CHESTERFIELD’S home match against former manager John Sheridan’s Plymouth Argyle has been overshadowed by the announcement that legendary striker Jack Lester is leaving in the summer.
The 37-year-old, who has scored 92 goals in 216 games since joining the club in the summer of 2007, was told by the Spireites at the start of February that he would not be retained, but it was felt best by both parties that an announcement would not be made until the season was all but over.
Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Torquay United has seemingly ended the Spireites’ slim chances of making the play-offs.
The striker, full of emotion, said: “It was the club’s decision that I won’t be here next year. I found out at the start of February and I’m disappointed, obviously.
“I’d like to think I’ll be able to play somewhere next season. I’d hoped to stay around here but I’ll definitely be in the game for a long time to come, though I don’t know what I’ll be doing.”
He expressed his disappointment at not being able to reach the 100-goal milestone.
His highlights are many, and fans will no doubt be playing many of them through their minds for weeks and months to come: hat-tricks against Lincoln, Stockport and Rotherham, lifting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley, winning League Two in style in 2011 and hitting 50 goals in his opening two seasons after Lee Richardson and his assistant Alan Knill persuaded him to move to the club almost six years ago.
Lester will be part of the squad for tomorrow’s game, but Armand Gnanduillet and Nathan Smith are out injured and there are several more bumps and bruises to contend with. Midfielder Craig Clay has returned to training after his hernia operation but the Argyle game looks to have come too quickly for him.
Argyle are unbeaten in three games as Sheridan goes into his 13th game in charge of a team who are looking to pull away from the drop-zone. They won 2-0 at Southend United on Tuesday.