'Whole-hearted and no-nonsense' - insight into Chesterfield's latest signing

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Chesterfield have shown their intent for the upcoming season by signing defender Chey Dunkley.

The 32-year-old turned down a contract offer at League One Shrewsbury Town, where he was captain, to pen a three-year deal at the Blues and link-up with manager Paul Cook, who he played under at Wigan Athletic, again.

We spoke to journalist Alex Miller, of The Star in Sheffield, who covers Sheffield Wednesday and was there when Dunkley played for the Owls, to get the lowdown on the Spireites’ latest addition...

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How would you describe him as a player?Chey is a whole-hearted defender. He's no nonsense, vicious in the air and plays with his heart on his sleeve. What struck me about his time with Wednesday is that he is incredibly vocal on the pitch; even after a horror start to his Owls career in which he sat out the first half of his debut season, he was bellowing orders to his teammates from the first minute. I remember Tony Pulis telling us something along the lines of wanting 11 Chey Dunkleys on the pitch. Granted, it was a miserable time at S6, but it reflected his influence and attitude.

Chey Dunkley has signed for Chesterfield. Picture: Tina Jenner.Chey Dunkley has signed for Chesterfield. Picture: Tina Jenner.
Chey Dunkley has signed for Chesterfield. Picture: Tina Jenner.

What are his main strengths and weaknesses?

He's very good in the air and Chesterfield fans will grow to enjoy the moments they notice he's approaching a floated cross. He's not one to shirk a duel and backs himself to take on any target man you like - his best Wednesday performances were 'muck and nettles' battles with a big unit attacker. That said, he's no slouch across the ground. Is he a modern playmaker defender? I'm sure he'd be the first to admit not, but in terms of traditional defending he strikes me as excellent at League Two level.

What's his character like?

He's off the field like he is on it; big, brash and full of personality. He loves the clubs he has played for and he has been to matches at S6 as a fan since leaving for Shrewsbury. Press engagements with Chey are always good fun and you get real honesty from him, which is all fans want from their players. He loves a chat and the Derbyshire Times will get plenty of good quotes from him as he's a chatty sort - he loves a bit of social media banter, too. As I said before, he's a leader and that goes off the pitch too. It speaks volumes that he is so highly regarded among the Wednesday fan base despite his injury problems and alongside how he goes about his business I think his personality goes a long way in that.

It looks like he scores a lot of goals for a defender - how much of a threat is he from set-pieces?

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Looking back, the Wednesday fan base was quite excited about his goal threat when arriving off the back of a Wigan season in which he scored six goals in just 26 appearances. We never saw a great deal of that - he netted twice in his 36 Owls matches - but he's certainly a threat going both ways at set-pieces. It's fair to say the Owls didn't make the most out of set pieces in what was a really big unit side when he was about.Chesterfield play a back four - do you think that is a system that will suit him?

I do. At Wednesday he perhaps seemed most comfortable in the centre of a three, but he's adaptable and mobile enough to play in a four. If Chesterfield can get one or two ball players around him, they'll be well set for a solid backline with Dunkley as their sargeant. Expect him to play a big part in the season on and off the pitch.

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