YORK City defender David McGurk has confessed that he was beginning to feel a “million miles away” from earning a recall to the first team.
McGurk would have completed a whole year without making a senior appearance during this afternoon’s home match with Burton Albion had he not been selected for Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Fleetwood.
Prior to that call-up, he has even admitted he was about a fortnight away from wondering whether he still had a future at Bootham Crescent after being employed as an unused substitute for 14 consecutive games.
A face-to-face meeting with manager Gary Mills last week, however, put his mind at ease in that respect and an ankle injury to Chris Doig gave him his chance to impress at the weekend.
On his long wait for action, McGurk said: “I’ve been on the bench before and it’s been four or five games before I’ve got back in the team, but I went ten matches with no chances and then, last week when Doigy went off, Tom (Allan) went on and, to be honest, I was about two weeks away from thinking ‘what do I do now?’.
“The gaffer selects the team and he’s made more right decisions than wrong ones here so I won’t question him about the team, but I did feel, at one point, that I was a million miles away in terms of getting selected. I went in for a chat, though, last week and asked if I was in his plans because, if not, I needed to know.
“He told me I was and that I was very close to getting back in. That made me feel better and, hopefully, I can shelve any plans about going out on loan now and play the rest of the season at York.”
After recovering from the series of knee, calf and throat problems that kept him sidelined for the second half of last season, the likes of part-timers Gainsborough and Blue Square Bet Premier new boys Hyde wanted to take McGurk on loan.Later, as November’s deadline day for temporary transfers loomed, McGurk also saw a move to Hereford, where he would have been reunited with former manager Martin Foyle, fall through when Mills was unable to recruit defensive cover.
The 30-year-old centre-back, currently enjoying his benefit year at Bootham Crescent, was never in any doubt as to his preferred scenario however.
“All I’ve wanted to do all season is play for York in the Football League,” McGurk said. “The gaffer wanted me to go out on loan earlier in the season but I didn’t think the clubs that came in were appropriate. With all due respect, I did not want to drop to the levels they were playing.
“I was due to go to Hereford on deadline day but, for one reason or another, that deal fell through but it’s all worked out good now and, hopefully, I can kick on.”
McGurk was preferred to youth-team graduate Allan at Fleetwood after the teenage defender had replaced Doig in the previous two matches, leaving the more experienced centre-back watching from the bench.
The former Darlington defender added: “I was slightly disappointed. The gaffer wants me to be match fit and that was possibly a good opportunity but Tom’s a left-sided player, as is Doigy, so I could see what he was doing.
“I’m just glad he went for me on Saturday and, hopefully, I can keep the shirt now.”
McGurk is also happy for captain and fellow right-footer Chris Smith to continue as the left-sided sentinel, joking: “He can swing his left foot better than I can.”