YORK City attacker Ashley Chambers cannot wait to kick off the new season at League Cup opponents Doncaster Rovers after admitting that committing his future to the Bootham Crescent club was a “no-brainer”.
Chambers has signed a new one-year deal at Bootham Crescent, which will extend to a second season dependent on the number of games he starts in 2012/13.
And the former England youth international is now determined to make the first XI when Gary Mills’ team travel to face old rivals Rovers – the South Yorkshire neighbours who condemned the Minstermen to what turned out to be eight years of non-League football.
Doncaster’s ramshackle old ground Belle Vue provided the setting as City’s relegation from League Two was confirmed back in 2004 but the first-round hosts, who have just been relegated from the Championship, now ply their trade at the ultra-modern Keepmoat Stadium.
For Chambers, the venue will represent a great destination for City to mark their return to the Football League during the week starting August 13.
Due to the Olympics, the League Two campaign will not kick off until the following weekend and, on the Cup tie, Chambers said: “It’s a fantastic draw.
“They’ve got a great stadium and are a big club who have just come down from the Championship. It will be a great occasion for our fans because it’s not far to travel and it’s a bit of a derby match really to start the season.”
Chambers, 22, saw his previous contract with City expire after scoring the equalising goal in last month’s 2-1 Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final win over Luton.
But it was always Chambers’ intention to agree new terms with the Minstermen, who could have claimed a compensation fee for his services if he had sought a transfer elsewhere.
“I didn’t want to move on and start again,” the ex-Leicester striker revealed. “You can do that and not get on as well as you’d like to.
“When the club said they wanted to renegotiate with me, I was happy to do that and I’m delighted to get everything sorted out. It was a no-brainer really for me because of the way the club has been developing over the last few weeks and months.
“Winning the FA Trophy and then going one better and winning the one that everybody wanted – to get promotion in the play-off final – was brilliant and to be back in the Football League at a place where I want to be is great.
“York City is the right club for me at the moment. We have a great manager and chairman. It’s a really exciting time to be at the club and going into the Football League will give me more experience.
“The likes of Stevenage, Exeter and Crawley have shown how double promotions are possible and that’s possible for us with the team we have got.”
Chambers has had brief tastes of League Two football with the likes of Wycombe and Grimsby in the past during loan spells from Leicester and, as a consequence, is confident of City’s prospects at that level.
He added: “I think we are far superior to the teams I was playing against then because of the style of football we play. We have a great basis to do well in the League and, if we can carry on what we did last season, there’s no reason why we can’t get into the play-offs.”
Chambers is also well on the road to recovery from the minor knee cartilage problem that caused him to withdraw from this month’s England ‘C’ international against a Russian representative team, denying him a last chance to represent his country at that level.
The one-time Three Lions under-19 forward expects to be fully fit for the start of pre-season but, on missing the match at Dynamo Moscow, he admitted: “That was massively disappointing.
“They got beaten 4-0 which would have been a bit of a downer but to play against a quality team like them, with players from Russia’s top teams if not those from other countries, would have been the icing on the cake after the season we had, but it wasn’t to be.”
Having finished the season with a flourish as one of City’s best players in both Wembley finals, Chambers also feels he can approach the next campaign with greater self-belief.
Both manager Gary Mills and Chambers reckon a shortage of confidence has held the player back in the past, but he said: “The biggest thing for me is having confidence in myself.
“If I have that, then the ability I have got tends to come out a lot more. Hopefully, I can do that on the League Two stage and show the fans that there’s more to come from me because you can work on your confidence.
“It’s just a case of having a strong mentality. I was at a big club at a young age and played in the first team at 15.
“I was a little boy then and you worry about what people think but I’m coming out of that now and it’s starting to show in my performances. I am looking to recreate my two performances at Wembley more consistently through next season.”