THEO Wharton has declared himself ready to fill Adriano Moke’s boots for York City.

Ex-Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate Moke will be sidelined for another six weeks due to a pulled thigh muscle with manager Gary Mills having previously stated that former Cardiff City reserve Wharton is the nearest like-for-like replacement in terms of playmaking ability.

Moke filled a key role in Mills’ favoured 4-3-3 formation prior to his injury – a midfield anchorman position that the likes of Jassem Sukar, Simon Heslop and Connor Smith have all struggled to master since.

During Tuesday night’s 4-2 success at Spennymoor, Wharton was handed his City debut as part of a two-man midfield following the switch to 3-4-3 but, with Mills suggesting that the team are likely to revert back to the more attacking system at home to Stockport on Saturday, the 22-year-old midfielder is expected to be given Moke’s responsibility of receiving and keeping possession just in front of the back four.

On his suitability to that task, Wharton said: “Mokes is a great player and we all know how good he is on the ball. I have to try and make the transition from him to me as easy for the team as possible, as well as playing my own game and I’ll try to emulate what he does, even though we are different players.

“I don’t mind if the system changes against Stockport. I’ve played 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 in the past and, whatever the system, everybody has to do their job for the team.

“If I have to play right back or right midfield I will and I’ll still give 100 per cent.” Wharton had not played a single minute of City’s season before being trusted with a starting place at Spennymoor and has even failed to make the bench in a third of the opening nine National League North fixtures.

But, having also been limited to two FA Cup substitute outings in six seasons with previous club Cardiff, Wharton has remained patient at Bootham Crescent, adding: “I’ve just been trying to train hard, keep by head down and wait for my chance.

“When you get it, you then have to take it. There’s a lot of competition here and we all want to play, so you have to be ready when called upon.”

With a big gate guaranteed for the visit of Stockport, Wharton is looking forward to taking on the former Championship outfit, having sought the views of team-mate Kaine Felix on what to expect from the team the latter went on loan to last term.

“I’ve done a bit of research on them myself and spoken to Kaine about them,” Wharton revealed. “I know they travel well with lots of supporters, but our fans are loud and sing a lot as well, so it will be good competition off the field too.”

Wharton is now hoping that the team’s first win in four matches can prove the springboard for another three points this weekend, reflecting: “In the first half, we did really well as a team against Spennymoor.

“The game then changed a bit in the second half when they tried a bit harder and made things difficult for us but, overall, it was a good away performance and back-to-back wins would be brilliant after losing a couple of games and the draw at Southport.”

Wharton also appreciated the presence of Sean Newton alongside him during his full professional debut, enthusing: “Sean’s a great player at this level and higher. He knows what he’s doing and we’re lucky to have him as captain.”

Having spent the majority of his career playing development football at Cardiff, meanwhile, Wharton went on to end last term at sixth-tier level with southern side Weston-super-Mare and will not be under-estimating any opponents.

“The standard is actually really good and better than it used to be,” he reasoned. “It’s a tough league and we know we have to be at our best every week to get results.”