Tom Anderson isn’t one to shy away from a battle.
The young defender joined Chesterfield from boyhood club Burnley in the last transfer window, with the Spireites in a defensive crisis and hovering above the League One relegation zone.
But, despite Chesterfield’s position in the table, Anderson jumped at the chance to gain more first team experience - his sixth loan move away from Turf Moor in three-and-a-half years.
He believes each loan has helped shape the player he is today and recalls his first taste of first team action, as a teenager in the uncompromising surroundings of the then Blue Square Premier.
A regular run in the first team at Barrow gave Anderson, fresh from years of youth football with Burnley, an early insight into the physical nature of the game beyond the academy pitches.
He said: “Barrow was my first loan when I was aged 18-19. I think one of the main reasons for me to go out there was to toughen me up, going from under-18s to men’s football. I remember in my first six games, I broke my nose and had two cuts on my head.
“I was getting all sorts playing against big men up front against a skinny, tall kid. It was brilliant for me at the time and it opened my eyes, gave me an insight in to what football was really about - going from youth team to men’s football and the physicality of the game.”
Brief spells at Hyde, Halifax, Lincoln and Carlisle followed before he teamed up with Chesterfield, in a deal that runs until the end of the season.
“This is my sixth club but it all adds up to great experience at the end of the day,” he said. “Chesterfield are a massive club and I’m just trying to do my best for Chesterfield. At the minute I’m just loving playing football.”
Burnley manager - and former Spireites captain - Sean Dyche has been a big influence on the 22-year-old’s career so far.
“He’s a hero in these parts,” said Anderson of Dyche. “He knows it’s a good club and was happy to send me here. I was very happy when Chesterfield came calling. He’s been a massive influence on my career, another centre half, he’s been a great manager for Burnley.
“This season as well as previous ones, he’s been superb, he told me to work hard and concentrate on the basics. That’s what I’ve got to do first and foremost is to defend and stop the other team from scoring. Anything else after that is a bonus.
“That’s what makes a good defender. I’ll keep trying to do that and putting what we do on the training ground into practice. I like to do the basics, an old fashioned centre-half as people say, I like to head it and kick it. My main priority is to get clean sheets.
“I’ll try my utmost to help the team do that but the results are what matter and hopefully I can carry on keeping the back door shut and help Chesterfield get the three points.”
Danny Wilson, the Chesterfield manager, has made no secret of the team’s fight to avoid the drop in the final months of the season and his players have responded with an unbeaten five-game run.
Anderson has played his part in those games, which have seen the Spireites move six points away from the bottom four ahead of this weekend’s fixtures (March 12), and is enjoying his football again.
The unbeaten run began in trying circumstances - at Colchester United on a cold Tuesday night, with ten men.
“I think the result against Colchester was good and once you get a bit of momentum going this is what can happen,” he said. “We can got to teams up there and compete.”
“They’re a good group of lads, who have been very welcoming. Luckily the football results are getting better and hopefully that can keep going and I can help Chesterfield climb the league.
“My first impressions were really good of the club. I knew the gaffer has got great experience and that Morgs (Spireites assistant Chris Morgan) has been brilliant with me, being an ex centre-half.
“It’s a well run club. The facilities are second to none too, it’s a good ground and training pitches. I saw it all when I came and signed and it’s still impressive. I’m really enjoying at the minute.”