Danny Wilson has issued a stark warning to some of his senior players – shape up or find yourselves in non-league.
The Chesterfield boss was livid after Tuesday’s 4-1 EFL Trophy humiliation at the hands of League Two Accrington Stanley.
And he appeared most irritated by some of the more experienced heads in his starting line-up.
“We’ve got one or two players who think at this moment in time they can stroll out there and we’ll be alright,” he said.
“Unfortunately they’ll end up in non-league, at an age when they can’t get back in football, and I say that with all due respect.
“We see that many players who leave the game, I see them and think ‘wow is he playing non-league now, why?’ The explanation is there, they’ve not put it in enough when playing league football.”
Wilson admitted he gave his side a rollicking after the midweek defeat, which made it four games without a win.
He wants to stop the rot before it sets in.
“Sometimes you need a bit of a kick in the backside, maybe just to get them to realise it’s the early part of the season but they can get sucked into bad areas,” he said.
“We’re determined not to do that.
“We want to be competing at the top end of the table.”
Positives might have been few and far between on Tuesday, but summer signing Kristian Dennis has pleased the Chesterfield boss.
Dennis has plied his trade in non-league since being released by Macclesfield as a 20-year-old, but has found the net five times to become the club’s leading goalscorer.
Wilson said the 26-year-old’s attitude is the antithesis of what costs others their place in the Football League.
“Denno has done the opposite, he’s had that taste of non-league and he’s taking this opportunity with both hands, he’s started brilliantly for us,” said the manager.
“It’s energy and the willingness to go and play.
“He’s played in non-league, he knows it’s an opportunity for him.
“He and Ricky (German)gave us a bit more energy up top. That was a positive, but we shouldn’t have to wait for two novices to come on and give us that lift, that should be done by senior players.”