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Caldwell: "It's great to be back."

20 June 2017

Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell is delighted to have his players back for pre-season training.

The Spireites started their preparations for the 2017/18 campaign yesterday with a double training session as they look to come back stronger after a disappointing finish last time out.

And while the decision to bring the players back earlier than other clubs may have come as a surprise to some people it’s a method that has served the manager well in previous years.

Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Caldwell said: “I think over the summer we do a lot of work as coaching staff and signing new players, but there’s nothing better than coming in and meeting everyone together as a group for the first time, and we’ll continue that throughout the course of pre-season.

“It’s the third pre-season that I’ve done and the previous ones have been for six weeks and a few days long and it’s not that much longer than I would normally plan.

“I just felt that with signing so many new players and wanting to be prepared for the new season it would be important for us that we could build the players up physically and gradually and not get any injuries and also we have the players together for longer so they can get to know each other quickly.”

Caldwell was joined in the gym and training ground by assistant manager Steve Eyre, goalkeeper coach Matt Duke and new fitness and conditioning coach Gareth Piper.

Piper joined the club on Sunday and the Scot explained the reasons for bringing him into club.

“He was somebody I worked with as player at Wigan and then I took him on my staff,” he explained.

“Once he was available I felt that it was important to use his expertise and over the course of pre-season we get that from him and he works with the players and gets us a culture at the club where the players work hard not only at the training pitch but in the gym as well.

“It’s been good to get him in and it’s been a good start to the day.”

Caldwell also paid tribute to the service Ritchie Humphreys gave to the Spireites, after he decided to leave the club over the weekend.

Humphreys’ spell with the Spireites lasted for four years in both a playing and coaching capacity and the manager echoed the views of club staff and supporters in wishing him well for the future.

He added: “Ritchie was a great help to me when I came to the club last season and I really wanted him to stay.

“But I felt that at the end of last year he had other things on his mind and he’s got other avenues that he wants to go down and we wish him all the best for that.

“He’s welcome back any time because he was a great player, coach and a well-liked figure at the club.”