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Interviews

Caldwell: "The players know what is at stake."

21 April 2017

Gary Caldwell has demanded that his players give their all for the supporters tomorrow against Charlton Athletic (3pm), insisting that the match is in no way meaningless.

Charlton travel to the Proact tomorrow on the back of a poor season themselves, the Addicks were expected to challenge for promotion but instead lie in 15th position in Sky Bet League One.

Caldwell told Player HD that he has seen a positive reaction in training this week following relegation: “The atmosphere was obviously flat at the beginning of the week, which was understandable, people are hurt and it affects people’s lives. 

“So yes there was a period of flatness within the group, but then we have come out of that and today the players were excellent. 

“The players were as good as I have seen for a while today, but it is no good doing it now, we need to take that into tomorrow and we need to get a big performance at home and get a result for our fans.”

With a number of contracts running out in the summer, many players are playing for their futures at both the club and in the Football League. Caldwell asserted that this, alongside their desire to repay supporters will ensure a fighting atmosphere tomorrow. 

The 35-year-old explained: “Regardless of the game or what is at stake, regardless of whether it is a friendly or a cup final, if you are not playing to win then you will not be a professional football player, so both teams will be playing to win tomorrow. 

“Charlton have had a disappointing season themselves, from coming down they would have expected to be higher, so they are trying to build something for next year as well, so it is going to be a difficult game that both teams will be playing to win.

“The players know what is at stake, even though there is nothing to play for in terms of league position or points, they know their careers are on the line, but most importantly I have told them to do it for the fans.”

A question and answer session took place at the Proact last night and many supporters addressed concerns regarding commitment levels within the squad, Caldwell stated that the players will use this as ammunition tomorrow. 

“I told the players this morning what the fans thought of them, I told them in the dressing room that 80 fans had a question and answer last night and they all pretty much, to a man, questioned your passion and questioned your desire to play for this football club,” the Scot continued. 

“I told them that we have one home game left this season where we can go and show home supporters that that isn't true, so we will find out tomorrow.”

The Spireites have struggled under the pressure of playing at home this campaign and Caldwell assured supporters that he can change this mentality going forward. 

He added: “When you are struggling it is more difficult to play at home and when you are doing well it is easier, that is not just a problem at Chesterfield, that is a problem at every club in the country who are down at the bottom of the league. 

“Supporters are on their backs, confidence is low and it becomes a difficult place to play and this is no different. 

“I spoke to the players and told them exactly what was said last night, they know the fans frustration and they have a chance tomorrow to gain some pride back. 

“The players have a chance to show the fans that they are giving everything for this football club and I can assure supporters that next year there will be a team that is out there every week playing in-front of home fans and winning football games for them.”

The Chesterfield boss also confirmed that Ched Evans remains sidelined but that Jon Nolan could return tomorrow, pending a late fitness check.