TOM PLATT is hoping patience will prove to be a virtue as York City's Skybet League Two season gets under way at Tranmere on Saturday.
The 20-year-old is crossing his fingers he will get the nod from Minstermen boss Nigel Worthington for one of the central midfield berths at Prenton Park after playing a significant role in pre-season.
Platt, who has come through the youth set-up at Bootham Crescent, exploded onto the first-team scene as City beat the drop at the end of the 2012/13 season.
But, after starting the first seven games of the last campaign, he became a peripheral figure as York pushed into the playoffs.
Platt has responded this time around by scoring in the pre-season fixture against Nottingham Forest and, with Worthington expressing his delight with his efforts, is hoping he has done enough to get back on the teamsheet.
"I can't wait to get going," he said. "It has been a good pre-season. I feel fit and have been playing quite well in the past few games so I am ready to get going now.
"Last season was a bit stop-start. I never really got going. I am looking forward to hopefully getting a good run in the team, get a start this week and press on from there."
"It is tough when you are not playing," Platt added of his spell on the sidelines. "I started the first few games and we maybe didn't get the results. I don't think we played badly at the start of the season, to be honest, but we ended up drawing or losing games.
"We made a few signings and the lads did well for the rest of the season. It' s a new season now and, hopefully, I can start again and play more.
"You have to keep your head up and keep working hard in training and hope you get another chance. I knew I had this year as well (on my contract) so when the lads were doing well I just had to sit and wait and try to start on the front foot this time. You have to bide your time."
Supporters who have seen Platt on the field in pre-season may have noticed a more muscular frame to the youngster and the midfielder saysextra fitness work has been the key.
He explained: "I did a lot of work last year with Ian Walbridge, strength and conditioning coach, in the gym and we do a lot of work. With age, you mature and fill out a bit so I think I hve put a bit more size on my frame and I feel good out there. I feel strong.
"The gaffer likes athletes and strong players and it's huge in the game nowadays. If you have got the physical attributes you can buy yourself a lot of time on the ball, keep the ball for your team and it helps."
Platt was pleased to find the net against Forest and hopes he can recapture the goalscoring from he found while on loan at Harrogate Town a couple of seasons ago.
"I was scoring nearly every week," he said. "When I came back it's been frustrating that I haven't. I haven't really had too many chances, to be honest, and it is about trying to time your runs and get in there.
"It was a great cut back by Lindon Meikle the other night. If I get the right service - and it was a great ball - and keep getting in there, I will hopefully take the chance like I did.
"With it being full time, the people you are playing against are a lot more athletic, a lot fitter and they can track you back. They are more switched on and it is harder to get away from your man. I have to do the same thing when I am running back - try and stop him scoring.
"The marking is better in this league but you will still get your chances and you have to put it away."