Ariyibi: You don't need to be local to know how big Blades clash is
Gboly Ariyibi says you don't have to be from Chesterfield to know how much Sunday's local derby means for the Spireites.
The American-born winger has team-mates who have either grown up in the town or made it their permanent home, and the club’s manager Danny Wilson has been based locally for many years.
While they’ll perhaps be able to pick up on local anticipation for the visit of Sheffield United, Ariyibi and the rest of the Town squad are in no doubt as to the game’s significance.
“It’s a massive derby,” he said.
“Last season wasn’t good at all. They really battered us and it was quite hard to take.
“But I’m not even thinking about that too much. With the position we’re in, it’s a big game.
“The atmosphere is going to be exciting, it’ll be a big game to play in.
“The build up is a big thing, even if you’re not from the area you know how important it is.”
Ariyibi says the two cup victories earned by Town in the past week have helped boost team morale, but he insists there wasn’t much of a problem on that front even in the winless, goalless period.
“The team morale is really good since we picked up two wins,” he said.
“Some of us have known each other two, three years and there’s great morale, we’re still laughing and joking and not taking things too seriously.
“It’s important we still enjoy ourselves.
“When it comes to matchday, that’s when we need to do the business.”
Morale might have been untouched by the goal drought that lasted over 500 minutes, but confidence did take a hit.
The flying winger, who is without a goal to his name this season so far, admits it’s an area of his game that needs improvement but is happy to contribute in whatever way he can.
“It’s not easy for any player. The team and myself were a bit low on confidence, not scoring goals, but we’ve come together, we’ve had a change of formation and we’re looking stronger now,” he said.
“I could do better and score a few more goals but I’m happy to be playing.
“Any attacking player, you want to be scoring goals but I’m working to be in and around the box more and having more efforts at goal.
“I’ve just got to think about playing well all the time and performances will come.
“Defensively I’d say I’ve improved a lot. If things aren’t working out for the attackers, whether it’s a tackle or Evo winning a header, anything to gee the team up and lift the spirit is important.”
By his own admission his 2016/17 form hasn’t set League One alight.
But Ariyibi, whose ambition is still to play in the Premier League, is determined to show his full ability in this campaign.
“I haven’t started the best but there’s still a lot more to come,” he said.
“I just need to keep playing and contributing as much as I can.”