YORK City’s new signing John McCombe still wants to prove himself as a League One defender.
The 28-year-old centre-back has spent the last seven seasons plying his trade in the Football League’s bottom tier despite being a member of promotion-winning teams at Hereford and Port Vale during that time.
On both occasions, McCombe moved to pastures new in the summer despite making 32 and 37 appearances respectively during Hereford and Vale’s successful 2007/8 and 2012/13 campaigns.
At the end of last season, he left Vale, where he still had a year left to run on his contract, after Mansfield offered him a two-year deal.
But, with his first team opportunities becoming limited with the Stags, he has agreed two-and-a-half year terms with the Minstermen and is now targeting a third promotion within that time-scale.
He said: “I am definitely here with a view to trying to play in League One with York City in the near future. I played at that level with my first club Huddersfield and it was a bit of a disappointment to leave both Hereford and Port Vale after getting promoted.
“I could have stayed at Port Vale for another year but I wanted to play more games.
“Mansfield came in to take me for a couple of years and I was looking forward to the challenge there but things did not work out.
“I was in and out of the side and the gaffer here enquired about me in November.
“I’ve been waiting to see what will happen since then and, as soon as I knew I would be made available in January, I jumped at the chance to come to York.”
Added McCombe: “I’ve perhaps had the toughest six months of my career so I just want to get back playing. I have been playing football a long time and love the game but I have not enjoyed it as much during the last six months.
“I have enjoyed my first few days training here, though, so hopefully I can kick on now, get in the team and play as many games as I can.”
But, despite being pursued by City boss Nigel Worthington for the best part of two months, McCombe is not expecting to become an immediate fixture in a side that has taken nine points from a possible nine.
Keith Lowe and David McGurk have forged a strong central-defensive partnership since mid-November and the likes of club captain Chris Smith and Tom Allan, as well as long-term injury casualty Dan Parslow, are all on the Bootham Crescent books too.
“I’ve been keeping my eye on York for the last month or two and the form is brilliant now,” McCombe added. “The defence have done really well and to win the last three games is brilliant.
“I know I might not be in team straight away and it will be a challenge because there are so many good players here.”