Miguel Llera says that the senior players who took part in last night’s 1-0 Derbyshire FA Senior Challenge Cup final win over Alfreton Town, will have benefited from the minutes they played at the Impact Arena.
Goal scorer George Smith, along with Joe Anyon, Josh Kay, Joe Rowley, Jerome Binnom-Williams, Jordan Sinnott and Gozie Ugwu all featured in the final and proved their fitness ahead of the remaining three matches of the season.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Llera said: “I think the game helped us to give them minutes, it was really beneficial for the likes of Gozie, JB [Binnom-Williams], and Sinnott as they’ve been injured for a while.
“Some of them played 90 minutes, while others played 60/70 and they all left feeling ok, which is important, and with their experience they helped the younger players to manage the game, we came into the final with that target and we did it right.
“I think it’s a boost of confidence for the players, we have to show the desire and commitment like we have today, and if we do anything is possible.
“We’ll be working tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to give our best and so the fans don’t have any doubt that the team that’s going to play on Saturday are going to die for the team.
“And that’s exactly what we’re expecting from the three games that remain, we owe that to our fans. The fans who come to the stadium on Saturday are going to see a team that are going to fight until the end.”
Smith scored the only goal of the game in the 2nd minute, when his free kick from the right of the Reds’ half evaded everyone and ended up in the back of the net.
Both teams then had plenty of chances after that, but one goal was enough to ensure the Spireites won the competition for the first time since 1937.
“We did the job,” Llera asserted. “It was a tough game and that’s what we were expecting.
“We scored an early goal and then managed the first half well. Then in the second half it was slightly different as some of the players were tired.
“The players who came from the first team had been injured for a while and then we had to make changes, they started to put pressure on us, putting a lot of balls and crosses into our box, and we defended that well, and I think we deserved to win the game.
“When you score first it’s a massive advantage, and the team showed composure with the ball and defended really well. We didn’t concede too many chances against them and it was difficult to play against them because they’re physical and have a lot of strong players.
“There was a lot of youth in the back four, with three from the youth team and I was proud for them because it was a great challenge for them to play in this game and I think they did their job really well.”
It’s been a difficult week for the club, with relegation to the National League confirmed last night, while Monday saw the departure of manager Jack Lester along with three members of his backroom staff.
Club captain Ian Evatt has been placed in caretaker charge for the three Sky Bet League Two matches that remain, and the Spaniard will assist the former Derby County man and try to ensure that Spireites salvage some pride from the most difficult of seasons, starting with the home match against Wycombe Wanderers this Saturday, 3pm.
Llera added: “I’m working with Evo [Evatt] and trying to help him, I’m really proud to do that and I’ll try and give him my experience and my knowledge as much as I can.
“The situation of taking the team after Jack has left is not easy, but we are employees of the club and they took the decision to give us the chance.
“The fans are going to realise that we’ll be dying for the team and we’ll do the best that we can, and the players will be doing the same.”