Chesterfield skipper Liddle knows how to beat drop
Gary Liddle has never been relegated from League One and has no desire to discover what it feels like anytime soon.
Chesterfield’s club captain beat the drop by a single point with Hartlepool in 2009, and by goal difference a year later.
And he helped Notts County stay in the division by the slim margin of three points, in 2014.
As the 29-year-old prepares to return from suspension at Southend United on Saturday, he told the Derbyshire Times he has no intention of leaving League One through the trap door as a Spireite.
“I’ve played in this league for eight or nine years and I have the record of never being relegated,” he said.
“I don’t want that to change.
“We went through it (relegation battle) with Hartlepool and Notts County, who were bottom going into the final couple of months.”
So if anyone in the Chesterfield squad will have an idea of what it takes to stay up, it’s the man who signed from Bradford City last month.
“It can be done, it’s just finding that consistency.
“At Notts County we went on a run where we didn’t lose too many in the last few months.
“If we can find that consistency, like we’ve done over the past four or five games, that will be enough to get us over the line.”
Relegation isn’t a word that’s bandied about the Proact dressing room, but Liddle says the players are fully aware of the situation the club finds itself in, and constantly monitor the league table and results elsewhere.
Looking at the players around him in that room, the midfielder is confident the season won’t end in disaster.
“The lads know what their job is,” he said.
“We’re in this position for a reason, the table doesn’t lie and it’s going to be a tough run in.
“It will go down to the wire, I don’t think any club will be safe any time soon, it will be an exciting and nerve wracking end to the season.
“But we’re good enough to stay safe.”
It’s been a tough few weeks for the skipper, sitting in the stands while his team-mates have battled on without him.
You get the feeling the sense of injustice still burns deep, after a controversial 16th minute red card at Colchester.
But his excitement at being in a position to play again is also clear.
“It’s been a frustrating period, I’m just thankful it’s over and done with,” he said.
“The circumstances were very frustrating, I like to put my foot in and I will make little fouls now and again, but I won’t go for a challenge unless I’m certain I can win it, and at Colchester I was certain I was going to win it, but the referee felt it was a dangerous tackle.
“Coming so soon into my Chesterfield career is frustrating, it’s only the third time I’ve been sent off in nine or 10 years.
“The lads have put in some strong performances, the Gillingham one sticks out, and Crewe, we’re picking up points.
“I’m just looking forward to being available for Saturday, travelling with the lads and being amongst them again.”
Sitting on the sidelines has given Liddle a chance to run his eye over Chesterfield’s talented youngsters
Connor Dimaio has caught the eye of the captain, and was on the receiving end of some wise words in midweek.
Gboly Ariyibi and Tom Anderson have also impressed.
“Connor in particular has been brilliant since he came in,” said Liddle.
“I made a point on Tuesday, when he came off at half-time, and told him not to be too disappointed. He’s done brilliantly over the last three or four games, it was just a tactical change.
“He’s got a bright future at the club and will go from strength to strength with the experience of first team football.
“Gboly Ariyibi seems to be our most creative outlet, Tom Anderson has come in and been a rock at the back, he’s a good, solid League One defender.
“We just have to make sure the current situation doesn’t knock them, that’s important.
“Confidence is high, we have to keep it that way.”