DAVID McGurk is confident he can nurse his troublesome knee through the rest of this season and for another four years in football, writes Dave Flett.
The 30-year-old York City defender has occasionally been unable to train at full tilt due to the injury that contributed to his almost year-long stint on the sidelines before Saturday’s recall to the starting line-up at Fleetwood.
McGurk has likened his situation to former Tottenham and England defender Ledley King, who was forced to retire last season at the age of 31 having rarely trained over recent years.
But, ahead of today’s home match with Burton, the City centre-back insists his knee problems are nowhere near as chronic as King’s and that he plans to play on until his mid-30s.
He said: “When I spoke to the gaffer recently, he told me I wasn’t doing enough in training at times but, to be honest, while my knee is fine, I get the occasional day when I just have to get through training and I'm not going out to impress. If I manage my knee, though, it’s fine.
“I’ve heard stuff about my knee being shot or I’ve fallen out with the manager but none of that is true. I perhaps have one bad day a month when it swells up.
“It’s a bit similar to Ledley King’s injury but on a much lesser scale. If I was 21 or 22, I probably would not get through my career but I am 30 now so I can manage it and play for another three or four years.”
McGurk earned the praise of Mills and The Press man-of-the-match honours for his display at Fleetwood but knows he must now string together a series of strong displays, adding: “Saturday was only one game and I’ve got to nail down five or six good performances in a row.
“I feel I have been consistent throughout my time at York and I intend that to be the case between now and the end of the season so, fingers crossed, I stay fit.”
McGurk is also unlikely to suffer again from the unusual bout of nerves he felt prior to the Fleetwood game.
He said: “The gaffer didn’t name the team until just over an hour before the game and, to be honest, I felt a few nerves about how it would go but, as soon as we kicked off, it all came naturally and it felt good. Fortunately, we kept a clean sheet and I felt like I played okay.”
McGurk should, meanwhile, feel stronger fitness-wise following his first full senior match since Boxing Day 2011.
He said: “I felt fine until about the 70th minute then I started tiring a bit. We dropped a little bit deeper then, but we held our line well to keep a clean sheet.
“The least we wanted was a 0-0 draw because we wanted to win the game and we need to win every match but we played well and that’s something to build on.”