Danny Wilson believes James Beattie will carry through his commitment to rejoin Sheffield United - and promises to reward him with a place in the first team once he’s fit.
It’s reunion time at Bramall Lane with the Blades boss today also backing his old Hillsborough sidekick John Sheridan to lift Chesterfield from the foot of League One - whatever the result of Saturday’s derby at the b2net Stadium.
Ex-Spireite Wilson, who insists Chesterfield should keep faith with Sheridan as he fights for his job, has no loan window obstacles in the way of bringing back free-agent Beattie.
But, amid rivalry for the former Southampton and Everton striker’s signature, Wilson told the Telegraph: “As far as I’m concerned, I want to act as quickly as I can. And that’s with one aim - to get him fit and in the first team.”
The fact that Beattie has indicated a desire to rejoin the club where he scored 34 goals in two years is Wilson’s ace card.
“I’m sure there are definitely other clubs attracted by him but I’m impressed with James’s single-mindedness,” added Wilson as the 33-year-old forward continues to train with the Blades.
“He’s never wavered from that. He’s just got his head down and kept running. That tells you about his commitment.
“Although there’s nothing written down on a piece of paper, verbally and emotionally I’m hopeful we’ll get a deal out of it.”
Meanwhile, two clean sheets from back-to-back victories in league and cup is the order of the day as Wilson’s tightening up orders kick in ahead of visiting a free-scoring side whose problems are all at the other end.
Chesterfield have gone seven games without a win, including five defeats, going into a game that could conceivably impact on Sheridan’s tenure just seven months after he celebrated promotion with the club.
But Wilson, who partnered Sheridan in a magical Wednesday side that won the League Cup and reached both domestic cup finals in 1993, is surprised there is even a question mark.
“I should hope they keep faith with him,” said Wilson. “He’s done fantastically well there.
“I have some great memories of playing with Shez. It was a privilege to be alongside him. He was a gifted passer of the ball and throughout his career in management, he’s had his teams playing the same way.
“Of course, it’s difficult to play to his standard but his sides reflect the kind of player he was.”
With talisman Jack Lester pressing for a timely comeback from injury, Wilson is wary of the Chesterfield threat. “They do score goals and will have strikers back in form,” noted the United manager of a team that has a nine-goal top scorer in ex-Owls front man Leon Clarke and two on six in Jordan Bowery and Craig Westcarr.
“You can be worried about conceding, as I would be, but I expect this to be a cracking game.”
On Sheridan, he weighed in: “I think he’ll be fine. This is a tough division and not to be under-estimated. People dismiss it too easily. All the teams who come up will have a problem.”
Wilson feels he is starting to see the right formula for being at the top end. “You can’t expect to outscore other teams on a consistent basis,” he said. “We had to address that and now hopefully we can have a happy medium - we still want to entertain.”
Underpinning a more solid look is that much-criticised keeper Steve Simonsen is rapidly rehabilitating himself. “Simo is a high-class keeper,” endorsed Wilson, who himself has taken stick in maintaining faith in his number one.
Numerous inter-club connections spice up Saturday’s game. Besides Wilson once playing for the Spireites, so did backroom duo Frank Barlow and Bill Dearden, who also served Chesterfield in managerial capacities.