TEENAGE defender Andy McWilliams is winning the battle for York City’s left-back spot ahead of the Blue Square Premier curtain raiser at Crawley Town on August 9.
McWilliams, 18, was preferred in the role to Mark Robinson – nine years his senior – for last night’s 1-0 home win over Hartlepool.
He was also the sponsors’ choice as man of the match, while supporters in the David Longhurst Stand recycled a chant once dedicated to Wembley hero Andy McMillan when they sang “Andy Mac is our left-back”.
Speaking about his options for the position, City boss Colin Walker said: “Young Andy McWilliams looks like he’s been playing there for the last five years and I think last night was only his seventh senior game, so he’s doing really well at the moment.
“He stepped up to the plate last season and that meant we let Anthony Lloyd go unfortunately, but now he’s not just a number two left-back, he’s vying to be first choice.
“Mark Robinson knows that and when he came on I felt he did better than in other matches.”
The Minstermen secured victory last night against their League One visitors having surrendered leads in the last five minutes of their previous pre-season home outings against Middlesbrough and Barnsley.
A satisfied Walker said: “We were wondering whether it would happen again, but I felt our defence did well in front of Josh Mimms. We matched them in all departments and should have won by more goals.”
Summer signing Daniel McBreen played his second game after a knee operation and set up Ben Wilkinson for the only goal of the game.
But Walker admitted the Australian target man also faces a fight for selection with fellow forwards Craig Farrell (four), Onome Sodje (two), Richard Brodie (two) and Adam Boyes (one) all having found the net in pre-season.
The City boss said: “Who plays up there is a tough call and probably the hardest area of the pitch to pick at the moment. They are all flying.
“Sodje and Richard Brodie both have points to prove and Daniel McBreen’s a bit behind in fitness, but he’s got the experience and made a great run for Ben Wilkinson’s goal.
“Craig Farrell’s getting fitter every game and, at one point, gave their centre-back a ten-yard start and still went past him.”
Right-sided midfielder Niall Henderson limped out of the action last night, but his knee injury is expected to be minor.
Darren Kelly will return from honeymoon to travel to Sheffield FC on Saturday.
Walker intends to take a full-strength squad, adding: “We will be getting nearer the team for Crawley there.”