(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
By Ross Lawson
IF proof were needed of how quickly things change in football, consider the case of Chesterfield and Jay O’Shea.
A month ago, the Spireites found themselves on a seven-match losing streak and were rooted to the foot of League One, with O’Shea having failed to score for 13 straight games.
Yet fast-forward 30 days. Chesterfield are off the bottom and had notched four wins from six before the weekend, thanks largely to the Irish midfielder finding the net on six occasions.
Colchester were dispatched in the FA Cup, before Crewe Alexandra were beaten in the Checkatrade Trophy. But it was back-to-back 3-2 league victories over MK Dons and Bristol Rovers in the space of five days that confirmed a change in fortunes.
While the turnaround at the Proact Stadium may have been dramatic, O’Shea insists it was far from a shock to him.
“We’d been on a bit of a horror run, but getting those last two scalps in the space of a week and six vital points really was massive for us,” he said.
“When you’re at the bottom you have to look for the positives. We had a few things going against us, with injuries, decisions and that odd bit of luck, so we knew it wasn’t something completely drastic.
“Our poor form meant getting those wins in the cup became a little bit more important and we were able to take that into the league.
“In some ways, it (his six goals in six games) is not something that’s surprised me as much as it should. I’ve been getting chances, so it was about time I actually started taking them!
“Going 13 games without a goal was a stat I was disappointed with – that was probably the worst run of my career – but it’s like London buses coming along at once! I just need to make sure I’m not complacent and keep working hard.”
Having joined in 2013 and appeared in more than 150 league games since, O’Shea, 28, is one of the more experienced heads in the Chesterfield dressing room.
That’s a role the former MK Dons man takes seriously, ensuring morale was high in the squad during the losing streak. “You have to show character, do the right things and get battling,” he said.
“It’s a long season. A lot of teams will have bad runs and it’s about taking that rough with the smooth.”
Chesterfield looked on an unstoppable march when, a year after being promoted as League Two champions, they made the 2014-15 League One play-offs.
However, a 4-0 aggregate defeat by Preston was followed by 18th spot last term.
“There are a lot of big teams in this league, but the gaffer (Danny Wilson) is putting a good group of lads together,” he added.
*This article was originally featured in The FLP on Sunday 4th December.