After a double training session on Monday, morning training on Tuesday followed by the goalless draw in the evening against a technically talented Benfica B side, the Spireites squad has been granted a day off today (Wednesday).
No doubt the beach, the pool and the golf course will be fully utilised as the lads, who were joined midway through the second half of the game by new loan recruit Louis Reed, ready themselves for another double session on Thursday.
Training has been at 9am and 6pm to avoid the hottest part of the Andalusian day, with recovery, eating and sleeping between the hard work of the day.
McCourt and Chris O’Grady both donned Spireites colours for the first time on Tuesday and it looks like they’ll be two excellent additions to the squad, which now features ten new men. The Portuguese side’s development programme saw their Academy voted the Best in the World a couple of years ago, making Chesterfield’s performance in nullifying the talent in opposition all the more notable.
Gary Caldwell lined up with three central defenders plus wing-backs, a holding midfielder plus two raiders behind a front two for the entire 90 minutes and the team played a patient passing game, working particularly hard when out of possession, something that had been worked on in training as the manager expected Benfica to possess the ball for the majority of the game.
A blast from the past made an unexpected ‘appearance’ ahead of the game in Vila Real de Santa Antonio; Dagenham & Redbridge are using the facility to train and a few of their players and staff watched the game, but ex-Spireite Darren Currie, The Daggers’ Assistant Manager, was working with other players on the beach but he spoke to former teammate Tommy Lee on the phone.
Hats off to the half-dozen Spireites at the match, four were spotted initially but they indicated two more were tucked away. They had to battle with officials on the gate who were reluctant to let them in, but common sense prevailed and the super-six saw the game in full.