UTILITY man David Ferguson believes new goalkeeper Adam Bartlett will help create a stronger spine to York City’s side.

Bartlett, known as “The Cat” by his former Darlington team-mate Ferguson, lived up to his nickname by saving a penalty on his debut at Alfreton to safeguard a 3-2 triumph.

The pair ended last season and started this term together at the County Durham part-timers, but have both followed former boss Martin Gray to Bootham Crescent.

Now, Ferguson is in no doubt that 31-year-old Bartlett, who also counts Hartlepool, Gateshead, Hereford, Kidderminster and Blyth amongst his old clubs, can bring stability in a position that has already seen three other net-minders – Jon Worsnop, Luke Simpson and Bailey Peacock-Farrell – don the Minstermen gloves this term.

Commenting on Newcastle-born Bartlett’s weekend heroics and importance to the club moving forward, Ferguson enthused: “What a save it was by Barts on his debut.

“It kept us in the game and won us three points, which is always the most important thing in any match. He’s a cat and such a good shot-stopper.

“You could also see when their lad was walking up to take the penalty that he was moving and getting in his head, which is all psychological and he has that type of personality. He’s an experienced player who has been about and always talks, which he’ll bring to the team and that helps you create a good spine, so he can start that off with the way he performs.”

Ferguson, meanwhile, was restricted to a cameo second-half appearance at Alfreton, with Gray deciding to select the same ten outfield players that had defeated Curzon Ashton 2-1 the previous weekend when he was serving a one-match suspension.

While not challenging his manager’s judgement, though, the former Blackpool left back did question the red card during City’s 3-2 home defeat to Tamworth that led to his enforced absence.

“The lads won the previous week and I had to accept that I wouldn’t get straight back in,” he reasoned. “I’ve got to be patient and make sure I’m doing the right things in training so, when my chance comes, I take it.

“For the sending off, I can see why the ref gave it because he will have thought he saw me shove their man, but I thought it was a soft one that he played for, because he over-ran the ball. I put my arm across him and, even though I hardly touched him, it was enough contact for him to fall down, but it’s a funny rule now because, if I’d have given the foul away in the box, I would have only got a yellow, as their player (Tom Platt) did on Saturday, but I just had to take it on the chin and these things happen in football.”

Not one to sulk, the Sunderland-born, 23-year-old added that he realised the importance of contributing to the cause when hailed from the bench on 70 minutes in Derbyshire.

“Coming on, I had to make sure we were solid and, with my fresh legs, help the team’s work-rate, as well as provide a fresh mentality, because there can be some tired minds as a game wears on,” he explained.

The match also came just 48 hours after Ferguson had returned from a five-day trip with England C that saw the Three Lions team defeated 4-0 by Slovakia’s under-21 side in the final of the International Challenge Trophy.

Ferguson was one of six players to play the full 90 minutes in a tough contest that became even more difficult following Andrew Cartwright’s first-half dismissal.

Among the opposition’s team was highly-rated 20-year-old Lazlo Benez, who has already been dubbed the “New Marek Hamzik,” as the most likely successor to Slovakia and Napoli’s star playmaker.

Benez has already been capped by the senior side and played in the Bundesliga, with Ferguson admitting: “It was a very good experience even though the game was tough.

“We went down to ten men after 30 minutes. It was 1-0 at the time, but we were playing very well and sticking to the game-plan.

“That changed, though, after the red card. In the second half, they came out and took advantage when it was 11 against 10.

“Their link-up play was very good and, when we were pushing at 2-0 down, they went on to get a third and fourth so, then, we decided to shut up shop to save embarrassment and retain some pride. It was their under-21 team and their central-midfielder (Benez) plays for Borussia Monchengladbach and there were some others from the Belgian leagues.

“They were good players who you could tell play in top leagues. They were more technical and wanted to keep the ball on the floor more than teams do at the level we’re playing and they were very clever, intelligent players.”