Jack Brownell was part of the youth team's comeback victory over Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, and we caught up with him to discuss his season so far.
The half time interval can be a long time in football, especially when things aren’t going well and you’re a goal down.
Chesterfield’s youth team were in that very situation on Saturday, when they went in to the break trailing to Doncaster at Clay Cross.
Thankfully, they managed to turn the match around, and ended up 2-1 winners, a result which owed a lot to academy manager Mark Smith’s team talk.
“We started off really sloppily, and I’m not sure why,” said midfielder Jack Brownell.
“In the warm-up people just weren’t clicking and after that first half performance, Mark had a word with us and second half we came out all guns blazing and got the win.
“He told us that we weren’t working hard enough, and that we needed to up our game if we wanted to make it at Chesterfield.”
The win over Doncaster was the second consecutive league win for the youth team, and with Brownell and his team mates also playing well for the reserves in recent weeks, 2017 has seen a lot of progress being made.
He said: “Before Christmas we had a bit of a bad spell, but since we’ve come back we got a win against Lincoln City, which gave us a lot of confidence. And Saturday’s win has helped us keep our momentum going.
“It’s been up and down this season, the lads started off well, and then from about a couple of weeks before Christmas it started to go downhill.
“It started when we got knocked out of the youth cup to Carlisle, but thankfully after Christmas people have come back with a different attitude, working harder and playing better as a team.”
For second year scholars the New Year represents an important time in their young careers, with clubs having to make the big decision on whether to award a player a professional contract.
Brownell is confident of obtaining one, though he realises that there’s a lot of work still to be done, if we wants to extend his stay at the Proact.
“I signed at U16 level, I was recommended after playing for my county,” he recalled. “I played for Sheffield Wednesday at U14 level and one of my coaches recommended me to Chesterfield and I came and trialled here.
“It was an easy decision, I didn’t want to go back playing Sunday league football again, I had one season there after I left Wednesday and I decided it wasn’t for me.
“I wanted a pathway into football and I didn’t see that at Sunday league level.
“I’d love to get a professional contract here, I’m really enjoying it at the club, with the new manager coming in the spirits have lifted.
“I feel like I’m doing well at the minute, I’ve been playing for the reserves and obviously I still need to improve, but I think things are going well at the minute.”
While also impressing in youth team appearances this season, Brownell has caught the eye when stepping up to play for the reserves – as anyone who saw last month’s game with Notts County will testify
So what does he make of the step up?
Brownell said: “It’s been hard, but playing alongside the likes of Angel and Reece Mitchell, helped us to come in and feel comfortable and play our own game.
“Angel’s been very good, he was giving me assurance to go forward and take risks knowing that he’s behind us, so if we do lose it going forward, we’ve got somebody behind us to help out.
“I love it, it’s great! The game is a lot more physical and you’re playing against older players.”
There was also a special moment for the academy staff during that game, with Brownell, Joe Rowley and Charlie Wakefield forming a midfield that dominated there more experience opponents in the second half.
Brownell enjoyed playing alongside his fellow scholars and feels that the three could easily work together in the future.
He said: “I think that we complement each other well, and even though we are all similar type of players we are different enough to play as a three and still be solid defensively.
“I like to play as an attacking midfielder, but I feel I could do the deeper role if I needed to. So if we were to play a three I could easily rotate around either being high up the pitch or sitting deep.
“Technically I’m quite good, and going forward I think that’s where I can be used best and help create chances to score with my passing.”