Injuries have opened up opportunities for Spireites squad members in the first-team in recent weeks and full-back Liam Graham was the latest to get his chance on Saturday.
With regular left-back Dion Donohue struggling with a knee problem, the Kiwi was thrust into the starting 11 for his debut in the 2-1 loss at Bury and even had to play out of position; on the left of defence instead of his usual right.
“I'm extremely happy that I've been given the chance," said Graham to PlayerHD." Until the 88th when they got the winning goal anyway, but overall I’ve got to look at the positives and I'm pretty happy with how I've done.
“Towards the end of training on Friday we did a bit of shape and I got put at left-back. Dion had a fitness test this morning and I thought he’d be fit for the game but just before lunch the gaffer pulled me over and told me I was starting so then I started mentally preparing myself.
“Left-back is not my natural position but at the end of the day you take the opportunity you're given and hopefully I've proved myself.”
Graham was given a baptism of fire against the in-form Shakers attacker Zeli Ismail and the Spireites defender knows he'll face similar challenges in any future first-team chances.
“Marking Ismail wasn’t ideal but that’s part of football," he said. "There are a lot of good wingers in this league and above so I felt we dealt with him well and he wasn’t the deciding factor, their striker was. A few players are like Ismail, they’re the hardest to mark because they’re so versatile and quick.
“The pace of the game was faster than I’m used to in the reserves so I just made sure I had enough in the tank to continue for 90 minutes, the step up was good and I enjoyed it but I’m thoroughly disappointed with the loss.”
With injuries currently gripping the squad, Graham may soon get another chance to impress, and he's happy it could come as early as Tuesday with the visit of Gillingham to the Proact.
“We’ve said defensively over the 90 minutes apart from that last goal we were extremely solid and we deserved a lot more, we’ve absorbed a lot and dealt with it well.
“It’s harder when you lose and you have to wait a week to justify or redeem yourself so it’s great we’ve got Tuesday night to look forward to and hopefully a strong home win ahead of us.
“I’ll be 100% ready, I’ve got a foot in the door and hopefully the gaffer has faith in me and I will continue onwards and upwards.”