Confidence and consistency key to Chesterfield FC’s League One climb, says skipper Gary Liddle

Chesterfield vs Peterborough United - Gary Liddle - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Peterborough United - Gary Liddle - Pic By James Williamson
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Gary Liddle believes “confidence and consistency” are key to Chesterfield’s hopes of climbing the League One table.

The 29-year-old has been impressed by what he has seen both on and off the training ground since his deadline day move from Bradford City.

The former Hartlepool United and Notts County man was also part of the Bantams side to beat the Spireites at the Proact Stadium in December.

And the experience of going toe-to-toe with his new team-mates gave the midfielder an insight into the quality within Chesterfield’s ranks.

“It was a tough test when I came here with Bradford in December and we were lucky to nick it on the day,” said Liddle. “There’s a good team here and some very good players.

“I know the league position does not read well at the moment but with a bit of confidence and consistency I’m sure we can pull away and start to climb up the table.”

Liddle’s move to the Proact saw him reunited with the man who gave him his professional debut and he said it was a major factor in his decision.

Danny Wilson, the current Spireites boss, was in charge of Hartlepool in 2006 when he plucked Liddle from Middlesbrough’s reserve side.

He made his debut against Burnley in the League Cup at Turf Moor and made 47 appearances, as Wilson’s side clinched promotion from League Two.

“I was part of the academy at Middlesbrough and it was a bit different from playing reserve team football to being in League Two,” he said.

“Going from a Premier League club where it was very technically-based to learning how to grind out results was a real eye-opener.”

He added: “I have known him (Wilson) for nine or ten years now and he was a big draw for me coming to Chesterfield.

“I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it but he’s one of the best managers around and when the chance to play for him came along I knew it was right.

“He gave me my professional debut away at Burnley in a League Cup tie and I’ve not looked back.

“We got promotion in that first season and I’d like to think that over the years I’ve picked up some good traits that can help the team.”

Liddle has remained in the third tier of English football ever since and has gone on to rack up more than 400 appearances across ten years.

He hit the headlines with Bradford during last season’s FA Cup run which saw the League One side beat Premier League duo Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Sunderland at Valley Parade.

“I’ve played over 85 games in the last 18 months but was in and out of the Bradford side for the last two months for various reasons,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of messages from people and it was a bit overwhelming really. I have very fond memories from my time there.

“Going to Chelsea and beating Sunderland in the FA Cup were great games to be involved in and those memories will stay with me forever.

“But it was time for me to move on and I feel this is the right move. I’ll be looking forward to going back there on the last day.”

The Spireites will travel to take on his former club Bradford on the last day of the season but Liddle isn’t looking further than the next game at the moment.

He made his Chesterfield debut in Saturday’s defeat to Peterborough United and was handed the armband, but Liddle wasn’t expecting either.

“First and foremost I want to cement my place in the team,” he said. “There are a lot of good players here and that will be my first challenge.

“I feel like I’ve got experience of League One and can help the team. Hopefully I’ll be able to have an influence on games as much as possible.

“I’ll do whatever I can do to help get the side out of the situation and build from there. I’m not expecting to be captain, there are a lot of experienced players here.”