New signing Femi Ilesanmi targets top three finish for York City
Updated 11:03am Thursday 26th June 2014 in Sport
YORK City's first summer signing Femi Ilesanmi is targeting a top-three finish next season.
Ilesanmi, who has joined the Minstermen after being released by Sky Bet League Two rivals Dagenham & Redbridge, believes his new team should set their sights even higher after last term's charge into the play-off spots.
The club's form in 2014 would have seen them finish champions by six points had the campaign kicked off on New Year's Day and Ilesanmi now reckons he has a good chance of playing League One football during the second year of his Bootham Crescent.
He said: "I think automatic promotion has to be the target. The club finished sixth and lost to Fleetwood last season, so it is only right that we try and make that top three."
Ilesanmi has spent the last four years at Dagenham, making 133 appearances for the Essex club, but highly-rated teenager Jack Connors was often preferred at left back during the final four months of the last campaign.
The Southwark-born, 23-year-old only started nine of the Daggers' last 21 matches and admitted that it is nice to feel "wanted" again after holding discussions with City chief Nigel Worthington, chairman Jason McGill and assistant-manager Steve Torpey.
He is also relishing the chance to become a a first-team regular once more, with City's season-long loanee Ben Davies having been handed a new 12-month deal after returning to parent club Preston.
"I got a phone call from the manager expressing an interest in me and telling me how much he wanted me," Ilesanmi revealed. "That won me over and the fact that I will be playing games because that opportunity to play week in, week out is the most important thing first and foremost.
"I had a couple of other clubs contact me and there were offers on the table but, having spoken to the manager and met the chairman and Steve, it was a no brainer for men."
Having served his apprenticeship with AFC Wimbledon and QPR, as well as playing for Ashford Town and Dagenham, a three-month loan spell at Histon represents the furthest place the former Blackheath school pupil has plied his trade away from his roots in the capital.
But Ilesanmi believes relocating north will prove beneficial for him, adding: "I feel I needed a change of scenery from London so I can solely focus on football. It's time to move away.
"I have been there all my life and I want to kick on with my career. I just want to play and let everybody know who I am by cementing my position in the team."
City's new defender's last outing at Bootham Crescent saw him on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat as a visiting Dagger at the turn of the year and he confessed that he was impressed by the hosts on that day, recalling: "I think we were given a lesson on that day. It was clear there is a very hard-working team here, so I should fit right in."
The prospect of working under a manager who played in his position at World Cup finals and in the Premier League is also an attraction.
"The manager has told me that he will work closely with me and I am looking forward to that," Ilesanmi said. "He was a left back who played at the highest level, so he can coach me in certain areas that other managers can't."
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