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Vanarama National League fan preview

29 July 2019

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League sponsors Vanarama have been getting the fans’ perspective ahead of the new season - which kicks off this Saturday. Spireites superfan Oliver Rodgers says what he's thinking...

The new season is almost here – what lies ahead for the Spireites?

An even tougher season than last. There are so many promotion candidates who looked strong last season but now with some additions they look even stronger. I think the league is starting to get some real serious recognition because of the amount of well-established former EFL clubs are being relegated and with big clubs come big, experienced players.

It all started so well last season and promotion looked to be on the cards. What changed?

I think a few results like Barnet and Salford where we lost in the dying seconds really hurt but I think the former manager lacked trust in his players and I don't think he actually knew his best side. 

John Sheridan seems to be a man that gets it at Chesterfield and really shares the fans’ passions. Is the man to lead the team back into the EFL?

I believe so. I can't predict if that will be this season or not, but I hope so for the club and most importantly the fans sake.

What transfer deal has you confident you have a gem on your hands?

In my opinion, it's been Liam Mandeville. A player who has an eye for a killer pass and that can make things happen. He's a bit of a crowd pleaser because he does do the flashy stuff, he can beat his man but he's always looking for a forward option and thinking that one step ahead.

So, who is going to be up there this time?

I think that there's more teams that will be in the title race. For starters my own team Chesterfield. I think Fylde, Solihull, Yeovil, Bromley and Wrexham will all be competitive. It's going to be one of the toughest seasons there's ever been.

Who will be the ones to watch this season?

I think that Notts County will be, with all their financial struggles at the minute, it's hard to see them go through that. But it's going to be interesting because who knows where they will finish. They could shock everyone.

And who else could have a say in the race for promotion?

Like I said, Fylde and Solihull will be very strong and ones to definitely keep an eye on.

What grounds are you most looking forward to visiting?

Meadow Lane - just because of the size of the ground and it will be nice to take all three points on their turf!

What is a must-win game for Chesterfield?

Honestly, I'd say the first game at home against Dover just so that we could get the ball rolling and get off to a good start. 

You can sign one opposition player – who is it?

At the current moment I'd say Mark Yeates. We could do with a tricky winger who has proven himself at this level, although he is getting to the later stage of his career, I still think he's got a good few years left in him.

Who could spring a Solihull Moors-esque surprise this time?

I think Bromley. They've made some quality signings that have really gone under the radar. Michael Cheek and Billy Bingham to name a couple. They could really be one to look out for in this division. 

Where do you think you will finish?

I think we will finish third. It would be nice to win the league, but I'd take third. I could see us going to Wembley and winning but let’s hope they surpass my expectations.

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