Chesterfield manager Jack Lester says that the Spireites’ players have made good progress during his first week at the club.
Lester picked up his first win as a manager on Tuesday night, when Jak McCourt’s late goal secured a 2-1 victory over Rotherham United and the club legend has now asked his players to replicate what they produced in South Yorkshire when they travel to Lincoln City on Saturday (3pm).
“It’s been good, it’s been full on but it’s definitely been enjoyable,” Lester said of his first week in charge.
“They’ve took on board what we’ve asked them to do, it’s only small steps but we’re trying to slowly build something. It will come from the training ground, we’ve had our third grass session today and that’s where the standards will be set.
“I thought they were excellent at Rotherham. The intensity was much higher and the intensity we want them to play at is not quite in their legs yet but they’ve got to look at those moments when it’s painful and where it hurts and that’s the time to go. I thought the character of the team was excellent on Tuesday night.
“We’re not going to kill them, we’ll try to train for the minutes that we’ll do down the line. The games are coming thick and fast and we haven’t had much time on the training ground to implement it, but the players are into it and there’s a togetherness so it’s been great.”
Tuesday’s victory over the Millers gave the players a huge lift, which Lester says has been very much in evidence during training.
He said: “You want to win and it never changes. It gives us the belief, which is massive in football. The confidence and belief was as important as anything on the night.
“The signs in training are that we’re stepping in the right direction and we’re in the right place. There’s a good feel about the place and the training ground is lively.
“They’re getting after one another, there’s a bit of aggression around the place and I’m really pleased with the way that they are responding.”
One player who made his return to playing action on Tuesday was Joe Rowley, who missed the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury.
Rowley played just over an hour at the New York Stadium and the Sheffield-born midfielder has impressed his manager over the last few days, with Lester believing he has a big future ahead of him.
Lester said: “He’s got a very bright future; he has good energy and spots a pass. I really like him.
“It all starts with the character of the player. I’ve worked with a lot and some are no longer there because of the character. He has the right character and will only get better.
“He’ll have an opportunity to progress here – there is a pathway here for players – so it’s the right place for him at the moment.
“I see him being quite versatile, which I’d say is one of his strengths. You could put him anywhere across midfield or with a striker and he’d cope quite well. We’re not in a rush to pigeon-hole him into a position.”
Lester confirmed that goalkeeper Tommy Lee and defender Sam Hird remain doubts for the fixture at Sincil Bank, while Louis Reed could return after missing out in the week due to an ankle injury. Matt Briggs is another who could come back into contention after being unavailable for the match at Rotherham due to an issue outside of football.
Saturday’s clash with the Imps will not be easy as Lester acknowledged, with Danny Cowley’s men starting the campaign well, sitting in 11th place in Sky Bet League Two.
“They’ve been fantastic and have a good identity,” the manager added. “They did really well last year and have a good management team and strong physical players and it will be a difficult afternoon.
“They’ll be a bit down the line from us in terms of knowing exactly what they want from one another. The roles and responsibilities are crystal clear by this time and it will be a tough test.”