It’s ‘vital’ that Chesterfield improve on last season, says skipper

Owls Marco Matias with Spirites Gary Liddle
Owls Marco Matias with Spirites Gary Liddle
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Chesterfield captain Gary Liddle says an improvement on last season’s League One finish is vital.

The 30-year-old, who was installed as skipper upon his arrival in February, says a good start and consistency will be key for the Spireites.

Speaking at the end of a ‘long’ preparation phase Liddle admits he’s raring to go and ready for the competitive action to begin today at Oxford United.

“It’s been quite a long pre-season as always, it all builds to this first weekend of the season,” he said.

“We had a good week in Hungary to bed the new signings in and get back into it.

“We’ve looked well in training, and in pre-season games we’ve looked better and fitter.

“Over the last two or three games we’ve implemented the styles of play the way the manager wants us to do.”

Liddle, a veteran of League One, managed to maintain his record of never suffering relegation to League Two last season.

But a narrow escape will not be good enough this time round for the former Hartlepool and Notts County man, he wants an improvement at the Proact.

“It’s vital, we can’t get away from the fact that last season was a major disappointment to be scraping survival,” he said.

“I came in from the start of February and even last season we had a squad that was a lot better than what we showed.

“It proves that if you get into a bit of a rut you’re going to find yourself at the bottom of the league.

“League One is all about getting a level of consistency and if we can get a few boards on the point earlydoors it will set us up for a good season.”

As a player tasked with leadership, Liddle will have kept a close eye on how the new faces at Chesterfield have settled in and believes they all have a part to play this season.

“The new signings have been terrific, they’ve come in seamlessly and been welcomed.

“Each one has brought something different, whether it’s Reece (Mitchell) with his pace on the wing or Ched’s (Evans) drive and goalscoring ability up top.

“Nolo (Jon Nolan) looked great when he came on against Leicester.”

And personally speaking, he’s happy with his physical condition as he starts another campaign.

“I feel good, I’m a year older and year more experienced but I always come back in a very similar shape.

“My game is all about being a box-to-box midfielder and to do that you’ve got to have a good level of fitness.

“Like any other player in pre-season it’s built up over time and I’m raring to go now.”