Chesterfield defender Ian Evatt has expressed surprise at the captain of Saturday’s opponents using the phrase ‘relegation battle’ this early in the campaign.
Adam Barrett, skipper of Southend who will host the Spireites this weekend, spoke after a defeat by Rochdale and said: “We have to fight for everything because at the moment we’re in a relegation battle.”
Evatt believes it’s too early to be condemning your side to a dog fight at the bottom of the table.
The 34-year-old wants Chesterfield players to maintain high expectations for the 2016/17 season.
“It’s a negative thing to say to be honest and then you tend to attract negativity,” he said.
“If you think that it can only go one way.
“It’s early days and there are so many points still to play for, you’ve got to think as high as you possibly can.
“That just shows the confidence in the way they’re playing at the moment.
“I certainly wouldn’t label it that right now.
“Teams at the bottom of the league at this stage can still win the league.”
Evatt does however admit that remaining positive at the Proact has been a challenge of late, given the club’s injury crisis.
But that does seem to be abating a little ahead of a visit to the Shrimpers.
“It’s been a frustrating six weeks or so,” he said.
“We started really well and then for a six week spell we’ve had players playing at 60 per cent and 70 per cent fit or missing completely.
“We carry such a small squad, we don’t have the numbers to deal with it.
“With the game called off we had a bit of a rest at the weekend and some of the injured lads started running today at training.
“Fitness wise everyone is improving, we’re getting a few bodies back.
“We’ve had a few niggling injuries over the last month, to the likes of myself and Sam Hird but they seem to be clearing up quite well now.
“We trained all last week and had a bit of a practice match on Friday, a rest over the weekend and training was really sharp on Monday.”
Personally speaking, Evatt is delighted to be fully fit again.
“I’m finally back to full fitness (after an injury) that’s been affecting me for six weeks.
“I was probably one of those playing at 60 or 70 per cent fitness and when you’re playing in that condition you’re not going to do yourself justice,” he added.