Shwan Jalal has asserted himself as a pivotal part of the Chesterfield revival under John Pemberton – with the experienced stopper impressing with his inspired performances of late.
The goalkeeper spoke to Spireites Digital in the week following Chesterfield’s 4-0 win against Ebbsfleet last Saturday, speaking on the recent upturn in form.
Jalal said: “The last six results, bar Notts County, have given us a good dressing room. I don’t think it’s ever strayed into being a bad dressing room really.
“With the management team coming in galvanising the lads and working us hard in training has allowed us to do what we’ve been doing.
“We’re all trying to pull together to salvage a season. We all know this season has been nowhere near good enough, but I think the last run of results, especially at home, shows we are on the right path.
“Home form is vital in being successful. I love going out there every time we play but we need to make it a nightmare for people visiting.”
Jalal, along with his defence, has gained confidence from solid displays recently which the Spireites goalkeeper believes has been a key change from new boss Pemberton.
“We work hard as a unit, I think defending starts from the front and you can see them working a lot harder to stop the threat,” explained the 36-year-old.
“That’s gradually moved to our backline – all the players are putting in a shift.
“I think in this league you’ve got to be able to press from the front and I think that’s something the management team and the gaffer have installed into us.
“We’ve got to win the ball from the front, we can’t let teams bypass the strikers and be straight on us.
“We’re pressing higher up allowing the rest of the team to be higher and win the ball in dangerous areas where we can threaten others.”
Pemberton was named permanent manager until the end of the season before the victory against Ebbsfleet and Jalal praised the new Spireites boss for his work since arriving.
“He’s come in and has deserved it,” he said. “I worked with him a bit last season and I could see the type of football he wanted to play.
“He’s not come in and revolutionised everything, he’s gradually brought new things in and the lads have taken to it.
“He’s taken a lot of boys out of their shell. You can see the confidence coming out in all the lads across the pitch.
“I’m delighted he’s got it and I think the club needs a bit of stability. As a player, you want to feel wanted and want to see that the manager cares and he does that. He always tries to get every last inch out of somebody.
“We do a lot of meetings and analysis but it’s short and sharp. There are no grey areas about what he wants from us which is important.
“We just need to keep the results going and see what happens at the end of the season.”
Goalkeeping coach Dave O’Hare has also returned to work with Jalal which the goalkeeper described as being massively important for keepers at the club, by saying: “He’s a top man, great guy, but works ever so hard as well.
“He loves coming every day to work with us. He’s a Chesterfield fan, he has the club at heart and wants us to do well.
“Every time we come off the pitch and you’ve got a result you can tell he’s almost changed from coach to fan. I enjoyed working with him last year and since coming back it’s like he’s never been away.
“We’ve picked up that relationship again, but he also looks after the other goalkeepers. Obviously only one of us can play but he wants the best for the other goalkeepers too, I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
The Spireites goalkeeper also gave his thoughts ahead of Chesterfield’s next match against Harrogate Town at the Proact on Tuesday night.
Jalal expects a difficult encounter against the second-place side, however, assured his team are ready, adding: “Harrogate are not up there for no reason, they’ve been very impressive and consistent.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game but with the preparation we’ve done we know it will be a good game and we will go out there looking for a result.”