SPIREITES: Chief executive Chris Turner backs Mark Smith to be a success in Chesterfield academy role

Chesterfield Players pictured training at Derbyshire's  Chatsworth House'Pictures Steve Parkin 'Chesterfield's Chris Turner
Chesterfield Players pictured training at Derbyshire's Chatsworth House'Pictures Steve Parkin 'Chesterfield's Chris Turner

Chris Turner has backed Mark Smith to be a success following his promotion to academy manager.

The Spireites chief executive pointed towards the progress of the under-18s last season under Smith and said it was a natural progression for a coach with his wealth of experience.

Chesterfield moved quickly to choose Gerry Carr’s successor, who left the club last week, and Turner believes the Smith’s appointment “is a major step forward for youth development”.

Turner said: “He has been a very successful youth team coach over the past 20 years and has done a good job here at Chesterfield over the past 18 months.

“He oversaw a side last season that saw Laurence Maguire and Jake Beesley taken up by the club on professional contracts and such was the quality of the side we could have taken a couple of more under different circumstances.

“The others were very close and it was only because we have a number of slightly older players in front of them. It wouldn’t have helped their progression.

“He goes out to watch all our age groups over the weekend. He has a very good working relationship with our staff and speaks very highly of them.

“We have already made good progress over the past two years from the development stages and the academy.”

Last year saw the youth team return to the town to play their games and Turner says the move is of benefit to the club and its supporters.

“We’ve started to get some supporters in watching them and it’s important they play in the town so that people can do that,” he said.

“We’re restricted in what we can do because good facilities in the town are limited. We are well suited for academy three status at the moment.

“The first team’s success on the field helps with that too in a big way because it is what everyone talks about in the schools and the clubs.

He added: “The academy is the future. We have six, seven or eight 18-22 year-olds in our first team squad. We have got to continue with that.

“Not all of them have come through our academy, but that’s the age group we have to look at. We want to develop players.”