Spireites: Settled Gardner eager to show what he’s about at Chesterfield

Chesterfield v Fleetwood Town. Chesterfield player Dan Gardner in action
Chesterfield v Fleetwood Town. Chesterfield player Dan Gardner in action

Dan Gardner is confident of making his mark in League One next season with Chesterfield.

The attacking midfielder, 24, experienced a whirlwind start to life at the Proact Stadium following his January arrival from Conference Premier side FC Halifax Town.

A goal on his debut at home to Bury, playing a part in the Spireites’ Johnstone’s Paint Trophy run to Wembley and sealing the League Two title - all in four months.

“It’s been mad,” he said. “From the Conference to winning League Two. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Gardner made an immediate impact from the bench at home to Bury and away to Southend, forcing his way into the starting line up for a rain-soaked trip to Northampton.

His strike, which almost ripped the net from the goal frame at Sixfields, gave Chesterfield supporters a glimpse of what was to come a few days later at Bootham Crescent.

He lined up alongside Ollie Banks and Gary Roberts and what followed was, arguably, one of the most impressive performances of the season as they dismantled York’s defence.

Chesterfield were rampant. Eoin Doyle, who led the line, was clinical. More followed at Whaddon Road when four goals in seven first half minutes blew Cheltenham away.

Gardner was a breath of fresh air, like Banks before him, and the former Celtic prospect has set his sights on delivering more of the same for the Spireites next season.

“I want to kick on this season - play every game that I can, get as many goals as I can and create as many as I can. Those are areas of the game I really do love,” he said.

“I know it’s going to be difficult next season in a higher division but we have such a strong squad. We have a lot of talented players who can come in to the team and not look out of place.

“I know I’m capable of nailing down a place and I’ve just got to get myself 100 per cent fit in pre-season. I know it’ll be tough. In a way I’m looking forward to it, I’ve never had a proper pre-season.”

The World Cup in Brazil has only whetted his appetite to get back on the grass.

“It makes you miss it a lot more,” he said. “I’m eager to start up again. I’ve done a bit of running in preparation, Shinner (fitness coach Shane Nicholson) likes to put us through our paces. We’ll be ready for next season.”

Gardner penned a 12-month contract extension at the Spireites this week in a deal which will see him tied to the club until the summer of 2016.

He added: “I’m settled at the club now, when you go in to a new place with people you don’t know sometimes it can take time but I feel very much part of the club.

“It was never in doubt for me, I didn’t think twice. The club’s going places and I want to be a part of that.”