YORK City defender David McGurk has handed in a written transfer request at Bootham Crescent and wants to leave for Luton Town according to manager Gary Mills.
Mills told The Press he had rejected repeated bids from the Hatters for McGurk’s services and had even offered the 28-year-old centre-back an extension to his current contract, which does not expire until the summer of 2012.
The City chief has also refused to grant permission for McGurk to speak to the Kenilworth Road club and intends to carry on selecting the former Darlington defender, ahead of tomorrow’s league trip to Rushden and Diamonds.
Luton have already lured Alex Lawless to Bedfordshire on loan, having agreed to a permanent move when the transfer window reopens in January and also snapped up City target Jason Walker from Barrow in similar circumstances.
Last season’s Press Player of the Year McGurk, it now transpires, is also in Hatters boss Richard Money’s sights.
The club’s longest-serving player with five years of service under his belt, McGurk picked up a rare ten out of ten Press rating as City completed their 2-0 Blue Square Premier two-legged play-off semi-final win over Luton in May.
About his battle to retain the Middlesbrough-born centre-half’s services, Mills said: “Luton have made a couple of offers for David, which we have turned down.
“David has expressed an interest in speaking to them with a view to signing for them but he’s somebody I don’t want to lose.
“I have told him that and even offered him an extension to his contract, which he has turned down.
“I’m trying to build a team and a squad of players that I feel can compete at this level and I want David to be part of that but he has told me he would like to move to Luton.
“He has put in a written transfer request but I’ve not given permission for him to talk to Luton because I value him as an important part of my future plans for the club.
“In the meantime, I will continue to pick him for the team.”
Mills admitted, meanwhile, that he has a more pleasing dilemma as he considers whether to recall talented loan signings Ashley Chambers and Robbie Weir after the pair were ineligible for Wednesday’s crushing 3-0 FA Cup victory over Rotherham.
He added: “Those kind of selection headaches are lovely – a manager’s dream but a player’s nightmare.”
Djoumin Sangare is, however, doubtful due to a sore groin and Peter Till will face a late fitness test on his hamstring injury before a decision is made on whether he can join the squad for Nene Park.
Following tomorrow’s match, City will play host to Southport in the league on Tuesday night before fighting for a place in the FA Cup third round a week tomorrow at Darlington, but Mills believes his players will have no problem focusing on their forthcoming fixtures.
He said: “I don’t think it (the Cup match) will prove a distraction.
“I thought Wednesday’s win was just a progression of what we have been doing in the league.
“We haven’t got the results our performances have deserved in the league but we did get our reward against Rotherham because we put the chances away that we created.
“We haven’t done that in the league games but we just need to keep playing how we are doing.”
Mills also stressed that he hopes the morale-boosting win over Rotherham will provide a belated hangover cure following last season’s Blue Square Premier play-off final defeat to Oxford.
He said: “I like a drink but I don’t like a hangover and everybody has got to forget about last season now and get over it.
“There’s been a lot of talk about last season but I’m not interested in that – it’s gone.
“The club had a great opportunity, but it did not happen.
“Now, I have a style of football I want my team to play and we have got to move forward.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourselves in life and we must concentrate on turning around the disappointing start to the season.”