LONG-THROW specialist Sam Muggleton has become the latest player to commit his future to York City with boss Gary Mills revealing “90 per cent” of his squad want to follow suit.
Following Jon Parkin’s decision to put pen to paper, ex-Eastleigh and Barnet left-back Muggleton has agreed a new one-year deal and, even though he is ineligible for Sunday’s FA Trophy final against Macclesfield, he will travel down with the squad for the Wembley showcase.
The Melton Mowbray-born defender only started one game – City’s final National League fixture against Forest Green – following his March arrival, but caused havoc with his abnormal touchline talent, providing a hat-trick of assists for leading scorer Parkin.
Having retaining his services for the 2017/18 National League North campaign, Mills stressed, though, that Muggleton will also get a chance to let his feet do the talking too next term, rather than largely being hailed from the bench. The City manager said: “I’m pleased to have him next season and Big Jon will be pleased to have him here too, because he scored three of his goals last season thanks to Sam. But I’d never sign anybody based on just being able to throw a ball.
“You’ve got to be able to play and he played well in the last game against Forest Green. He’s played 80 games in the Football League and at this level and he’s only 21, which not many players his age have done.
“I think he now needs to come into a team and play week in, week out and, when he does that, it will make him fitter mentally and physically to do better. There are no thrills to his game and keeping the game simple is sometimes the best way to play.”
Mills went on to reveal that two players he would have liked to keep next term have signalled their intention to leave, but he wants to avoid the wholesale arrivals and departures that have characterised recent close seasons.
Citing an 18-man squad as the ideal size for next term, with the scope to make loan additions when needed, Mills is now hoping financial agreements can be reached with the bulk of the squad that showed top-ten form in the National League during the second half of the campaign. He added: “Sometimes, you think you can go out and get better, but then you don’t and I’ve found that out through experience. I believe the nucleus of this group of players – about 80 per cent of them – would be more than good enough to go and compete in the National League North next season.
“We’ve already got the likes of Sean Newton, Simon Heslop and Yan Klukowski under contract and, while two players in the group, who it wouldn’t be fair to name now, have said they want to move on, 90 per cent want to stay. Whether negotiations go well will dictate how many stay, but I’m certainly not looking to bring in a lot of different faces.
“I know supporters sometimes like to see a lot of new signings, but it’s not worked here in past and we’ve got momentum, good players and a good dressing room, so why throw that away. Finances, for me, will be the only reason that we would do that, either because players want more or the club can’t afford to pay them.”