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David McGurk heading for York City milestone
DAVID McGurk wants to reach 350 appearances for York City by playing every game between now and the end of the season.
The 31-year-old central defender also aims to finish his career with the Minstermen and hopes to earn a new contract with his current deal due to expire this summer.
McGurk has been an ever-present in the side since replacing a crocked Dan Parslow at Southend in November and, if he can stay in the team until, and including, the season-ending trip to Scunthorpe, he will celebrate his personal games landmark.
That would then place the two-time The Press Player of the Year in a strong position to break into City’s top-ten, all-time appearance list during 2014/15.
Billy Hughes – a member of City’s famous 1955 FA Cup semi-final side – is currently tenth on 380 games.
On the prospect of getting to 350 this May, McGurk said: “I’d definitely like to think that’s possible. We have got 18 games left and I feel like I can play in all of them.
“First and foremost, though, I will have to keep my place because there’s good competition with Smudge (Chris Smith) and John (McCombe) on the bench now so I know I have to play well and put a string of consistent performances together.”
McGurk first played for City during a loan spell from Darlington in 2004 and, having been with the club on a permanent basis for seven-and-a-half years, he cannot imagine a professional football future outside of North Yorkshire.
“I don’t want to go anywhere else at the end of the season,” he added. “Moving your family about is a big thing and I am happy at York.
“I definitely want to stay here and I still think I’ve got a couple of years left in me.”
Had he not endured two years of injury problems prior to his current run in the team, McGurk would have been close to joining the eight former Minstermen who have played more than 400 times for the club.
Completing three games in a week previously provided a physical and mental hurdle for McGurk but, as City prepare for tonight’s home game with Chesterfield, sandwiched between weekend trips to Hartlepool and Fleetwood, the Middlesbrough-born centre-back is undaunted.
He said: “I got through the Christmas spell and I feel strong now, so three games in eight days won’t be a problem.
“I have played 11 games on the bounce, which is a lot compared to what I’ve done over the last couple of years.
“My body, fingers crossed, seems to be getting used to playing all these games again and I am feeling better on my days off and during training.
“I look after myself during the week and the gaffer does as well, by giving me days off or leaving me out of training on astroturf.”
McGurk is now looking forward to tackling a Spireites side he rates as the finest in Sky Bet League Two, following October’s 2-2 draw at the Proact Stadium.
“I think they are the best team we have played this season,” he admitted.
“We know we have to get in their faces and we perhaps gave them a bit too much respect when we went 2-0 up at their place.
“They had an awful lot of the ball but the way we are playing at the minute, if we compete and can get our strikers and wingers pushing on by getting the ball high up the pitch, we can give them a good game.”
McGurk feels the key to getting a good result could also lie in matching the team’s recent commitment levels while avoiding the kind of unnecessarily-conceded free-kicks that led to Hartlepool’s first goal in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat.
Giving his assessment on that encounter, McGurk reasoned: “We competed as well as we have been doing during games but it just came down to who got that first goal.
“I think, if we had got it, we would have gone on and won. There wasn’t a lot in the game but that first goal was massive.
“We had maybe given away too many free-kicks in the game and that’s where the first goal came from.
“The second was a quality finish and I don’t think we could have done much to stop that, but we were a bit open by that stage, trying to get a goal back.”
Chesterfield are unbeaten in their last nine Football League visits to Bootham Crescent, comprising six wins and three draws.
City’s last home success over the Spireites was on April 21,1990, when Tony Barratt, Iain Dunn, Ian Helliwell and Steve Spooner netted in a 4-0 success.
The Derbyshire club have made 39 previous trips in the League and in the series City have won 15 times with 13 draws. The biggest victory was 7-1 on Boxing Day, 1964, and another 4-0 win was posted in 1961/62.
The corresponding game last season was on September 8, 2012 and finished 2-2 with Michael Coulson and Jason Walker on target. City’s team lined up: Ingham, Oyebanjo, C Smith, Carlisle, Taylor (Fyfield), Parslow, J Smith (Challinor), Blair, Coulson (Reed), Walker, Chambers.
Among the players who have represented both clubs are top marksmen Maurice Dando, Arthur Bottom, Kevin Randall, Keith Walwyn and Paul Barnes.
It happened on January 28
1939: A 3-1 win at Wrexham in Division Three North with Bob Mortimer (2) and Fred Scott the scorers.
1956: In front of a crowd of 22,000 at Bootham Crescent, City drew 0-0 against First Division (Premier League) Sunderland in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The side was: Forgan, Phillips, Howe, Brown, Stewart, Spence, Hughes, Bottom, Wilkinson, Storey, Fenton.
1989: City lost 4-2 at Scunthorpe United in the Fourth Division (League Two) with Tony Canham scoring both goals.
Compiled by David Batters
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