Creative spark can lift Latics
Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 05 June 2017
WELCOME TO ATHLETIC: Dan Gardner has signed a two-year deal
ATHLETIC boss John Sheridan is hoping more goals and creativity will be added to his team next season following the exciting capture of attacking midfielder Dan Gardner.
Gardner (27) is Sheridan's first new signing of the summer, penning a two-year deal. He has joined Athletic following the completion of his contract with Chesterfield.
Manchester lad Gardner made 109 appearances for the Spireites, scoring 10 goals.
He began his career with Crewe Alexandra before a move to Droylsden. He then joined AFC Halifax Town, where he netted 17 times in 51 appearances.
Sheridan said: "We were excellent defensively last season and I don't want to take that away from us, but to win games you have to score goals.
"He should have more goals with what he's got in his game, but he's a player I hope I can make better as well.
"If I can get the best out of Dan I think we will have a good player on our hands."
It appears that Gardner had been a long-term target of Sheridan's, as was reported in the Chronicle last week.
The Athletic boss said: "I'm very pleased to get him. I've always liked Dan and I think he's got a lot to his game.
"First and foremost he will add to what we've already got in the team. He's very creative, he is excellent on the ball and he takes care of it.
"Hopefully he is going to create things for us at the top end of the pitch so I'm pleased to get him.
"I always like to get one or two in before they go away on holiday. Dan will fit into the team with the way that I want to try and play as well so I'm chuffed to bits to get him."
While the capture of Gardner is the first signing of the summer, fans might have to be patient for more.
"I won't be rushed in to making signings," added Sheridan.
"I've got to make sure they are right for us, we can afford them and fit into the way we want to play.
"Dan is a Manchester lad and I think it's important he knows the area. He is near home, near his family and he will be happier.
"It's important we get players who are happy because the place will be a better place for it."
Meanwhile, teenage defender George Edmundson has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with Athletic, with the option of a further year.
The 19-year-old made his breakthrough at the end of the 2015-16 season, making his debut in a 1-0 win over Southend United.
Last term, Edmundson excelled in his loan spell with Alfreton Town before playing a handful of games under Sheridan.
Edmundson became the second player to sign a new contract with the club following the news that Brian Wilson extended for another year.