Chesterfield set to return to action 53 days after Wembley heartache against Notts County

Just 53 days after Chesterfield’s painful play-off final defeat the Spireites return to action against Matlock Town in their first pre-season friendly on Tuesday night.
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It only feels like yesterday since the Blues walked out at Wembley against Notts County, but yet it also feels like a very long time ago.

Chesterfield will be determined not to carry a hangover from that day into the new campaign, but that is easier said than done. Torquay United, losers in the 2021 final, have just been relegated to the National League South, while Solihull Moors, who came unstuck in 2022, finished in the bottom half last season.

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But the difference between those two and Chesterfield so far is that the Spireites have kept hold of their better players and have significantly strengthened in key areas.

Paul Cook. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)Paul Cook. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Paul Cook. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Harry Tyrer should provide increased quality in goal, a position which was unsettled in the first-half of last term. Tom Naylor will add some more defensive stability and steel to the midfield, hopefully decreasing the number of counter-attack goals conceded. Will Grigg should provide that killer instinct in front of goal which was missing at times. And Bailey Hobson, a bright young midfielder, will bring an infectious enthusiasm, a willingness to learn as well as an eye for a goal.

The friendly, the first of seven, will give us a first look at those above and to see where they might fit in. Manager Paul Cook is a big believer in consistency, and he often chose the same line-up in pre-season last year, rather than chopping and changing like others do, so the selection could be what he thinks is his strongest XI.

The match at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm) is heading for a sell-out so be quick to secure your ticket online.

After Tuesday, Cook’s men make the short trip to Alfreton Town on Saturday (3pm), but before then the 2023/2024 National League fixtures will be released on Wednesday at 1pm.