By Tony Leighton
Chesterfield's steady progress under caretaker manager Tommy Wright is due in no small part to striker Jack Lester, who, as the npower League 2 club's senior player, is being used as a vocal conduit between the playing squad and the management team.
Since Wright took over from previous boss John Sheridan at the end of August, the Spireites have lost only one of their eight League games and are just three points below the Play-Off places ahead of Saturday's meeting with Dagenham and Redbridge.
And just as Lester's goals - five in only four starts and nine substitute appearances - are proving vital, so is the role he is playing off the field at the instigation of Wright.
The veteran striker, who celebrated his 37th birthday last Monday, explained to football-league.co.uk: "I'm basically a voice in the dressing room for Tommy.
"When he took over the first thing he said to me was that he wanted me to concentrate on playing, but also to be another voice to listen to apart from his backroom staff.
"I know the club very well having been here over five years and I've played a lot of games [over 600] in my career, so I think I also know the game pretty well.
"I want to stay in the game once I've finished playing, so I see the role that Tommy's asked me to take on as being beneficial to myself in the long term as well as hopefully to Tommy and to the playing squad as we try to get our season going."
Chesterfield's season is going quite nicely as they look to build momentum towards making a promotion bid following their relegation from League 1 last season.
And Lester, a thinking footballer and one of the canniest players in the lower divisions, is making hay while the sun shines on a productive career that he knows will end sooner rather than later but which he hopes will continue for a while yet.
The former Grimsby Town, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United player said: "My contract here is up at the end of the season, but I'm still loving playing and scoring goals and so as long as I'm fit and well I'd like to go on for a bit longer.
"Once I do stop playing I'd like to stay in the football industry because I'm passionate about it, I love everything about it and I'm already preparing for the future.
"On the coaching side I've got my 'B' licence and I've also been on the same psychology course as managers like Brendan Rodgers and Aidy Boothroyd, so I'm putting together different options for my career once I've finished playing.
"But right now my biggest priority is playing and scoring goals for Chesterfield, and we're doing pretty well at the moment. We're on a decent run, but we can't become self-satisfied because that leads to complacency and we certainly can't afford that.
"We're on the right path, but we've go to strive to keep on improving and if we can achieve that then we've got every chance of continuing to push up the table."
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