Former Celtic prospect Dan Gardner believes he can flourish at Chesterfield under the guidance of manager Paul Cook.
The 23-year-old, who penned an 18-month contract from FC Halifax Town, has set his sights on breaking into the first team at the Proact Stadium.
He joins Aaron Chapman, Matty Brown and Ollie Banks in the Spireites squad who have made the transition from part-time footballer to full-time professional.
Gardner has made the step up once before when Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic picked him out from playing college football at the tender age of 18.
He didn’t make an appearance for the club and his stay across the border lasted just one year but, nevertheless, Gardner said the experience put him in good stead.
He has been impressed by what he has seen in training at Chesterfield and pledged to play his part in what he and the club hope will be a successful second half of the season.
“There is a lot of competition for places and some very good players here,” he said. “They’ve all made me feel welcome and I’m focused on working to gain my fitness and impressing the manager.
“I think I have the ability to break in to the first team and hold down a place - that’s what I’ll be aiming to do. The squad is capable of winning the league and I share that ambition with them. I want to be part of it.”
On his time at Celtic, he added: “It was a bit of a mad one! I loved it up there but I wasn’t near the first team and wanted to play football.”
He was soon picked up by Crewe Alexandra in the summer of 2009 and went on to make two substitute appearances for the club in League Two.
A spell at Droylsden followed before he joined Halifax in 2012. Gardner’s seven goals for the Conference Premier club this season alerted many club’s to his progress.
He has been on Cook’s radar for some time and can occupy anywhere across the midfield though is favourable to playing in the hole behind a lone front man.
“I really enjoyed my time at Halifax but this was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” said Gardner. “I had ambitions of becoming a full time footballer and fortunately it has come off for me.
“I know the hard work has only just begun. I want to play my part and earn another contract and another one after that.”