Why Saturday's match against Torquay United is crucial for Chesterfield manager John Sheridan

On December 27, 2018, Chesterfield sacked manager Martin Allen after the Spireites slipped into the National League relegation zone following a 4-0 home defeat to Solihull Moors.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 6:16 pm

Allen had been appointed boss in June and won his first three matches.

But then he won only one of his next 22.

Allen’s record at Chesterfield was five wins, 12 draws and 11 defeats.

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After 226 days in charge, the man who was tasked with getting the Spireites promoted back to League Two at the first time of asking was out of the door.

It meant The Blues were now looking for their sixth permanent manager since Paul Cook left in May 2015.

In came the returning John Sheridan for his second stint at the club, after winning promotion to League One and claiming the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first time around before being sacked in 2012.

The 55-year-old had an immediate impact after being announced as boss on January 9.

Chesterfield boss John Sheridan.

He took over when they were 22nd in the league and he got them winning games and keeping clean sheets.

They eventually finished comfortably in mid-table in 15th.

After a strong finish to the previous campaign, hopes were high for a promotion charge and Sheridan was given one of the biggest budgets in the division to work with.

But as we approach the same point in the season where Allen lost his job, Chesterfield are actually worse off under Sheridan.

They are second bottom, are four points from safety, have lost five consecutive home games and are winless in eight.

His current record for his second spell at the Proact is 15 wins, 11 draws and 17 defeats from 43 league matches.

On the face of it, the stats are not as bad as what some might have initially thought but 12 of those losses have come this season.

Sheridan himself has admitted he should have been sacked by now.

Even as early as September he appeared to question his own future after a 4-0 loss to Sutton United.

He has looked a beaten man in recent weeks, sending out his goalkeeping coach and chief scout to speak to the media after games.

I have always believed that Sheridan would turn it around but now I am questioning whether he can.

This Saturday they make the long trip to Torquay United – the only team in in worse form than Chesterfield – with five straight league defeats.

If the Spireites were to lose and potentially go bottom of the league and fall seven points from safety, you would have to think Sheridan would be on thin-ice.

Takeover or no takeover, can the club risk being that far behind the teams at the bottom? Surely not.

But with owner Dave Allen bankrolling the club to the sum of £150,000 each month, can he afford to spend more money on paying off another manager when he is trying to sell the club? Only he knows.

Would Sheridan walk away? He says not, stating he wants to fight for his job.

There are so many uncertainties at 1866 Sheffield Road at the moment.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United player – who is more known for his ability to save teams from relegation than get them promoted – must now use every bit of his experience to get them out of this mess that he has got them into and dig out some results, starting this weekend.