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Lee: "I’m certainly going in the right direction."

16 August 2017

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Chesterfield goalkeeper, Tommy Lee, says that he's ready to return to first team action when called upon.

Lee missed the entire 2016/17 campaign with a shoulder injury and has worked tirelessly over the summer to get back to full fitness.

The former Manchester United trainee followed up pre-season appearances against Stoke City U23s and Doncaster Rovers, by captaining a Chesterfield XI’s 5-1 win over Handsworth Parramore last night and he was pleased with how things went.

Lee said: “I played 90 minutes tonight, I’m not where I was before the injury and whether I’ll get back to that, I don’t know, but I’m certainly going in the right direction.

“Hopefully I’ll get a little bit more time in the coming weeks that will bring back a little bit of confidence knowing that I can do the job out there, match practice is what I need.

“Landing (on his injured shoulder) is not much of an issue anymore, I got a few more bits and bobs out of it than I did in the Doncaster and Stoke games which is always nice.”

Goals from Charlie Wakefield, Connor Dimaio, Reece Mitchell, Ricky German and Conor Fowler saw the Spireites claim a comfortable victory at the Windsor Food Service Stadium, in a fixture that Gary Caldwell used to give players who’d not featured much in the early games a chance to get minutes under their belt.

Lee was one of those and he was grateful for the opportunity to play.

“I spoke to the gaffer about it last week and you can only do so much in training, you need to do things in game situations where it matters a little bit more and that’s where we are at the minute,” he explained.

“It was to catch a few crosses – I’ve not done that for a while – so long may it continue.

“The situation at the minute is that I won’t know if I’m capable of playing in League Two or Checkatrade until I play in the games and then I’ll know.

“You can only do so much in training and when there’s no adrenalin it’s a bit manufactured as goalkeeper training is, because you do certain exercises for different movements.

“In games, you don’t know what’s coming, so until I’m out there on the pitch I don’t suppose we’ll know.”

Lee played behind a youthful defence of first-year professional Jay Smith and academy scholars Dylan Hand and

Fowler against a side featuring experienced non-league players who posed a physical presence.

And the goalkeeper was impressed with what he saw on the night and urged the youngsters to continue the good work during the season.

Lee said: “Everyone applied themselves really well, especially the defenders in the first half with the sun – I don’t think I saw the ball for 45 minutes.

“Dylan, Jay and Conor in there did well, as did Ify [Ofoegbu] when he came on.

“You just have to look at the likes of Tendayi Darikwa who’s come through the ranks and got a move, it’s a difficult one because on a Saturday you can be apprehensive to blood them in and play games, but if they get the chance and are good enough then the world is your oyster.”

Next on the agenda for the Spireites is a home clash with Port Vale on Saturday, 3pm, a fixture that has taken on slightly more importance given the club’s two defeats from their first two Sky Bet League Two matches.

Caldwell and captain Ian Evatt have spoken about the need to bounce back quickly following those defeats and Lee echoed those sentiments and dismissed claims of a crisis.

He added: “I wouldn’t call it a rot, I’ve been in plenty at this football club, but losing our opening two games isn’t one.

“We do need to change it though and the lads are chomping at the bit, we had a good training session on Tuesday and now we want to get out there on Saturday and do it when it really matters.”

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