Who should replace the suspended Curtis Weston for Chesterfield's trip to Maidenhead United?
Curtis Weston has been a key man for Chesterfield this season but he will be unavailable for the trip to Maidenhead United on Saturday due to suspension.
The central midfielder collected his fifth yellow card of the season against Yeovil Town last Saturday and is therefore banned for one match.
The 34-year-old will be a big miss for Town but boss James Rowe has built a quality squad with strength in depth so there are a number of candidates who could get the nod.
Let’s take a look….
The 21-year-old has had to be patient since joining on loan from Aston Villa in early January. He had to wait until the middle of February before getting his chance off the bench in the wins against Notts County and Altrincham. He was given his first start last week against Eastleigh and grew into the game, particularly in the second half. From what we have seen so far, Clarke is a left-footed technical player who has been used in an advanced role as one of two ‘number 10s’ behind Akwasi Asante so he would probably not be the most obvious candidate to fill in for the more defensive-minded Weston. Having said that, he is certainly pushing for another start sooner or later.
Up until last week Gunning had been playing in midfield before he dropped into centre-back where he has been outstanding. The 30-year-old can do a job in midfield but he has said himself that centre-half is his best position, and his last two appearances have shown that with two clean sheets and a man of the match performance against Eastleigh. If Gunning is moved back into midfield then Town can bring in Haydn Hollis, who can count himself unlucky to be out of the squad for the last two matches. Overall, it would be a surprise to see Gunning play anywhere other than at the heart of defence.
Rowley has been out injured since the end of January with a hamstring injury but is back in full training and Rowe said before the Yeovil win that he could be in contention for Maidenhead. After five weeks out, it would be a shock to see Rowley start, but we don’t know how he is looking in training. LIke Clarke, Rowley is definitely more attack-minded so again he would not be an obvious choice to replace Weston. No matter what though it will be a big boost to have Rowley, who signed a new contract recently, available again.
On paper, Smith is the most obvious candidate to start on Saturday because of the type of player he is. He is another one who has had to be patient since joining the club but he grew into the game against Eastleigh and showed what he is all about. Rowe has said Smith is a Football League player and we definitely saw signs of that. By swapping Smith for Weston it would mean the rest of the midfield can stay the same if Rowe wishes, rather than have to juggle things around if a Clarke or a Rowley came in for example. Not a bad headache to have!