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Levi dreams of central perks
11:51am Saturday 15th May 2010 in York City v Oxford United - Wembley play-off final
Manager Martin Foyle has already stressed that the wide expanses of the hallowed turf should suit his middle men and Mackin is confident they can play a central role.
The former Welsh Under-21 international is the only surviving member from the midfield that played under the arch in last season’s 2-0 FA Trophy final defeat against Stevenage.
A patched-up side saw veteran centre-back Mark Greaves operating alongside Mackin, on loan from Wrexham at the time, while striker Adam Boyes was marooned on the left wing and Simon Rusk laboured on the opposite flank. This time around, he is expected to be surrounded by 2009/10 recruits Alex Lawless, Neil Barrett and Chris Carruthers and Mackin feels that trio can help the team deliver a much better display to secure promotion to the Football League at the expense of Oxford.
He said: “I rate all three of them. They are good players and we have all gelled well together.
“We work off each other and the success from a midfield’s point of view has come as a result of that. Alex finds positions and he’s a very clever player – he will always show for you when you are on the ball.
“Neil Barrett is good at getting forward and into the box and you can always trust Chrissy to put in a performance on the wing with his great left foot. We have a lot stronger team this season and are more confident going into this game than we were last May.
“Everybody gets on well and we have just got to go into the game giving everything we can. We have a lot of intelligent players and are solid at the back and this squad could definitely cope with League football.”
Despite the disappointment of last May’s visit to the national stadium, Mackin also believes the team are playing for an infinitely greater reward this weekend, saying: “There’s no comparison really between being FA Trophy and play-off final winners.
“There’s no bigger prize at this level than getting into the Football League. It was great to get to Wembley last season but this year is a lot more important.”
Mackin does, however, subscribe to the view that last season’s Wembley outing could prove beneficial 12 months on.
He added: “It could definitely help us. We are going there to win a game of football this time and have seen the surroundings before so we can just concentrate on the match.”
Mackin was The Press man of the match during an extremely unlucky 2-1 defeat at Oxford on the opening day of the season when the home team snatched victory with two late goals – their only on-target attempts of the match.
He was on the bench for the 1-1 draw in the return fixture but believes both himself and the team can take encouragement from those two matches.
He said: “It definitely helps if you have played well against a certain team because it gives you the confidence and belief of knowing you can do it again. When we played them at their place, we were the best team until the last five minutes.
“Over both games, we knew we could get a result against them and, hopefully, it will go right on the day this time.”
Mackin also insisted that the players would not be intimidated by a larger following of Oxford fans on the day, pointing out that he expects City supporters to match them for volume.
He said: “Once the lads are on the pitch, we will forget the surroundings and we always know the York fans will be loud anyway, even if they are outnumbered.”
After rising through the youth ranks at Wrexham, Mackin admitted that his permanent move to Bootham Crescent at the age of 23 last summer has helped resurrect his career and, having played for the Dragons in Leagues One and Two from the age of 18, feels he would now be better equipped playing at that level.
“It’s been a breath of fresh air and given me a lift coming to York and playing every week,” he confessed. “I’d been at Wrexham for a while and when it comes to the stage that you’re not playing, it gets you down.
“Playing in the League is where we all want to be and, on a personal level, it would be brilliant to get back there. I would be a bit older and more experienced than when I used to be in the League and would really enjoy another chance.”