Drew Talbot has reflected upon what has been a dark week for Chesterfield with the confirmation of relegation to the National League hitting him hard, as the team gear up to face Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow (3pm), where only pride is at stake.
A draw for Morecambe in midweek meant that it was no longer possible for the Spireites to stay in the English Football League, an eventuality that Talbot reveals is obviously a tough thing to take: "It's absolutely devastating for me, the club is close to my heart,” he said.
“Getting relegated a couple of years ago from League One - you're still in the league - but to go out of the league is a sad state of affairs."
Talbot is Chesterfield through and through, and he explained just how badly the run the team have been on has got to him. “From a personal point of view, I've not slept well for weeks. It's not been good. I remember after the Forest Green game I was so tired. I remember getting home and sitting downstairs all day. I didn't sleep that night," he explained.
The club's relegation hasn't just affected Talbot however, with a person he knew well in Jack Lester leaving his post as manager earlier in the week. Following the news of his departure, Talbot said: "I knew Jack before he was manager, so I classed him as a friend.
"I didn't actually think he would go to be honest. We just got a text Sunday night saying we weren't training for a couple of days and I think that was the writing on the wall that something was going to happen. It's a shame but that's football and we have to move on," the defender commented.
With Lester having left the club, Ian Evatt has taken charge until the end of the season with Miguel Llera also being given a role as part of the first team coaching staff.
Speaking about Evatt's appointment, Talbot asserted: "He's been enthusiastic. I think he's trying to get as positive as possible in a difficult situation. We all support him, you have to get behind him. I play for Chesterfield for my team mates, I'm 110% regardless of who's in charge."
It also appears as though Talbot will be 110% committed to the club in the National League, providing a new deal is on the table for the 31-year-old. "I had a conversation with somebody not long ago and I always said that I wouldn't play in the National League. I've made quite a good career and it'll be my 14th year next year but this is the only club that I would play in the National League for. If there's an offer on the table then absolutely but that's not something I can control," he remarked.
However, in the more immediate future Chesterfield still have games left to play in Sky Bet League Two and will be aiming to finish strongly ahead of a fresh start next season. "You have to finish off going into the summer on a positive if possible. It's done, it's happened, and we have to accept that. But if we can manage to put a couple of performances in, get some points and wins, it gives a positive mindset going into the summer," Talbot mentioned.
Next up for the Spireites on Saturday is Wycombe who are chasing promotion and will therefore be no easy task. "We should be playing every game as freely as possible. I think they're third in the league and they're going to want to come and try and nail down that promotion as soon as possible. We have to impose our game on them as early as possible," he concluded.