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York City loan star Luke O’Neill fired-up to satisfy Championship football ambition
ON-LOAN right-back Luke O’Neill is hoping his move to York City will help him to realise his ambition of playing regular Championship football.
The 22-year-old defender has been frustrated in his attempts to break into table-topping Burnley’s first team since a 2012 move from Mansfield, due to the form of highly rated ex-Manchester City trainee Keiran Trippier.
Even Minstermen chief Nigel Worthington raved about Trippier’s performance during the Clarets’ 4-0 Capital One Cup victory at Bootham Crescent earlier this season and O’Neill, who once played alongside Jack Wilshere and Jack Rodwell for England Under-17s, has only managed one minute of League football during 16 months at Turf Moor.
Having also only played one 45-minute half in the Championship during three years on the books at first club Leicester before dropping into Conference football with Mansfield, O’Neill is determined to still be a success in Lancashire but is pleased the Minstermen have given him a chance to prove his worth.
He said: “Burnley are flying and I am glad because I want to be a part of that as well but Keiran Trippier is a quality player and he’s showing that at the moment. I feel I’ve been doing well too though and, at 22, I just need to play games.
“The gaffer told me I could go out on loan but I would like to think if Trippier was to get injured then I would be called upon, so I have to make sure I am ready if that happens.”
O’Neill will be hoping to earn his third successive start when City travel to Newport this Saturday and he should be better prepared for the game than he was for the club’s last away encounter.
After his loan switch was finalised, he made a late dash to Torquay to join up with the rest of the squad as midnight approached, before going on to make his full debut the next day.
He recalled: “I got to the hotel at 11.30pm with a bit of a bad back but it was well worth it when I started the game the next day.
“All the lads were in bed when I got there but the gaffer had waited up to show me up to the room I was sharing with Wes Fletcher. When I got there, Wes wasn’t asleep.
“He was just chilling so I told him to get up and make me a cup of tea.”
Fletcher and O’Neill played regularly together for Burnley’s reserves last season and the latter admitted his old team-mate was a factor in his decision to move to North Yorkshire, along with the lure of playing under former Northern Ireland boss Worthington.
“Wes rang me to say that York were interested and told me it was a great club so he played a part in me coming here but so did the gaffer because he’s obviously well-known in the game,” O’Neill revealed.
“I know Chambo (Ashley Chambers) as well from Leicester so there are a few familiar faces here which helps.
“Mansfield were also interested but I just decided to come to York and play games instead. I already feel a part of the group here and want to help the club push on now.”
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