Spireites dearly in League One.
Plausibly, the board will have jumped at the reported £500,000 fee, (although I can’t substantiate the figure), because that’s big money, and it’s hard to deny Jordan Bowery such a dream move.
Furthermore, something the Jordan Bowery departure has given is Paul Cook’s biggest selection dilemma at the moment. Who will play up front for Chesterfield?
Paul Cook has started with Scott Boden in a lone role up front recently. His other striking options include veteran striker Jack Lester, summer signing Marc Richards and the new loan signing Brennan Dickinson.
Although, does our best strike force contain the pace and power of former Premier League trophy winner Louis Boa Morte spearheading the attack? Perhaps Boa Morte could play off top scorer Jack Lester!
Chesterfield v Oxford United
Paul Cook is on a quest to get Chesterfield playing attractive football, so he’ll want to be impressed when the Spireites play host to fellow bottom half side Oxford United. Gary Wilder’s visitors have been unbelievably inconsistent so far, but they would take a huge step in the right direction if they implement Chesterfield with a fourth league home defeat on the spin.
Chesterfield had a 6-1 Cup win recently, but less than inspiring League form has followed. It’s been a common denominator for Chesterfield – warm success in the Cup but a struggle for league wins. In fact, Chesterfield have won only 11 of their last 56 League matches. Also, since Chesterfield’s last home win in League Two, nearly two months ago, the Spireites have scored just seven times in 10 league games – baffling when they scored six against a League One side, in the FA Cup, this November!
Oxford flew out of the blocks this campaign, top at the end of August! Only in September, they lost six out of six league games, sinking into the bottom half rapidly. Since September ended, they’ve remained inconsistent, but winning more than losing. Oxford kept a clean sheet at promotion chasing Torquay last weekend - ideal for a defence that has conceded three goals or more in eight of their last 23 games.
Chesterfield and Oxford are seven points and six points off the play-offs respectively. Both know the woeful implications of a defeat on Saturday, although both teams also know that a win will catapult them towards the top half.
Will Brennan Dickinson make an impact on his Proact Stadium debut? Will Tommy Lee make his long anticipated return? My prediction is a big win for the Spireites.
By Jonathan Kirby