Youth team striker Joel Phillips looks forward to all his team’s games, but tomorrow’s clash with Rotherham United at Clay Cross (11am), is one that has a little extra spice.
Phillips is a Rotherham United supporter and was with the Millers academy until he was 16. He’ll know many of his opponents tomorrow and the challenge that they’ll bring, but he and his Spireites team mates are confident of getting a result.
He said: “We know what Rotherham are like, they finished high last season and they’re my former team, so I’m up for it definitely!”
“We’ve had a decent start, the lads are up for it and confident that we can get on a good run and pick up some wins, we’re all looking forward to the game.”
The match is the first league game for new manager Miguel Llera, who was appointed last month.
Llera’s arrival has seen the youth team undertake double training sessions during the week, as the Spaniard looks to get his ideas across to the squad.
His first game saw Phillips score in a 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup and provided Phillips the chance to play in a new position.
“He’s really good, he’s brought a new dynamic to the squad and the training sessions are more intense,” Phillips said.
“He wants us to play a different style of football, which is different to what we are used to. We used to play more direct, but he wants us to play through the thirds, get the ball down and play a more Spanish style of football.
“Fitness is another thing that he’s being drilling into us, we’ve done more sessions with more running as he wants us to maintain that intensity throughout the game.
“I’ve been playing a slightly deeper role which has seen me drop into midfield and get on the ball more.
“For my goal against Tranmere, Levi [Amantchi] held the ball up for me and I was able to run on past him before scoring with my left foot, I’m really enjoying playing there.”
So, what are the Worksop-born forward’s best attributes?
“I’ve got good technical ability with physicality as well,” he commented.
“I’ve usually had good movement and an eye for goal, but I’ve been working on that movement in the gym and at home, because the manager wants short and sharp movements.”
Phillips is now in the second of his two-year scholarship and would love nothing more than to obtain a professional contract with the club.
He’s certainly doing his chances of earning a contract no harm - scoring twice in the first four games of the season - even though he admits there is pressure on him to perform.
“I’ve hit the ground running which is what I wanted to do, because I want to get more goals than I did last season,” he said.
“Coming back as a second-year there is a lot more responsibility, it’s down to us in getting a professional contract but we also need the team to perform, that helps bring out the best in us.
“If you don’t play well you don’t feel as motivated as you think it was an opportunity to showcase your ability, people are always making judgements about you and you’re second year goes really quickly - it’s in the back of your mind.
“Though when your confidence is high you don’t think too much about it, you just think about going out there and putting another shift in.”
Phillips has also been able to train with the first team during his time at the Proact and believes that the experience will help to benefit him in the long run.
He added: “I want to keep performing well because that means I’ll get to train with them more.
“They’re true professionals who try to improve their own individual games and I’m pretty sure that I can go up to any player and speak to them about where I can improve myself.”