In the second and final part of his exclusive interview with iFollow, Chesterfield manager Jack Lester has told of his desire to build a team that the Spireites fans can be proud of.
As a Town player, Lester scored over 90 goals for the club and helped the Spireites win the League Two Championship in 2011 and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley in 2012.
The last couple of seasons have been difficult for many supporters, with some having decided to stop attending matches. Lester refused to be drawn what has gone on prior to his return to the club as manager, insisting that he’s only ever felt support from the fan base – a group of people whom he’s determined to reward.
“I can’t get involved in the past too much, because it’s not relevant to the question and to me,” he said. “My experience as a player here was exciting and I never felt that dis-engagement with the fans.
“The game on Tuesday against Manchester City in the Checkatrade Trophy, even though there was only one stand open I really felt they were behind us, so I’ve felt that since I’ve been in.
“I think that when you support the football club it doesn’t leave you and that’s why I’m determined to give them something to be proud of because of what they’ve given me.
“They’ve given me some magical moments in my life, so I want to repay that, we want to give them something to be proud of. What’s gone is gone but from my experience I owe the fans and I want to give them something special.”
The Spireites’ next home Sky Bet League Two fixture takes place on Saturday when they take on Barnet, who like Chesterfield have recently appointed a new manager (Mark McGhee) and find themselves at the wrong end of the table.
It’s an important fixture and with Lester already saying that the fans have helped the team gather points in recent weeks, he’s urging the Town supporters to ‘Pack the Proact’ once again and help the team secure another good result.
“I keep talking about the energy of the place, the more people here the more energy that’s created for us,” he told IFollow.
“I want to be pushing towards the top end of this league and selling the stadium out and I want people to come here and have a brilliant time and we’ve got to give them a football team for that to happen.
“We’re not going to guarantee results but we must guarantee performances, energy and determination and we’re really working so hard to produce the right character of player to deliver that and it’s getting to the stage now when a player dips below the standard I don’t even have to speak.
“The players are really starting to buy into it and if you’re in a gym session, if you’re in a running session and you decide it’s not for you today I probably don’t have to talk too much now because the players are taking care of that, because they know what’s expected and that makes me so optimistic.”
It’s not just Lester and his backroom team who’ve been hard at work in recent weeks, with the first team squad also putting in the hard yards on the training field.
Their hard work is there for all to see, with an increase in fitness levels, morale, performances and results and while Lester acknowledged that there is still a lot of hard work to be done, he could not hide his admiration for their efforts.
He added: “I think the commitment to the intensity and the demands we’ve put on them has been really pleasing.
“I’m proud of them at times, the changes that they’re putting in – the players are dropping 30-40% of their body fat since we’ve came in and that’s ginormous. They’re doing 300% more sprints than the game before I came in, the high intensity in games is 100% higher than when we came in.
“You can’t just say to the lads run around more, lose weight, do this and just expect it to happen there has to be a training regime that allows that. The training regime is tough and it’s meant to be tough as we’re trying to produce mentally tough players as well and they’ve attacked it!
“They’re fitter and you can see it in their performances, it’s not me saying you must work harder, you have to produce an environment that demands, it’s a demanding environment and players want to work hard, they’re becoming better players.”
Click on the link above to watch the final part of Jack’s interview for free on iFollow.