A hat-trick from Ricky German ensured the youth team’s winning start to 2017 continued at Burton Albion last weekend, though academy coach Dylan Kerr believes there’s still room for improvement.
German’s goals gave the Spireites a 3-0 lead, before the hosts pulled two back to set up a frantic finish.
“Firstly it was a win, and that continues our unbeaten run in 2017, which is always good,” said Kerr. “The result was 3-2 but it could have been 8-7, it was that type of game.
“At 3-0 up we brought Ricky off and they came back with two breakaways from our corners, got back into the game and we defended well in the last 15 minutes to keep the result in our favour.
“Performance wise we’ve played better, but it’s the realisation that these kids have got to sacrifice a lot. Every day is a learning trait and they’ve got to listen to what we’re trying to tell him.
“We’re not Barcelona or Real Madrid – and no disrespect - we’re Chesterfield, and our players have got to play like Chesterfield players, and these games are all about scrapping and being first to the ball. And we need challenges and that’s what we’ll get in this league.”
German’s hat trick was a one of the highlights on the day, along with the performance of goalkeeper Brad Jones.
Kerr explained: “Brad’s become a more confident and better ‘keeper in the last six weeks.
“He’s not now in Dylan Parkin’s shadow as a second goalkeeper, though Dylan is doing very well as well. We’re tending to use Dylan in reserve matches and Brad in scholar’s games.
“Joe Rowley worked hard and Ricky did what he should be doing in scoring goals. He got a hat trick, missed a penalty and could have had more!”
The likes of German and Rowley are set to feature for the reserves this afternoon, when they take on Grimsby Town at the Proact (1pm).
It’ll be the fourth game in a row where the academy scholars have stepped up a level, a run of games that is helping their development.
Kerr said: “They all enjoy playing at the Proact, it’s every kids dream to play at a first team stadium and it’s a good experience for them. The lads are more comfortable and they enjoy it!
“Grimsby will be a tough match, because they’ve got a new management team in place. Neil Woods has gone back there from Walsall to look after their academy. And if he comes down he’ll be wanting to get one over on us as we beat his Walsall team in the FA Youth Cup.
“I’m looking forward to the game and hopefully we can maintain our unbeaten run. It’s all about progress and the determination of the players to get better every single game.
“You’re not going to play well every game, but we’ve got to be realistic and set them targets. I want us to go unbeaten until the end of the season, and I’d like to think these players want that too and will set the stall for next season.”
Admission for today’s match with Grimsby is free for supporters. The match kicks off at 1pm.