YORK City's scouting network will be extended to West Yorkshire this summer with ex-Minsterman David McGurk and current Bootham Crescent defender John McCombe opening their Pro Player Football Academy in Wakefield.

Another former City favourite Scott Kerr will also coach at the New Crofton-based centre, which will cater for talented young footballers aged between seven and 16 on a weekly basis.

McGurk, who will play for Harrogate Town next season after retiring from the professional game, is hoping to then give his old club first refusal on the centre's best players, as he looks to further his own coaching career by completing his UEFA A licence.

On his new project, the 31-year-old defender said: "We have set the academy up with the view to improving and developing young talent in the area and sending the best players to York City! I have had a chat with Richard Cresswell and Darren Kelly to forge a link with the club and, hopefully, we can provide some stars of the future.

"Our aim is for all our coaches to be current or ex-professional footballers and Michael Coulson and Lewis Montrose have already shown an interest in coming down to do a bit too, as they look to add to their coaching qualifications.

"Personally, I am hoping working at the academy will give me a chance to gain more coaching experience because I would love to return to professional football in that capacity.

"I would also love that to be at York City, as everybody knows how much affection I have for the club."

McGurk has been coaching City's under-14s for the last year, while McCombe has worked with the academies at his previous clubs Port Vale and Huddersfield.

The 28-year-old centre back also holds a first-class sports science degree and will begin studies for a Masters in sports performing coaching this September.

Trials for the Pro Player Football Academy will take place on the 3G pitch at Crofton Community Centre on June 16 (U14s and U8/9s), 18 (U10s and U11s) and 23 (U12s and U13s).

The centre is aiming to bridge the gap between professional academies and grassroots football with a focus on technical skills and tactical knowledge, as well as advice on the social and psychological attributes required for a career in professional football.

All the coaches will be FA/UEFA -qualified, CRB checked, fully insured and first aid-certified with a maximum coach to player ratio of 1:12.

Regular games will also be played against professional academies, development squads and local junior teams.

The programme will run for 42 weeks during school term-time and goalkeepers will work with a specialist coach in groups no larger than eight.

Reselection, meanwhile, will take place every six months to ensure high standards are maintained.

The sessions are targeted at four groups of player - those in professional academies wanting extra training, academy development players needing help to make the step up to professional academies, junior club players looking for an advanced level of coaching and players who believe they can play at a higher level but have not had the opportunity.

Any players successful at the trials will need to pay £28 per month and buy the academy's kit at a cost of £45.

The academy youngsters will also be encouraged to carry on playing for their local clubs.

Trial places are limited so anybody interested should email an application form as soon as possible by visiting www.proplayerfootball.com/news/ or calling McGurk on 07972 429468.

Bid for £200k funding boost

YORK City fans wanting to invest in former York City favourite David McGurk's Bets of Mates business can do for as little as £10.

McGurk has listed 22 per cent of the company's equity on the UK's number one crowd-funding site crowdcube.com and is hoping to raise £200,000 from the initiative.

Bets of Mates is an online "Social Betwork" site where visitors can predict the outcome of sports events in leagues set up against friends, pro footballers or rival clubs' supporters.

It is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and, operating pooled betting on football, darts and rugby, was nominated for the best newcomer section at this year's BetView Awards.

McGurk intends to use any cash injection to develop the company's app and expand the product to include more sports.

He added: "The company has made steady progress over the last two years but we feel primed to move to the next level. Anybody from the public domain can now buy shares in betsofmates.com and people can invest as little as £10.

"Who knows if the crowd-funding goes well, we may even see the betsofmates.com logo kicking around Bootham Crescent!"

Bets of Mates' crowd-funding page can be found at www.crowdcube.com/investment/bets-of-mates-limited-15593