By Tony Leighton
Chesterfield's new manager Paul Cook has stepped into the Proact Stadium with a simple aim - to take the Spireites up to npower League 1 as the League 2 champions.
It's a bold statement of intent by Cook, who has left Accrington Stanley to take over a team that since being relegated last term has not yet looked like promotion candidates under either departed boss John Sheridan or caretaker Tommy Wright.
Chesterfield are currently 13th in the table after winning only one of their last seven matches. With practically a third of the season gone they are a massive 14 points below leaders Gillingham, though only three points off the Play-Off places.
A top seven finish seems a more realistic target for Cook to set his sights on, but he insisted: "I don't want to settle for second best, I want to win the League.
"If we say we should be in the top three and come fourth we haven't achieved our goal. You've got to have strong goals and with a lot of games left to play we want to win every single one - that's the mentality the players have got to get into."
Getting into a winning mentality will be essential if the Spireites are to achieve Cook's heady aim, an aim which is extended by chairman Dave Allen as he lays out his agenda after handing Cook a two and a half year contract.
Allen, who reckons it was "criminal" that his club were relegated, said: "We've got the infrastructure for a Championship club and that's what we want to be. Can we do it in two and a half years? It will depend on what happens this season."
No pressure there then, new manager. But Cook will tackle the challenge head on. "Most managers," he said, "will ask for two and a half years just to get their feet under the table. But we want success - we know we can't get it today, but we've got to work our hardest to get it as quickly as we can."
The Spireites will be expected to quickly get three points in the bag as bottom of the table Barnet are the visitors to the Proact Stadium on Saturday.
Just 24 hours after taking charge, however, Cook will leave it to Wright - now assistant manager - and goalkeeping coach Mark Crossley to oversee final preparations and the match-day itself while he watches from the stand.
"I played against Tommy and Mark," said former midfielder Cook, "and I know them both well. They're good lads and we're looking forward to working with each other.
"I can't wait to come into the ground for the match, and hopefully we can get a win that will move us up the table a bit - that will give everyone confidence."
Victory over the Bees would be a great way for Cook to kick off his Chesterfield career as he looks to instil into his playing squad that winning mentality and the pure footballing style with which he is confident the Spireites can be successful.
"Winning is what football matches are about," he said, "but when you can win in style you've cracked it. So first and foremost we will want to win, but we are going to try to do so by playing attractive football to open teams up - and if we can marry those two aims together, we can have great success."
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