Chesterfield Season Preview 2021/22: Spireites bid for EFL return

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

With the Euros and Olympics keeping us occupied it doesn’t seem like five minutes since the Spirietes suffered play-off heartbreak at Meadow Lane.

Now that the new season is upon us Chesterfield will look to go one better in what will arguably be an even more competitive league than last year’s. James Rowe’s men will be among numerous other ‘big fish’ battling it out for just one automatic promotion spot.

The Technique Stadium last season when games were played behind closed doors

Despite the disappointment of losing out in the play-off eliminator to Notts County, the turnaround since James Rowe’s arrival was nothing short of remarkable. It’s difficult not to think about ‘what could have been’ if Akwasi Asante hadn’t suffered a ruptured ACL, if Haydn Hollis hadn’t ruptured his Achilles or even if James Montgomery hadn’t got injured in that play-off game. There’s no denying Chesterfield had rotten luck when it came to injuries last term and in the end, they just didn’t have enough to get over the line.

The club announced their retained list on the 14th June and it featured no real surprises. As expected a large number of players who hadn’t really featured under Rowe were let go, leaving room for a number of new additions.

One who was fresh in the mind of Town fans was Calvin Miller. In that play-off eliminator against Notts the pacey left-sided man gave George Carline a tough afternoon and nobody does that to Carline! He will provide the Spirietes with some much-needed pace.

Some of the new signings in action against Bradford City in pre-season

Jeff King, who Chesterfield fans can expect to watch bombing down the other wing arrived at the Technique Stadium from FC Halifax Town after being named their player of the year for the 20/21 season. Rowe has also brought in centre back Jamie Grimes who has looked solid in pre-season. Experienced goalkeeper Scott Loach should prove a trusty pair of hands and Saidou Khan has looked excellent in midfield.

Not forgetting Jack Clarke who signed permanently after his release from Aston Villa, experienced striker Stefan Payne, ’keeper Melvin Minter and midfielder Jim Kellerman who is set to get some game time on loan at Tamworth.

However, the signing which stole the headlines was that of highly sought after striker Kabongo Tshimanga. The 24-year-old signed for the Spireites for an undisclosed fee which the Boreham Wood chairman described as ‘amazing’. He bagged 38 goals in 79 games for Boreham Wood and will add to Chesterfield’s embarrassment of riches up front.

The Spireites will be up against some stiff competition with numerous other clubs spending money and really strengthening.

Stockport County are the bookies favourites and it's probably no surprise. They’ve brought in Scott Quigley who will partner Paddy Madden up front and have added numerous others to the squad which lost in the play-offs to eventual winners Hartlepool United.

The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham

Wrexham are also predicted to be up there after signing Paul Mullin who needs no introduction after his goalscoring exploits at Cambridge United last season. They also secured the signature of highly-rated centre half Aaron Hayden from Carlisle United and Jake Hyde from Halifax Town who is a solid signing for this level.

Two big clubs were relegated out of League Two in Southend United and Grimsby Town and as they usually tend to, the bookies have them both at quite short odds.

Notts County are also unsurprisingly one of the favourites. They’ve got what looks to be a really good manager in Ian Burchnnal, they’ve strengthened this Summer and lost to Torquay United in last year's play offs.

Usually in the National League we see a few surprise packages- look at Barrow, Sutton United however this year I think the gulf in class between the top teams and the rest will be too much to try and bridge the gap for the title therefore one of the favourites will be crowned champions.

Whatever happens this season, Chesterfield fans and football fans up and down the county will just be glad to be back. This time Town fans aren't just travelling the length and breadth of the country in sheer hope, there is belief and expectation in this squad and manager.

There's bound to be twists, turns and everything in-between, this is the National League after all.

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