Joe Rowley says that his first pre-season as a professional footballer has proved as tough as he expected it to be.
Rowley made his breakthrough into the first team towards the end of last season while still an academy scholar, with his impact being so great that he signed his first professional contract with the club in April.
The midfielder has taken part in every training session so far and has welcomed the challenge that each day has brought.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Rowley said: “Pre-season is hard, it was always going to be, but I’ve enjoyed myself and the lads have been working hard.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve enjoyed the running but I know that’s a big part of it, the football and possession based work that we’ve done today is brilliant, its hard work and we’ve got to do it.”
Prior to making his Spireites debut, Rowley trained with the first team regularly during the 2016/17 campaign, so working alongside more experienced players such as Ian Evatt and Sam Hird is nothing new to him.
Since the squad returned to training last Monday, Rowley has again worked with fellow academy graduates Jack Brownell, Ricky German, Dylan Parkin, Jay Smith and Charlie Wakefield – who’ve also signed their first professional contracts – as well as the club’s seven new signings.
“There are a lot of familiar faces, it’s been a good step up for all of us,” he commented. “I think we’ve all settled in brilliantly.”
“The new players have all settled in well too and they’re all sound lads, it’s brilliant working with them.”
Rowley has now set himself the target of maintaining his place in the starting XI, for the opening fixture of the season against Grimsby Town at the Proact on Saturday, August 5.
He added: “It’s important for us to get off to a good start, I’m glad it’s a home game.
“I want to get back into the team, however there are a lot of fresh faces and competition, though the competition is healthy.”