Despite suffering a late defeat to Sky Bet Championship side Sheffield United, Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell declared himself pleased with his team’s performance.
Chris O’Grady’s first goal in Spireites colours gave Caldwell’s men a 1-0 half time lead at the Proact, but second half goals from Jack O’Connell and David Brooks sealed a 1-2 victory for the Blades.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Caldwell said: “I thought it was a fantastic performance and an extremely good pre-season friendly with two teams playing at a really high tempo, the crowd really helped that.
“So I was delighted with the efforts of everyone, I’m just disappointed to lose so late.”
O’Grady’s goal came in the 32nd minute following a very neat move consisting of Charlie Wakefield and new signing Delial Brewster.
It was a fine goal and came at a time when the Spireites were on top in the game and but for better finishing the home side could have further extended their lead.
“It [the goal] was fantastic and we had other good moves,” said Caldwell.
“I thought the first half was very evenly matched and we struggled to get out as much in the second half, but looked a threat on the counter attack – we should have gone 2-0 up!
“When you miss chances like that you fear the worst, but it was really positive in terms of what we’ve been working on and where we’re going.
“I think we’ve seen improvement in every game and we have to keep building on that and look forward to the next game.”
Caldwell once again played a 3-5-2 formation, using the combination of Wakefield, Connor Dimaio and Bradley Barry in central midfield, as well as partnering Brewster with the experienced O’Grady up front.
Those selections provided the XI with a lot of energy, which Caldwell believes shows the high level of fitness the team are currently operating with.
He said: “I think it is, you saw that when we made changes the game gets disrupted, so whilst you want to win and get results, they aren’t the be-all and end-all in pre-season.
“We’re looking for different things and a lot of what we are looking for we got and while there are still bits to work on I’m delighted with what I’ve seen.”
Youngster, Wakefield, caught the eye of the 4501 crowd, with intelligent passing and good bursts forward from midfield and his manager heaped praise on the midfielder, who only signed his first professional contract with the club last month.
“I think he’s another outstanding young player,” the Scot said.
“At 17 playing against men, physically he’s still got a long way to go to develop and after 15 minutes I feared the worst for him because of the pace of the game and the physicality that they have, he struggled, but he showed his strength of character to keep going and plugging away.
“He set up the goal and he did some great things, I’m delighted with him and really looking forward to working with him and developing him over the next few years.”
Meanwhile, Caldwell provided an injury update on Jerome Binnom-Williams and Joe Rowley, both of whom picked up injuries in the pre-season tour of Spain and Portugal last week.
Sadly, for the players, staff and Spireites supporters it’s not good news.
He added: “Jerome rolled his ankle at the end of the Benfica game and it’s worse than we thought, he might need surgery as he’s done a ligament in his ankle, so we’ll look at that later on in the week.
“Joe has seen a specialist and will get an operation at some point in the next 48 hours.”