Youth team midfielder Jack Holmes says that he can’t wait for tomorrow night’s FA Youth Cup first round tie with Notts County at the Proact (7pm).
The winners of the tie will face Port Vale at home in round two and the clash with the Magpies is one that the Spireites go into full of confidence, having won their last four matches.
“I’m buzzing for it,” Holmes said excitedly. “There should be a lot of fans there and the first team manager will be watching so it’s a good chance to prove myself as an individual and for us as a team.
“We’ve not played Notts County yet, but we are doing a lot of analysis on them this week to see how they are going to play.
“Training’s been a lot more intense and more focused to the point of what we need to do, whereas with a league game we’d train Monday and Tuesday, building into the game on Saturday.
“We’re confident of going through.”
Holmes has played a big part in the youth team’s recent success, starting in all four of their recent victories even though he’s found himself in a new position under academy coach Miguel Llera.
“It’s been good, we’ve been winning a lot of games, we’ve stayed compact and worked together well,” He said of the team’s recent run.
“Miguel’s ethics, work rate and what he demands from us have brought out the best in us and have helped us get the wins.
“He’s changed my position from a more attacking midfielder to a defensive one, it’s been different and I’m still getting used to it.
“It came as a surprise, but I had played there at previous clubs, so I’d had a bit of experience, when the ball goes forward I’ve got the urge to go with them, but I have to remember that I need to sit back!
“I used to be a box to box midfielder who got up and down and played in that role when I first came here, since Miguel’s come in he’s made me sit a bit more.
Hopefully it will bring out other qualities in my game.”
The Sheffield-born scholar joined the Spireites in December last year following his release from Sheffield United.
He’s certainly made a good impression during his time at the Proact and even featured for the first team’s pre-season friendly matches with Matlock Town and Buxton.
“My first couple of weeks here were great,” Holmes recalled. “I got involved and played with the first team against Matlock and Buxton.
“I didn’t know that I’d be involved, I came in during pre-season and I was training well. We were told that some of us may be involved as there were three games in a week and they wanted to keep the first team players fresh.
“I got told on the day of the Matlock game that I was playing – I’d just got out of the shower and then Kristian (academy physiotherapist Kristian Thackray) told me that I was in the squad.”
So, what did Holmes learn during his time with the first team?
“It was a good insight into what goes on at first team level, it helped me realise the standard I needed to be at with every aspect of my game,” he asserted.
“Even though I didn’t play a lot of minutes I still learned a lot throughout that time, learning about the tempo of the game and how it’s played.
“When you’re watching you don’t realise just how quick it is, but when you’re involved you notice just how quick it is, everything goes past you and you have to be switched on at all times.”
Having had a taste of first-team action, Holmes is even more determined to work hard to earn a professional contract. But his immediate focus is ensuring the Spireites’ passage to the second round of the FA Youth Cup.
The squad are in good spirits going into the tie and have left no stone unturned in their preparations - they even practised penalties in training yesterday, so the big question is, if required would Holmes step up?
“I’ll definitely be putting myself forward,” he said without hesitation.