Dennis on a new deal, transfer speculation, Grimsby fans and the new strikers
Kristian Dennis heads into the League Two season with a new contract tucked under his arm and a full year of professional football under his belt.
The striker, a product of non-league, joined the Spireites last summer and scored 10 goals to become the 2016/17 leading goalscorer.
This summer he’s overcome a calf injury to get fit just in time for the big kick-off against Grimsby Town.
And in the days leading up to the match he’s received a morale boost by inking an extended deal that keeps him at the Proact until 2019.
“The manager pulled me a couple of weeks ago and said they wanted to offer me a new deal and I was happy to sign and we finally got it over the line this week,” he said today.
That contract puts an end to speculation that clubs from a higher level were looking to sign the 27-year-old.
Whilst he insists he never had his head turned by the rumours, the former Stockport County man admits it was a little flattering.
“I’ve just tried to knuckle down, get as fit as I can and concentrate on Chesterfield.
“It’s always nice to hear your name here and there but I don’t read anything into it, I just keep my head down and work hard.
“This has been a tough pre-season, one of the toughest I’ve had.
“I’m fully fit now, had a good week and a half training to take into this weekend.”
Because he’s plied his trade below League Two for the vast majority of his career to date, most of the teams Chesterfield face are new to Dennis.
That’s not the case this weekend when the Mariners come to the Proact.
He knows what to expect from them, on and off the pitch.
“They’ll be a good team,” he said.
“I played them a few years ago when I was at Macclesfield and they were a tough team. The fans never get off your case.
“They’ll come here confident with a couple of thousand fans behind them, but we know what to expect and we’ll be prepared.”
Dennis is one of five front men Gary Caldwell has to pick from for the opening fixture; Chris O’Grady, Gozie Ugwu, Delial Brewster and Ricky German completing the attacking line-up.
He says the competition for places is pushing them all in training and they’ve gelled away from the pitch.
And because Dennis is likely to be a major benficiary, he’s a big fan of what O’Grady, the most experienced of the bunch by far, brings to the table.
“He’s got a good track record everywhere he’s been, you can tell he’s professional just from seeing him around the place - he’s good to have around.
“You know when the ball goes up to him it’s going to stick, it’s always good to have a player up there who does that.
“Gozie is the same as well, those two get hold of it and bring others into the play and get goals themselves.”
Last season might have gone pretty well for Dennis on a personal note, bagging double figures in his first professional season and earning a contract extension, but as a club it was a disaster.
He’s hoping his second season in the Football League will prove successful for everyone at the Proact.
“I think everyone is fully prepared,” he said.
“Last year we were getting beaten nearly every week, confidence was low.
“We’ve got a good set of lads in, everyone has worked hard and hopefully we’ll get the fans back on our side and start off with a win.
“We want to get a good number of points on the board early and kick on from there.
“I’m looking forward to it.”