Goal machine Steven’s switched-on by Town

Fleetwood Town new signing Steven Gillespie with club chairman Andy Pilley (left).
Fleetwood Town new signing Steven Gillespie with club chairman Andy Pilley (left).

Steven Gillespie’s name was a regular feature on the scoresheet for Colchester and previously Cheltenham ... and he is confident it will be for Fleetwood Town too.

The 27-year-old striker was confirmed as Town’s sixth summer signing yesterday, adding more Football League pedigree to the Highbury squad as they prepare to make their League Two debut at home to Torquay on August 18.

Gillespie, who scored 25 goals in 98 League games over four League One seasons at Colchester, had another year of his U’s contract to run and has moved to Highbury for an undisclosed fee.

Gillespie had previously scored 29 in 88 games for Cheltenham, having also played for Bristol City after starting his career as a trainee at Liverpool.

The striker said: “Scoring goals is what I’m paid to do and love to do, and hopefully I’ll do plenty of that here.

“There’s a real buzz about this place. I came in a couple of days ago to talk to the gaffer and the club sold itself. I saw the new stand and where the club is going. It’s brilliant and it’s the place I want to be.”

Chairman Andy Pilley said: “We are delighted to have acquired Steven. He is a forward who is tried and tested at League One level. He has scored an awful lot of goals and we think he will be a real asset to Fleetwood Town.

“It’s well documented that we have lost Jamie Vardy, and two or three other forwards have departed, so we knew it was an area that needed strengthening and we think we have real quality in Steven.

“It’s invaluable to have people with expertise, who have been there and done it, and Steven certainly fits into that category.”

And after last week’s Capital One Cup draw, Gillespie can’t wait to get down to work. He added: “I’m delighted to see the first game will be against Nottingham Forest at home. It’s a massive game, hopefully with a full house, and it’s a great way to start the season.”

After that thrilling opener, Gillespie will be particularly looking forward to the trip to Cheltenham on October 6.

He said: “It will be good to go back to Cheltenham next season. That was probably the best spell of my career. I scored quite a few goals and got the move to Colchester.

“I had a good spell there as well. We tried to get back into the Championship and unfortunately did not manage that, but it’s been a good time for me.”

As a Liverpudlian and product of the Anfield youth set-up, Gillespie won’t be short of familiar accents in the Town dressing room.

He explained: “I know Anthony Barry really well. We played in the same Sunday league side from the age of ten and I was a good mate of his elder brother, Francis. We went through the Liverpool system together.

“I spoke to Anthony quite a bit and he sold the club really well.

“I played with Steve McNulty too – he was a year older than me at Liverpool – so it’s easier to come into a dressing room knowing a couple of the lads.”

Pilley is every bit as eager as Town’s latest signing for the season to get under way.

After the fixtures were revealed yesterday morning, the chairman said: “Moments like this really bring it home that we are in the Football League.

“We are delighted to be at home for the first game against such an established League team as Torquay, who did so well last season.

“Another one you look for is Boxing Day, and I don’t think we could have done much better than Morecambe at home. There’s every chance of a sell-out against our local rivals and friends from up the coast.

“We have some super fixtures. Bradford for our first away game – there could be 15,000 there – and Wimbledon away for the last game. I’d be delighted if we are still in the mix on the final day.

“And the Capital One Cup draw at home to Nottingham Forest is superb. I don’t think we could have wished for a better draw if we’d hand-picked it.”

Indeed, Pilley finds the fixture schedule favourable all round, adding: “I’m also delighted we have only four Tuesday games at home. We had eight last season and that hits us very hard financially.

“We are lucky to have so many children and families who come along, and it’s difficult for them to do so on a school night.

“We also have to look out for clashes with Blackpool. There are two on Tuesdays and I’m sure we will sort those out so that anyone who wants to watch both clubs can.

“The sooner it all starts the better.”

Interviews: DERICK THOMAS and DAVID MITCHELL