Academy coach Dylan Kerr has called upon the youth team players to come back stronger in pre-season, following the conclusion of their EFL Youth Alliance North East campaign last Saturday.
The Spireites suffered a 0-1 home defeat to Notts County in their final match, a result which meant they finished in seventh place and Kerr believes they can do better next season.
He said: “The players have got to go and regenerate the batteries, and come back with a vision of can they do better, because I believe that they can.
“It’s not something that I like to leave the season on, it wasn’t the best of games and there wasn’t much between the teams.
“We got caught on the counter attack, Dylan Hand came close to scoring and then they went down the other end and put the ball away, and that kind of sums up our season.”
Despite a disappointing end to the season there have been a number of positives as Kerr explained.
“The positives I would look at are the five lads who’ve earned professional contracts and looking at the games we’ve created a number of chances and not put them in the back of the net,” he commented.
“For Chesterfield football club it’s great to get five players obtain contracts, Gary Caldwell has given three of them their first team debut towards the end of the season with Joe Rowley being more involved, Charlie Wakefield and Jack Brownell also having had a taster, and I’ve told the young lads that they should want a bit of that. I’m 50 years old and I want a bit of that!
“That’s a stepping stone for the young lads to get involved, and I’m sure Gary has got his plans for next season, who he wants to bring in, and hopefully we’ll get a response from that when we return to pre-season training.”
The scholars will start pre-season training in June, and Kerr has warned them that it’s not going to be easy.
He explained: “We’re going to run them; we’re going to get them fit. One of the things we need to look at is the fitness levels of the players.
“I’m old-school, I’m not really into sports science and statistics, you play 90 minutes and it’s about hard work and grafting, beating the opposition.
“If you can be quicker, stronger and fitter as I had in my career you can dominate teams and be successful.
“We at Chesterfield, have got to huff, puff, have that desire and heart and that’s what we’ll be focusing on over pre-season.
“We’ve already got four friendlies arranged, Lincoln City, Maltby Main, Sheffield Wednesday and Burton Albion and I’m looking forward to it.”
Since arriving at the club back in November, Kerr’s impact around the Proact has been a positive one, with the former Leeds United and Reading player being a popular figure among players and staff.
There have been a number of ups and downs, but it’s an experience that he’s more than enjoyed.
He added: “I loved every minute of it, obviously when performances (not results) don’t go well that has an effect on you because you think ‘is there something more that I could’ve done personally?’
“I’ve found that the academy system is very hard work, you’re doing training sessions, you’re mentoring the players and teaching them life skills. They can play football it’s just trying to get that message to them of how to play – and that has been brilliant for me.
“Being involved with a football club is where you want to be, I’ve got a great gaffer in Mark Smith, and great staff working with me, we’ve got a good team as we all bounce off each other and try and get our point across.
“To be a part of that is a different class!”