YORK City could lose out to League Two rivals Rotherham in the battle to recruit Peterborough midfielder Danny Kearns during the transfer window.

Following his October arrival at Bootham Crescent, Kearns made 12 on-loan appearances for the Minstermen before being recalled by Posh at the end of last month.

He has not featured, however, for the Championship club since and will again be allowed to seek a loan move away from the London Road outfit from tomorrow.

Rotherham, however, are expected to be in a position to pay a higher percentage of the Republic of Ireland under-23 international’s wages than City can afford despite the £50,000 sale of Jonathan Smith to Luton over the weekend.

On the fight for Kearns, Minstermen chief Gary Mills said: “He’s available again, although I’ve heard he might be going to Rotherham.

“The problem we have is with the money side of things, whether that’s a transfer fee or to do with his salary. It’s unfortunate that we can’t compete with the likes of Rotherham in that respect, because he did well for us and he would be an option out wide for me at the moment.

“We all know the qualities he has got and you never know what might happen. I know he’d like to come back here because we suit him down to the ground. It could come down to whether we can make Peterborough an acceptable offer but I don’t know whether we are in a position to do that.”

Kearns played the majority of his matches for the Minstermen in midfield but, if Mills can bring him back to the club, he would look to employ him in a wide attacking position with Ashley Chambers, Michael Coulson and Oli Johnson all currently crocked.

The City boss also felt he might be in the market for a new defender with Chris Doig set to be sidelined for at least a fortnight by an ankle problem.

But David McGurk’s display during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Fleetwood, on his return to the side after almost a year’s absence, could make that position less of a priority now.

Mills added: “We will see if we can bring some quality in and, if the right player is there for me to go and get, then I will try to do that. There are two or three players I’d like to sign but whether we can do anything we will have to wait and see.

“I’d like another wide man because I don’t know when the other three will be coming back, although John McReady has started training again (after his dislocated shoulder) so shouldn’t be too long.”

The City boss also gave the first suggestion that on-loan Aldershot attacker Alex Rodman might not be the solution to his lack of options on the flanks.

A decision on whether to extend Rodman’s stay is due in the New Year but Mills said: “I’d have liked to have seen Alex do a little bit more in two or three situations (on Saturday).”

The City manager added that he felt the only difference between Saturday’s draw and the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat at Chesterfield was the standard of his teams defending and gave great credit to McGurk for that improvement, saying: “We were excellent for the 90 minutes (at Fleetwood).

“We had a good shape and were on our front foot throughout. Saying that, I thought we also played well against Chesterfield but our defending for their three goals was atrocious.

“We did not stick our chances away (at Fleetwood) but we got ourselves a clean sheet, which I am absolutely delighted about. I thought Dave McGurk did well along with Chris Smith and they were both complemented by the full-backs Dan Parslow and Jamal Fyfield.

“To say it was Dave’s first game for a year, the timing of his headers was excellent, as was his reading of the game. I’m pleased for him because it’s not easy to come back in but he did extremely well.

“That’s a massive bonus because you never know what you will get from players who have been out for that long so that’s all credit to him for the way he’s come back.”