SPIREITES: Dan Gardner looking to put stop-start season behind him at Chesterfield

Hartlepool United vs Chesterfield - Dan Gardner - Pic By James Williamson
Hartlepool United vs Chesterfield - Dan Gardner - Pic By James Williamson

Dan Gardner is looking to put a stop-start season behind him and nail down a first team place under Dean Saunders.

The attacking midfielder, signed from FC Halifax Town 18 months ago, has made 39 appearances for the Spireites - but is yet to complete a competitive 90 minutes.

Chesterfield vs Burnley - Dan Gardner - Photo By James Williamson

Chesterfield vs Burnley - Dan Gardner - Photo By James Williamson

It is a statistic Gardner is hoping to consign to history under Saunders during the 2015/16 season, which begins on Saturday against near neighbours Barnsley.

Gardner said: “Last season was a bit stop-start for me and I feel like I’ve got a point to prove to the fans. Chris Turner gave me a chance from non-league.

“I’d like to show the fans more of what I can do and hopefully I’ll have chance to do that this season under the new manager, who I am enjoying playing for.

“He’s given me the freedom to play and not just 60 or 70 minutes. Hopefully this year I’ll be playing full games and can show more of what I can do.”

The former Crewe trainee did play 90 minutes last season, while on loan at Tranmere Rovers, against Northampton Town at Sixfields - the same ground where he made his first start for Chesterfield, in a memorable season for him and the club.

“Paul Cook gave me my chance in the team,” he said. “I came on against Bury and scored, Northampton was my debut and I was flying but only playing 60 minutes.

“I loved my time under that manager, we won the league and got to a Wembley final, from non-league to what was a championship winning team was unbelievable.”

The 25-year-old is set to put pen to paper on a contract extension at the Proact Stadium, which will keep him tied to the club until the summer of 2017.

And he hopes the stability will help him flourish on the pitch, starting with Barnsley at home.

He said: “I’ve been able to keep myself fully fit and I’m raring to go for Saturday. There is a big buzz around the place. Barnsley’s not too far away so it’s a crunch game.

“The crowd gives us that extra motivation to do well. It ‘gees’ the lads up and I’m sure when the whistle goes we’ll be on our game to get the result. We’ve got a lot of good players.

“Some very good players have left and that’s been hard but all we can do is keep playing as well as we have done and can do. Any players coming in will make us stronger.”

The departures also represent an chance for others to shine, added Gardner.

“I got on with each of the lads that have left really well. When you lose players like that the team’s always going to miss them but it’s part and parcel of the game and we go on.

“Gary (Roberts) was one of the main players and took up one of the spots in the team that I can play in so for me it’s an opportunity to get in the team and show what I can do.”