Chesterfield secure 2016/17 Player of the Year for League Two promotion push

Chesterfield v Fleetwood Town. Players celebrate after Chesterfield won the League 2 Championship. Captain Ian Evatt with the trophy
Chesterfield v Fleetwood Town. Players celebrate after Chesterfield won the League 2 Championship. Captain Ian Evatt with the trophy
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Chesterfield have retained the services of 2016/17 Player of the Year Ian Evatt to lead their League Two promotion push.

The 35-year-old has signed a one year contract and will add to his 241 appearances and 16 goals as a Spireite.

He’s keen to help the club return to the division they just exited through the trap door.

Evatt said: “The club is very close to my heart and I’m settled in the area so I turned down offers from elsewhere in order to stay.

“I enjoy working with the manager and his backroom staff and I desperately want to lead Chesterfield back to League One.”

Manager Gary Caldwell believes Evatt stood out in the season that has just finished and holds him up as an example of the kind of player Town require for the task ahead.

“Ian was the best player at the club last season and I’m delighted to have retained someone with his experience,” he said.

“We need players with a similar knowledge and outlook at the club.”

Last season got off to a rocky start for the popular centre-half, who played through an injury and admitted he probably hadn’t done himself justice.

But he roared back to form and swept the end of season awards, picking up the Derbyshire Times Player of the Year and Sheffield Star Spireites Player of the Year among others.

Evatt played 38 times last season, scoring twice.

He admitted to frustration at some of the performances of the side in a bitterly disappointing relegation season.

But Evatt went on record a number of times to give his backing to Gary Caldwell as boss, insisting the Scot is the right man to lead Town back to League One.

His love affair with Chesterfield began in 2003 when he joined on a free from Derby.

Manager Roy McFarland converted the central midfielder to centre-half and he won Player of the Season in his first campaign.

In 2005 he was sold to Queens Park Rangers before a move to Blackpool.

He won promotion to the Championship, via the play-offs, in 2007 and three years later jumped up to the Premier League after a Wembley win over Cardiff City.

Evatt played all 38 of Blackpool’s games in the 2010/11 Premier League season, before they dropped back into the Championship.

After his 2013 release Evatt returned to Chesterfield and was made club captain, leading the Spireites to a League Two title.

Next season will be his fourth consecutive campaign with Town and his sixth overall as a Spireite in a career that has seen him amass over 500 league appearances with six clubs.