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After Chesterfield fell just short of reaching the play-off places at the end of last season, there was a minor revolution at the Proact as Paul Cook made wholesale changes to his squad. Amid the arrival of 12 new faces over the summer, ten players were moved on as the new look Chesterfield side targeted promotion to League One.
Of the players who were no longer a feature of Paul Cook’s plans, Craig Clay stood out as the most notable after his long affiliation with the Spireites.
The midfielder signed on youth terms for Chesterfield in 2008 and was named Chesterfield’s Young Player of the year at the end of the 2008/09 season, having played a key role in the youth league winning side. He burst into the first team in 2010 when he scored a last minute equaliser to level at 5-5 against Crewe with a 25-yard strike in his second senior appearance. Clay played 35 times for Chesterfield, scoring two goals in his time with the club.
After a double hernia operation towards the end of the 2012/13 season he struggled to cement a place in Paul Cook’s plans and was released in the summer, to be snapped up by Nigel Worthington at York City. The 21-year-old has gone on to make eight appearances this season at Bootham Crescent.
Mark Randall, Clay’s former midfield partner, failed to reach agreement with Chesterfield at the end of the season and has since signed for Italian third division side Ascoli Calcio, to become the only English professional footballer playing in Italy. The former Arsenal midfielder appeared 51 times for the Spireites, scoring four goals before making a notable debut in Italy, in which Randall was named man of the match having assisted three goals. The 24-year-old has his since made three more appearances for Ascoli.
Richard O’Donnell and Richard Brindley both signed for Chesterfield last season and O’Donnell made 17 appearances in goal before signing for Walsall,where he has established himself as the number one for the League One outfit. Brindley has also made the jump to the third tier, with the right back signing for Rotherham United after his short spell at the Proact.
Neal Trotman was arguably a surprise inclusion in Chesterfield’s release list at the end of the season, after the defender produced numerous stand out performances toward the end of the 2012/13 campaign. Following a successful spell in North Derbyshire in which Trotman was club captain under John Sheridan, the defender made 54 appearances. After trials with Scottish sides Partick Thistle and Dundee United, the 26-year-old opted to reunite with his former manager and signed for Sheridan’s Plymouth Argyle on a short term contract.
Forward Scott Boden and midfielder Danny Whitaker were both a part of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy winning side in 2011. After relegation to League Two and the change of manager at the start of the following season both players fell out of contention for a regular starting place, and Boden was loaned out to Alfreton Town. Whitaker made the last of his 106 appearances as a substitute in the 4-0 demolition of Exeter City in Jack Lester’s final match for Chesterfield.
Boden and Whitaker have since signed for Skrill Premier side Macclesfield Town, with both playing regularly under John Askey at Moss Rose.
Youth players Jack Waddle and Johnathan Wafula were also released with Waddle travelling to Sweden for a short spell at BK Sport, the midfielder returned in October.