Chris Morgan says Chesterfield’s club captain Gary Liddle will be as competitive as ever when he returns from a three-match suspension.
The versatile midfielder was harshly red carded at Colchester, and is expected to lead Spireites at Southend United on Saturday.
Morgan, who was no stranger to fierce contests and 50:50 challenges as a player, admitted Liddle’s availability was a boost – not just for this weekend, but for the rest of the League One relegation battle.
Chesterfield’s assistant manager said: “The gaffer showed straight away what he thought of Lids, making him club captain.
“He’s a good player, we all know that, and to lose him for the three games we did was disappointing.
“Obviously we appealed the sending off, and in the games since then we’ve seen tackles in the games we’ve had, never mind looking at other teams, worse than that, not even leading to a yellow card.
“That’s history, we’ve now got him back and it’s strength in depth, that’s what we’ll need between now and the end of the season.”
Morgan believes that Liddle’s sense of injustice at the red card was superseded by his frustration at not being able to help his colleagues in three important matches, so soon after joining Chesterfield from Bradford City.
“From his point of view, coming into a new club, you want to settle in, show not only the supporters what type of player you are and what you can do, but your team-mates,” said Morgan.
“That’s the most important one, you want to come into a club and show what qualities you can bring.
“For him to miss three games, he’ll have been disappointed, but he’s another one who has kept training.
“We always try and make sure that the players not in the squad are covering the same distances, same high speeds, same sprinting and try to mirror it.”
And Morgan has no doubt that Liddle will go into challenges with the same desire to win the ball, despite his recent dismissal.
“He’s too experienced.
“Lids is a competitive midfield player, he’ll make tackles and that’s what he’s in there to do.
“I think the minute you start thinking about making tackles, he’ll lose that little bit of edge from his game.
“I’m sure he’ll carry on where he left off, and that’s why we like him. We like the competitiveness he brings.”