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Lee Bullock returns to York City to Mills’ delight
LEE Bullock’s love for first club York City will ensure he is a success in his second spell at Bootham Crescent, according to manager Gary Mills.
The 31-year-old midfielder has become Mills’ first summer signing, having agreed a one-year contract after being released by next season’s League Two rivals Bradford City.
Having made his professional debut at the age of 17, Bullock made 189 appearances and scored 27 goals between 1998 and 2004 for the Minstermen before earning a move to the Championship with Cardiff City.
He left for Wales two months before his old club were relegated from the Football League, where he has since plied his trade for Hartlepool, Mansfield, Bury and Bradford, spending the last four-and-a-half years at Valley Parade.
But, while many in football adhere to the old cliché you should never go back, Mills points to double-winning skipper Chris Smith — part of the same 2003/4 City squad as Bullock that dropped out of the League – as an example of how former players can come back to a club stronger.
Mills said: “That affinity Lee has with the club is very important. When I spoke to him, it was clear what coming back to York means to him and he’s delighted to be here.
“To get somebody back here like him is massive for me. He will give us total commitment, as Chris Smith has done since he came back.
“Most of our fans will know how good he is from his time here before. I think he will be a pivotal player for us and he is coming back to familiar surroundings so it’s not like he’ll take a few months to settle in.
“He’s returning with more experience and he’s a good first signing. He knows the League and has done well at that level over the seasons.”
With Scott Kerr out for the start of the new season with knee ligament damage, Bullock is likely to be a contender for the midfield anchorman role although Mills also admires his potential as a utility man, adding: “First and foremost, he’s a good player, a good pro and a player I respect.
“He plays in a position I have been looking to strengthen for next season and he’s versatile as well. He will fit into the way I like my teams to play and can play in other positions.
“He played at centre-half for Bradford a bit last season and I know he played up front when he was here in the past. He still lives fairly locally and plays the game for the right reasons with the right attitude.”
Mills continues to speak to other transfer targets and is still waiting to hear whether James Meredith, Daniel Parslow, Ashley Chambers and Adriano Moké will sign the new deals they have been offered.
Out-of-contract players Jon Challinor, Chris Doig, Jamal Fyfield, Danny Pilkington, Eugen Bopp, Scott Brown and Matthew Blinkhorn, however, have been told they might need to be patient before discovering whether they are part of Mills’ plans for next season.
The City boss said: “I’m waiting for the players that I have offered contracts to come back to me and I won’t release any of the others, if I decide I am going to do, until the time is right.
“If I am pushed into a corner and people are pressing me for an answer then I will perhaps give them one but I have to be comfortable with everything before I make decisions.
“I understand the players will want their futures sorting out as soon as possible but I hope they can appreciate that I am manager of this football club and I have to do what I feel is right.”