EVENING Press Player of the Year Dave Merris has welcomed the news that Billy McEwan will be in charge of York City next season.

Merris believes McEwan's continued employment at KtKat Crescent is in the club's best interests.

As one of only three senior out-of-contract players to be offered a new deal by McEwan, Merris also pointed out that it would give him greater confidence agreeing terms with the meticulous Scotsman still at the helm for 2005/2006.

The 24-year-old left back said: "I think he's a good manager with the right mentality and ideas to make the club turn the corner and introduce a more professional set-up. It's the right thing for the club that he is staying because since he's come to the club he's been very, very professional.

"He's also a disciplinarian and, if he wants something doing, he does get it out of you. He's impressed me overall as a manager and is vastly experienced, which is important for younger players."

Merris was waiting for his one-year contract offer to arrive in the post this week before committing his future to the Minstermen but envisages no problems and said: "It was brilliant news for me because you are always a bit wary about your future when a new manager comes in with ideas of what he wants.

"It's been a tough first two seasons for the club while I have been here and being relegated and struggling in the second year was not what I expected when I signed for York City but it is still great to be a full-time professional and I am still very fond of this football club."

Merris also admitted that the contract offer means he can now fully enjoy the three awards he was presented with before the final game of the season even if the Billy Fenton Clubman of the Year trophy does not fit on his mantlepiece.

"It is great to be recognised by the supporters and the newspaper," he said.

It is two of the senior players on City's released list, however, that would have received Merris' Player of the Year nomination.

He said: "I think it was a close call between Kevin Donovan and Paul Groves. Kevin was so consistent after coming back from injury and I think he was probably our best player in terms of ability and work-rate.

"Paul was also fantastic when he moved back to centre half and didn't put a foot wrong. He's a model professional and the way he took stuff on the chin and got on with his football when he was getting criticised by some people was impressive because a lot of people would have buckled under."

Merris has been played as a left back, left-wing back, left-sided midfielder and a left-winger throughout the season but believes his future still lies in the position he first filled for the Minstermen and is hoping to forge a strong partnership down the flank with Bryan Stewart next season, saying: "I probably prefer full back because I can still get an opportunity to go forward from there.

"I've enjoyed playing with Bryan in front of me. He's given us a bit of flair and you know you can give him the ball and he will go past people. Equally, he will come back and defend as well."

Merris is now enjoying a fortnight break before the Minstermen are due to report back on May 11 for three days a week of training sessions.

The players will then have June as a holiday and return for pre-season in July.

Updated: 10:33 Tuesday, May 03, 2005