Aspin cautious over Gardner

Dan Gardner in his first competitive start
Dan Gardner in his first competitive start
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Neil Aspin gave Dan Gardner his first competitive start in Town colours on Tuesday - but says he will have to think hard about how to use the playmaker over the festive period.

Gardner began the 2-1 win at Maidstone behind striker Lee Gregory and Gareth Seddon, and was involved in most of the good things Town produced in the opening 15 minutes, showing some nice touches.

But the midfield man, who has not played longer than 45 minutes since last April after suffering a knee injury for Town during their pre-season win over Stockport, began to tire midway through the half and was replaced at the break by Chris Worsley.

With Dale Johnson out for the rest of the season and Alex Johnson cup-tied, Aspin was short on options in attack and said it was as good a chance as any to throw Gardner back into first team action.

“I think the first 15 minutes he started brightly but his trouble is the lack of fitness,” said Aspin.

“The main thing is that psychologically he’s comfortable with his knee and we just have to try and get him fit.

“I felt the best way would be to start him against Maidstone and it served a purpose because he had 45 minutes which is more than he has played since pre-season and we need to think about how we use him in the next few weeks.”

“He certainly has some talent and showed some really good touches, but when a player isn’t match fit and he tires it becomes a problem for the rest of the players because you need 11 players doing their job defensively and it’s hard to have one player who is not really match fit.”

Jason Jarrett was back for Town after missing the Worcester game because his wife had a baby.

“Jason has had a traumatic time,” said Aspin.

“His wife had a few complications but the main thing is that his wife and his baby are fine.”