Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell saluted his first team squad, after they wrapped up their pre-season campaign with a victory over Doncaster Rovers at the Proact.
Goals from Kristian Dennis, Delial Brewster, Gozie Ugwu and Reece Mitchell sealed a 4-0 victory over their League One opponents and Caldwell feels that it was just the tonic for the new EFL season, which starts next Saturday.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Caldwell said: “It was what we needed, we’ve had a difficult pre-season physically.
“The boys have worked incredibly hard and every game we’ve played has been a difficult match.
“So to come out with a win and the manner that we did is great for confidence and in preparation for Grimsby.
“I felt that even in the second half, playing against ten men the patience and the width was good, it was wave after wave of attack, we didn’t let them off the hook at any point and it was a good exercise as we’ll come up against that at some point in the season.”
Caldwell once again shuffled his pack, playing a midfield diamond that quickly became a 4-3-3 and he explained his reasoning for deploying that formation.
“We want to experiment and we want to see different things,” he commented
“We’ve used every game to prepare for the new season, it’s not been meaningless. I’ve seen things today from players who can feature in different combinations within the team.
“Playing the diamond gives us that flexibility to switch to 4-3-3 very quickly, so we have lots to think about next week and work on for Grimsby Town, but we also have two or three different formations that we can go to very quickly and the players understand.”
Those who featured in midfield during the game included trialist Robbie Weir and on-loan midfielder Louis Reed, both players enjoyed a good ovation from the supporters when they were substituted in recognition of their fine performances.
On his midfielders, Caldwell added: “I thought Robbie was great, he’s come back from a long injury and it’s never easy when you’re in on trial, but he’s been brilliant since he’s been at the club.
“Reedy has grown in every training session and every game, his quality is there for everyone to see and we’re delighted to have him for this season.”
The manager also confirmed that Ian Evatt and Bradley Barry - who both picked up knocks during the game - should be fine for the opening fixture next weekend, as will fellow defender, Scott Wiseman, who was rested for the game as a precaution.
Bar injuries to Joe Rowley and Jerome Binnom-Williams, the Spireites’ pre-season campaign has been a good one, with Caldwell and his staff being impressed by the players’ attitude and fitness levels since their return on June 19.
But now it’s time for the real thing and Caldwell says he’s itching to get started.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
“These games are important but you can’t beat the real stuff and playing for the three points on Saturday and whilst we’ve worked hard for the start of the season, we’ve also worked hard for the 46 games, so this team will be physically fit for that.
“It’s not just Saturday we are preparing for, so we’ll continue to get stronger throughout the season.”