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York City goalkeeper Michael Ingham targets second successive promotion
MICHAEL INGHAM reckons York City can go into the new season with high hopes of securing brilliant back-to-back promotions.
The Northern Ireland international goalkeeper agreed a new two-year deal at Bootham Crescent at the end of last week, lifting the weight of contract negotiations and providing the Minstermen with a timely boost as they continue preparations for their impending return to the Football League.
And he is clearly optimistic Gary Mills’ charges can enjoy another glory-filled year after last season’s historic Wembley double when they toppled Newport to win the FA Trophy before seeing off fierce rivals Luton Town 2-1 in the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final eight days later.
Said Ingham: “It will be hard to match last season and we’re making the step up to a tougher league, but we’re quietly confident we can surprise a few people in the division with the way we play football.”
Asked if there was much talk in the camp of another promotion, he said: “I think the fans are talking about it, and the manager is as well.
“We’ve got to aim for that at the start of the season. For us, that’s what we set out to do.
“In some ways it’s easier to get out of this division because there are four promotion places up for grabs whereas there’s only two in the Conference.
“It’s not an easier league, but if we can get off to a good start I don’t see why we can’t go and challenge for a play-off spot at least.”
The 32-year-old City number one, having shared pre-season goalkeeping duties with veteran Paul Musselwhite , was between the sticks for the full 90 minutes of the 2-0 friendly defeat to League One outfit Oldham.
He also featured in last night’s run-out at Gateshead as Mills’ men continue building up to the League Two season, which kicks off against Doncaster in the League Cup on August 11.
In between times, he took in York City Knights ’ Championship rugby league match against Leigh Centurions on Sunday, along with team-mates Jason Walker , Paddy McLaughlin and Tom Platt, the youngster who has been offered his first pro contract.
“We’ve been back (in training) two weeks and we’ve had some tough, long sessions,” said the shot-stopper, who has 188 City appearances behind him.
“We’re getting there slowly, and we’re all looking forward to the Doncaster game.
“For me it’s been a case of getting the rustiness from the off-season out and getting my eye back in.
“The lads look pretty sharp in training and hopefully it’s all gearing to us having another good campaign.”
Ingham, Walker, McLaughlin and Platt were at Huntington Stadium on Sunday as guests of the Knights, and took part, along with Shed Seven indie rock star Rick Witter, in the half-time crossbar challenge.
“I’ve always wanted to come up and watch a game,” said Ingham of rugby league at Monks Cross — adding that he enjoyed what was on show, despite a heavy home defeat on the day.
“It’s a lot different to our sport – they’re a lot bigger than us for a start. There are some big hits compared to what we see in our sport.
“I’ve seen games on TV but you can hear the tackles more and you definitely see what they go through more than on TV. I’ve enjoyed it.”