Martin Allen said today’s defeat at Alfreton was a lesson for all his players, the ones both on the pitch and in the stand.
He fielded a mixed team with plenty of youngsters, along with some first teamers and fringe players.
They were beaten 2-0 by a strong looking Alfreton, who now reside just a division below the Spireites.
Allen wasn’t pleased with everything he saw in the game.
“It was a mixed team, we had a few 17-year-olds playing,” he said.
“I thought there were some good things to happen and quite a few not so good things to happen.
“It was always going to be a difficult game coming here.
“It just shows everyone you’ve got to compete before you can play.
“They were bigger, stronger and dominant and fully deserved to win.”
Allen said the afternoon gave him plenty of food for thought ahead of the new season.
“It was a good reminder how important it is to compete when you play football.
“Some of the first team squad have done well this afternoon and some of them have not done so well.
“It was a good exercise for me.
“Interesting afternoon I’d say.”
He rested a lot of the players who shone in last week’s draw with Wigan at the Proact because he feels they’re ready to go and other, younger players need opportunities to impress.
“The young players have got to step up, they need these opportunities.
“They’ve been training with us, doing well, this is a one of the stepping stones to go forward for the future.
“We can be looking at some of these boys to the first team squad, we can be looking at some of them to go out on loan.
“Some of the other players that played so well on Wednesday, with a week to go they’re fit and ready. They’ve all been here to watch today and I think it was a good exercise for them to watch.”
Alfreton possessed a physical, experienced frontline and both of their targetmen, Tom Denton and Rickard Peniket got on the scoresheet.
“That’s what it’s like,” said Allen.
“This is what it’s like, welcome.
“If you don’t like it or can’t deal with it then you can’t win.
“You’re not going to play against teams like Paul Cook’s Wigan very often.
“Aldershot are like that, but generally, any game you have to compete first and foremost before you can play.”
Today’s game has changed Allen’s mind on what he plans to do at Matlock on Monday, in the final pre-season friendly before the National League kick-off.
“Some of those players that played today will now go and play at Matlock, because I’m not happy with that and they’re going to have to do better than that if they’re going to get into our squad to travel on Friday down to London.
“Unless I see something better on Monday then they won’t be coming.”