YORK City manager Gary Mills is unlikely to bring Adriano Moké back to Bootham Crescent following his release by Cambridge United.
But the Minstermen chief has not completely ruled out a return for the 23-year-old winger with his squad short on fit attacking wide players.
Moké turned down the offer of a new deal with City in the summer, opting instead to stay in the Blue Square Bet Premier with Cambridge, reasoning that his first-team chances would be greater.
He only made two league starts for Cambridge, however, before being loaned out to Tamworth at the end of October and has now been made surplus to requirements.
With Michael Coulson, Ashley Chambers, Oli Johnson and John McReady all having suffered long-term injury lay-offs this term, Moké could have featured prominently in City’s first season back in the Football League had he accepted an extension to his contract but that opportunity might have passed by now.
City boss Mills said: “I had six missed phone calls from Mokes after Cambridge let him go. I’m not a man who would be too proud to say ‘Come on back and show us what you can do’ if it came to that, but it’s a bit like the Richard Brodie situation.
“It’s about being 100 per cent sure and sometimes you have moved on as a club. If I go back to June time, then I was really disappointed because I thought going into the Football League was a great opportunity for Mokes, but he decided to go to Cambridge to play games and then didn’t play games.
“I know he would be cheap – that’s a fact – because we wouldn’t pay him a lot of money but, at this moment in time, we wouldn’t be looking to do anything. It’s sometimes easy to go back but we’ve done that already and it’s not worked out as well as I’d have liked.”
Attacking wide players remain Mills’ main priority, however, as he considers whether to strengthen his squad during the transfer window.
He added: “Michael Coulson and Ashley Chambers were playing so well at the start of the season that they were keeping Matty Blair out of the team, but we’ve lost them both and also been without Oli Johnson and John McReady. It’s been a big blow to lose all those players and I’d like to sign a minimum of two attacking wide players.”
Mills missed out on one target this week when League Two rivals Rotherham recruited Danny Kearns on loan from Peterborough.
Kearns played for the Minstermen on the same basis earlier in the season but Mills revealed he was in no position to compete financially with the Millers, adding: “I think Rotherham have brought in three or four players over the last week and we are not in a position to splash that sort of money at this moment in time. If I had wanted Danny on loan, it would have cost a lot more than it did to bring him here before.”
Youth-team winger Reece Kelly, meanwhile, gave Mills a reminder of his talents on the flank this week with a goal during the 3-0 North Riding Senior Cup victory over Northallerton.
Kelly was given his senior debut, as a first-year scholar against Forest Green at the end of last season, with Mills pointing out that now is a crucial time for the teenager with decisions over contracts on the horizon.
“He did well the other night,” the City boss said of Kelly’s county cup display. “You have to bear in mind the standard of the opposition but he stuck his goal away well, put some good crosses in and showed a bit of pace, which he’s not been doing of late in the youth team.
“I gave him his chance last season in the first team because he showed me something and we are now coming up to an important two or three weeks for him in terms of his future.”