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Caldwell: "We’re not happy with the game."

23 July 2017

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Gary Caldwell says that while he didn’t think the result in the friendly match with Stoke City U23s reflected the game itself, the Spireites did themselves no favours by conceding goals in the way that they did.

Goals from Spanish striker Joselu, a Tyrese Campbell brace and a Dom Telford penalty, gave the Potters a 4-0 win at St George’s Park and the Scot has challenged his team to bounce back quickly in time for the opening game of the season against Grimsby Town.

Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Caldwell said: “I thought the goals we gave away were really sloppy, I didn’t think it was a 4-0 game but when you give goals away like that you’re always asking for trouble.

“We’re not happy with the game, there were a lot of changes from the team in midweek, with young players playing and I said to them that they need to learn fast if they want to have a career in football so we’ll look at it, analyse it and try to better from it.

“We know that it wasn’t our strongest XI and we’ll work hard next week to prepare for the Rotherham and Doncaster games, while most importantly be ready for the Grimsby game because that’s all that matters.

“There’s still two weeks to go, we got some minutes in our legs and there’s still some positives to take, but the result is unacceptable.”

Caldwell gave Chris O’Grady and Gozie Ugwu the chance to impress up front and he felt that despite neither of them scoring they both put in a shift for the team.

He said: “I thought the two strikers were excellent, especially in the first half, they held the ball up and were a handful, they got us back into the game, when after 20 minutes we were very poor, they dragged us up the pitch and created good opportunities.

“We should have had a couple of penalties and Ian Evatt had a great chance with a header, we had other opportunities where the final pass or cross wasn’t the standard we need or expect, but the strikers were a handful, if we keep supplying them the ball then they will score goals.”

The manager also sprung a surprise to many of the travelling Spireites supporters, by electing to give goalkeeper Tommy Lee a first start since the end of the 2015/16 season.

It’s been a frustrating year for the one-time Manchester United goalkeeper, who didn’t feature at all for the Spireites last term. Lee has worked tirelessly over the summer to get back to fitness and the manager had no hesitation in giving him the nod.

“He’s been training really well and he’s done all of the necessary requirements to play,” Caldwell explained.

“It’s great to have him back, he’s had a long time out and has worked extremely hard to be in the condition he is in now, so it was great to see him back.”

Caldwell also fielded three trialists in the match at English football’s headquarters, with Frenchman Michael Latour catching the eye along with former Burton Albion midfielder Robbie Weir and goalkeeper Vincent Dorel.

And he says that the trio will continue to train with the club before a decision is made to offer them a deal or not.

He added: “We’ve had them training with us for a week now.

“I thought that Michael was very good in winning the ball back for us, driving up the pitch and dribbling the ball into areas where we could hurt them, his final pass could have been a little bit better but he showed a lot in his first start.

“Robbie coming on after a long injury lay off was good as well, while Vincent we’ve had before, so we’ll keep them with us and see what happens over the next few days and weeks.”

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