Chesterfield defender on 'class' Sheffield United striker and a first ever pre-season clash with Premier League opposition
Last night's 5-0 drubbing by Sheffield United was an 'eye opener' for Chesterfield defender Haydn Hollis.
The 26-year-old and his defensive partners were kept busy all evening long by the Premier League outfit.
The Blades attacked relentlessly, dominating possession and creating chances for the impressive Callum Robinson and evergreen Billy Sharp, who grabbed a hat-trick.
Hollis reflected on his first ever encounter with top flight opposition as a learning experience.
“Not many teams get to play against Premier League teams,” he said
“It was a real eye opener.
“It’s the first time I’ve played against a Premier League side in pre-season.
“I think they’ll do alright in the Premier League, they play really well."
Chesterfield's main objective was to increase their match sharpness ahead of the approaching National League season.
On that front, given the amount of chasing, harrying and closing down they were forced into, it was a success.
And centre-half Hollis believes they can take positives from last night's defeat into the league campaign.
"Everyone is gutted to lose, you want that feeling of winning, but the most important thing is that we got through 90 minutes," said Hollis.
"That's the main thing the gaffer wants from it I think, it's a good workout for us.
"I don't think we're going to come up against many teams like that.
"If we can, I’ll not say match them because they were 10 times better than us, but if we can defend against teams like that – in the first half I thought we did defend quite well – hopefully we can dominate teams in our league."
Hollis could have denied Blades skipper Sharp his treble.
He strained, unsuccessfully, to head the striker's dinked second effort over the bar, with goalkeeper Shwan Jalal beaten.
Then, when Luke Freeman sent in a wicked cross to the back post, Hollis looked to have Sharp covered until the ball was suddenly in the back of the net, thumped there by the head of the goalscorer extraordinaire.
"He's class," admitted Hollis.
"I'm disappointed with myself for the goal, I think I should have done better. One minute I have him, next minute I don't.
"He's done that to Championship defenders and I'm sure he'll do it in the Premier League as well, so we can't get too down on ourselves."
There's just one more outing for the first team before the season proper kicks off.
Burton Albion will visit the Proact on Saturday and then there's a week of training in preparation for a visit to Dover on the opening day.
Now that we're in the latter stages of pre-season, Hollis can't wait to get the friendlies out of the way and crack on with the real thing.
"It's not long away at all.
"Friendlies are brilliant but there's nothing like real competition games where there's points on the line.
"I can't wait to get going."