Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell has called on his players to maintain their high performance levels, when Southend United visit the Proact tomorrow, 3pm.
The Spireites beat Port Vale 1-0 last time out and Caldwell believes that the result, on the back of the impressive display against Bolton Wanderers, has created a more positive vibe around the Proact.
He said: “It’s great to win, that’s what we’re in this game for, and it was great to build on that performance on the previous weekend.
“The players applied themselves really well, they really showed the desire they need to win games and we got what we deserved in the end.
“I think as a player you go into every game trying to win, and if you don’t confidence can be effected. We’ve had a difficult season and I think coming out of that performance slump, where belief on a consistent basis isn’t there, I’ve seen a real change in the atmosphere around the training ground, in match days and in preparation and results are improving because of that.”
Caldwell also praised his defence for a second consecutive clean sheet against the Valiants, and feels it could lead to more positive results between now and the end of the season.
“I think the defensive record since I’ve come in has been good,” the manager asserted. “We’ve been well set up, the players have showed desire and I think to back to Millwall, a top team away from home where we get a clean sheet, Bolton where we get a clean sheet; we’ve had them at home too, against Port Vale and AFC Wimbledon.
“That’s the basis of every good team, you don’t concede goals and now we’re building on that and I hope we can score more goals so we can win more games.”
Despite taking four points from the last six available, the Spireites remain in the Sky Bet League One drop zone, nine points from safety. Should they lose against the Shrimpers, and results elsewhere go against them, they will be relegated to League Two.
Caldwell is aware of the permutations, but insists that while there are still points to play for; he and his team will be doing all they can to stay in the league.
He added: “I think we can do our job, I firmly believe the players are ready to go on a run of winning games.
“We need luck from elsewhere, we understand that but I’m fully behind that the players can get the points we need. We have to keep winning games, and hope there’s a slip up elsewhere.”
Tomorrow’s visitors Southend, come into the clash on the back of two successive defeats, and sit out of the play-off picture by a point in seventh place.
Despite their recent results, the manager feels that Phil Brown’s team will still look to impose themselves on the game.
“I think they’ll be aggressive and try to play on the front foot, they have a manager who always likes to play that way, and to attack in numbers,” Caldwell said.
“They’ll try to win the ball back early, but our players know what they’ll bring and we’ll try to focus on us again, as we’ve always done. We’ve done a lot of work this week, on how we’re going to beat Southend rather than how we’re going to stop them.”
Caldwell confirmed that Ched Evans will once again miss out due to an ankle injury, while midfielder Jon Nolan completes the final game of a two-match suspension.
On-loan Manchester City striker David Faupala, will come back into the Caldwell’s plans, after he served a three-match ban following his sending off against Rochdale on March 25.
Meanwhile, Caldwell has suggested that club captain, Ian Evatt, could come back into contention for the Spireites before the end of the season.
Evatt suffered a knee injury against Shrewsbury Town last month, and has made good progress in his recovery.
Caldwell added: “I think he’s got a chance, he’s out running every day around the pitch, and I’ve seen him working hard each day.
“I think it’s part of injuries that you have to have a strong mentality that you’re going to come back, and if you don’t think you’ll get better the body won’t.
“He’s improving really quickly, and whether he does get back to play only time will tell, but we’re fully backing him and giving him every chance to play before the end of the season."