RECALLED centre-back David McGurk has brought a “calmness” to the York City back line since his return to the team three games ago, according to goalkeeper Michael Ingham.

After back-to-back clean sheets in McGurk’s first two outings in almost a year – against Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion – the Minstermen were unable to make it a hat-trick on the former Darlington defender’s 300th appearance for the club against Exeter City on Saturday as they lost 2-1.

Ingham said: “TY (McGurk) has been brilliant since coming back into the side after having to play a patient game following his injury.

“He’s been a great servant to the football club and everyone loves him because he’s a great lad in the changing room. Everybody knows what he’s about.

“He reads the game so well and has that knack of being in the right position before the ball arrives there. He’s strong in the air, quite quick for a big man and can clear with both feet.

“He’s got all the attributes and has probably been unfortunate not to have played at a higher level in his career but you could say that about quite a few players. He brings a calmness to the side and was a big factor in the two clean sheets we kept before the Exeter game.

“I’m delighted that he’s got to 300 games and hopefully it will be Pars (Dan Parslow) next and then me.”

Parslow, on 280 appearances for City, along with Ingham, who has 262 to his name, are both expected to face host team Cheltenham this Saturday, along with McGurk.

The Robins currently lie fourth in the League Two standings but that does not intimidate Ingham, who said: “I’ve played at Cheltenham before in my career.

“It’s a tough place to go with a tight ground and tight pitch. It’s a bit like a Conference ground really with small stands and stuff like that.

“They are doing well but we always seem to rise to the occasion against the top teams and we don’t fear anybody in the division. The standard in League Two means there are 24 teams who can beat each other on their day.

“Every game we play is competitive but I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge and, if we play like we have done over the last four games, then the results will come for us.”

With 20 fixtures left to play and City sitting six points behind the play-off positions, Ingham is also in no mood to give up the fight for a top-seven place, adding: “The gaffer is looking at bringing players in during the window and this might sound stupid to some people, but we still have our eye on the play-offs.

“If we go on a run, we can still get in there but we need to improve our consistency and grind out more results.

“It’s a steep learning curve this season but, if the gaffer can get two or three players and bring in some competition, we are probably one of eight or ten teams that could go and nick one of the last two play-off places.”