DAVID McGurk has admitted he is surprised by how well he feels after playing four full games in 12 days.
The 31-year-old centre-back is currently enjoying his longest run of successive starts for two years after kicking off the last seven matches at the heart of York City’s defence.
That sequence has included playing every minute of the Christmas and New Year period, leaving McGurk encouraged by his fitness levels having been beset by knee, calf, hamstring and throat problems over the last couple of campaigns.
He said: “I feel very good surprisingly and am feeling stronger as the games are going on. Previously, I have played five or so games and then broke down but, the more games I play, the stronger I am feeling.
“I’ve not felt leggy at all over the last fortnight and it’s a big thing for me to get through four games in 12 days.”
McGurk added that the team’s winning start to 2014 against Morecambe was welcomed by everybody at the club following a run of 11 matches without a victory.
On the impact of the 1-0 triumph, secured by Ryan Jarvis 30th-minute strike, he admitted: “It was a massive relief.
“I think after all the draws we’d had, the first game we lost was always going to be seen as some sort of disaster. If we had won at Bury on Sunday instead of losing, then the talk would have been about a long unbeaten run maybe.
“A defeat meant it was all about 11 games without a win instead but we have got to string more wins together now, starting against Dagenham on Saturday.”
McGurk also credited Michael Ingham for the instrumental part he played in earning the Minstermen maximum points during his own comeback from a hip flexor injury.
“The win was thanks to Inghy really,” McGurk said. “Along with Jarv doing what he does from five yards, his performance got us the three points with some big saves, especially the header in the second half.
“I thought that was going in. We dealt with most of their other threats in the second half and, a lot of their efforts were from long range, but Inghy was there to save the ones that could have gone in.”
Following the recalls of loan pair Nick Pope and Aaron McCarey, Ingham is now expected to reclaim his place between the City sticks on a permanent basis, with McGurk pleased by that prospect.
“The two lads who came in did well but I have played with Inghy for years and feel comfortable with him behind me,” the former Darlington defender reasoned. “Hopefully, he can now maintain the form he showed on New Year’s Day for the rest of the season.”
With tenth-placed Dagenham next up for the Minstermen, McGurk is expecting a similar challenge to any other presented by League Two teams this term.
“There is not a lot of difference from one game to the next in this division,” he claimed. “We’ve seen that all season.
“We’ve played teams at the top and done well and then not done too well against some of the teams at the bottom but we have just got to concentrate on doing what we can do well.”
THE Daggers have only lost once in four previous League trips to Bootham Crescent and that was last term when the clubs met for the first time in the Football League.
Ashley Chambers scored twice along with Matty Blair in a 3-2 success.
The line-up on October 20, 2012, was: Ingham, Parslow, C Smith, Carlisle, Fyfield, Blair, Kerr (Challinor), Kearns, Coulson (J Smith), Waker (Blanchett), Chambers.
The first two Conference meetings at York ended in draws and in 2006/7 Dagenham won 3-2.
It happened on January 4
1969: First Division (Premier League) Stoke City won a third round FA Cup tie 2-0 at Bootham Crescent watched by 11,129. Playing only his second game for the club was 17-year-old central defender Chris Topping.
1975: City drew 1-1 at Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup in front of 27,029 at Highbury. Jimmy Seal was the scorer and the line-up was: Crawford, Calvert, Ogden, Holmes, Swallow, Topping, Lyons, Woodward, Seal, Jones, Butler.
1986: Keith Walwyn scored both goals in a 2-0 win at Bootham Crescent over non-League Wycombe Wanderers in the third round of the FA Cup watched by 5,546.
Compiled by David Batters