Lester talks Stags: ‘Is it heck just another game’

Jack Lester casually rounds ex-Spireite goalkeeper Carl Muggleton to slot home Chesterfield's winner by Tina Jenner 15th September 2007
Jack Lester casually rounds ex-Spireite goalkeeper Carl Muggleton to slot home Chesterfield's winner by Tina Jenner 15th September 2007

Jack Lester’s Chesterfield side know Saturday’s derby with bitter rivals Mansfield is not just another game.

The manager educated himself on the significance of the rivalry during his playing days – during which he never lost to the Stags.

Lester played three times against Mansfield, winning all three and scoring two goals.

When asked if the derby was to be treated as any other fixture, he was unequivocal.

“No, is it heck. No, no, no,” he said.

“We know what it’s all about, the players know what it’s all about and we’re excited.”

Lester has ensured that his players know how the fans feel about the game, just like others once informed him.

“When I was a player here people around the club, fans told me,” he said.

“I read articles on it going back to the miners.

“We know what it means, it’s a local derby against your rivals, you prepare properly for every game but this is one with a little bit of edge, a little bit of needle and that excites us.

“It’s about the players understanding the importance of it.

“They have the character to cope with that and we’ll be going into it to win it.”

Lester won’t want to dull the aggressive nature of his side that has helped them to back-to-back wins ahead of the derby but acknowledges that there’s a balance to be struck between aggression and composure in a heated atmosphere.

“Every 50:50 will be contested,” he said.

“The crowd will react to fouls like it’s the worst thing in the world, as they would here.

“But the players won’t step over the line just because the crowd are reacting.

“We’ll be focused, there’s a sweet spot you have to hit and we’ll be working hard on the players’ mentality.”

A sell-out is expected at Field Mill for the early kick-off and around 1,800 Town fans will make the short trip into Nottinghamshire.

Lester is making demands of both the supporters and his squad.

“I expect them to get behind us and I’m expecting us to give them something to get behind,” he said.

“We’re going to continue what we’re doing, we’ll go and compete and try and win the game.

“We’ll be turning up knowing what we’re going to face, being ready for it and they’ll have a gameplan to play against us. It’s whoever deals with that best on the day.”