MARC Richards believes Chesterfield have picked up where they left off under manager Paul Cook.
Late goals from Armand Gnanduillet and Tendayi Darikwa gave the Spireites their fourth win of the campaign at Portsmouth on Saturday.
The result fired the unbeaten Blues to the top of the League Two table with 13 points from five games.
Cook’s side won seven from 12 games in the final two months of last season as they narrowly missed out on a play-off spot.
And Richards said the players are determined to go one better this time - but insisted there is a long way to go.
He said: “We’ve been able to show the same form we had at the end of last season. We were in promotion form and our aim was to carry that on.
“It was a tough summer and rightly so because it should stand you in good stead for the rest of the season.
“I’m feeling the benefits. I thought pre season last year was off for my standards and I took that into the season.
“My form at the start wasn’t good, I didn’t score for six or seven games but this season I think we are a fit and fresh group of lads who are willing to work hard for each other.”
Richards has found the back of the net twice from five starts in the league so far.
But he isn’t the only one amongst the goals at present with fellow forwards Eoin Doyle and Gnanduillet both off the mark this season.
And he is confident all three front men will have more chances to put away with the creative talents running through the Spireites’ squad.
He said: “It’s a case of getting in the right areas and waiting for deliveries to come. As long as the striker’s on the move, getting across defenders and getting in behind defenders then there should be a bagful of chances.
“It’s a tough job as a lone front man but with our versatility in midfield we could end up with three strikers in a game, as long as you’ve got players willing to get past the striker and create chances.
“There’s fantastic competition throughout the whole team and most of the lads on the bench will get into most people’s first team, that’s how strong we are.”
Chesterfield play host to Cook’s former club Accrington Stanley at the Proact Stadium on Saturday in their first of three home games this month.
And Richards said the last minute win over Southend United demonstrated how much of an influence a strong home crowd can have on the match.
“The crowd were fantastic,” he added. “They got right behind us and played a massive part.
“When you’re there grafting away with your team-mates and getting urged on by six, seven, eight thousand fans it does you the world of good.”