Evatt delighted to return to the Spireites fold

Defender Ian Evatt has said he enjoyed being back in first team action following a long spell out injured and that his time on the sidelines rekindled his love for the game.

Monday, 8th August 2016, 5:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:16 pm
Oxford United vs Chesterfield - Ian Evatt - Pic By James Williamson

Evatt, 34, missed the second-half of last season with an achilles injury but returned to full fitness over the summer and made his first appearance of 2016 in the 1-1 draw with Oxford on Saturday.

And he’s now keen to remain part of the team as the Spireites aim to build on their opening day result.

He said: “My fitness is getting there now. I’m far fitter than when I first came back into the squad as back then it was about making up the numbers in a sense as we didn’t have a very big squad.

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“I’ve knuckled down and worked as hard as possible to make sure I started the season. The gaffer picked me for the first game and it’s now up to me to keep my place.

“I was excited to get back out there. It was frustrating and disappointing to be out for so long as what should have been a one or two-month injury turned into six months due to people not doing their job properly and misdiagnosing scans and assessments. But you can only control the controllables which is your own mindset and desire and I did that to help get back in the team.

“What it did do was rekindle my love for the game again and made me hungry to get back in the team and I really enjoyed it.”

Evatt felt the Spireites were good value for their point at Oxford in what was atough opening game against a side promoted from League Two last season.

He said: “Any point away from home is a good point and it was a good start for us. Any team that’s just been promoted are almost always harder to play against as they have a winning mentality from the previous season and great momentum.

“We didn’t have that having just avoided relegation so to go there and stop that momentum was a good achievement.

“Our fitness levels were very good. I thought Oxford started quite brightly and were the better team in the first-half, playing with an intensity which we struggled to keep up with.

“They tired a bit in the second-half, perhaps because we were keeping the ball better or maybe that being the reason we kept the ball better. We had by far the better chances in the second-half and more than deserved the point, if not all three.

“The back five played really well. Paul McGinn had a solid debut, while Ryan Fulton was disappointed with the goal but otherwise did well. He’s a young kid and is learning and will be a very good keeper.

“The supporters were great as they always are and turned out in great numbers for what was a long trip. We’re grateful for their support.”

Attention now turns to the EFL Cup first round tie at Rochdale on Tuesday night, with Evatt under no illusions about how important the competition is for Chesterfield.

He added: “We need to put emphasis on the League Cup as a club because any potential revenue stream is important and if it’s a cup run then so be it.

“Momentum is important too, going on unbeaten runs and winning games, so it’s important for us as a squad to go there and get a win and build confidence.”

“We play them a lot and quite often get them in cup ties, but we have a good record against them so hopefully that will continue.”