ON-LOAN defender Lee Grant would like to prolong his temporary stay at York City.

Aston Villa have agreed to let the Minstermen use Grant until January 4, but the 18-year-old centre back is hoping that agreement can be extended by a third month at least.

City caretaker boss Viv Busby would welcome having Grant's continued services but the 6ft 2in tall defender is not yet ready to talk about a permanent transfer as he is still contracted to the Premiership club until the summer of 2006.

Grant said: "I'm hoping the idea is that I will stay longer than January but that depends on how I do and if Aston Villa are all right with that because they are still paying my wages. I was originally going to be here for three months but Villa made it two.

"They have not said anything about my future but I asked if I could go out and get some first-team experience and they agreed it would be good for me.

"I have got another year left at Villa after this season so it's a bit early to be talking about permanent transfers at the moment.

"The football's been different to what I've been used to playing and there's not as much passing involved but I just want to keep enjoying it and I think I can deal with the physical side."

Grant also believes the side could be benefiting from the current camaraderie between the members of the back line.

Full-backs Michael Staley and Sean Davies, as well as goalkeeper David Stockdale, are all former Minstermen youth-team mates of Grant during his first spell at City as a schoolboy.

Alongside former manager Chris Brass, the teenage quartet have conceded just two goals in City's last two outings after the team had shipped ten in the previous four games.

Grant said: "I used to play with Sean and Michael so it's nice to be playing with friends again. When I was in York's junior team I knew one or two would play in the first team, particularly Bryan Stewart.

"I think a few clubs were looking at him as well because he's got a lot of skill and is quick. I'm looking forward to playing with him again when he's fit."

Busby's Babes might have come of age during Saturday's 2-1 defeat of high-flying Carlisle but Grant also values experience and has enjoyed playing alongside the man who brought him back to Bootham Crescent as well as a former England international at Villa Park.

He said: "It's been good playing with Chris Brass. He's helped me a lot because he's such a good organiser.

"It was the same when I played alongside Dion Dublin for Villa reserves. That was also a good experience and you learn a lot from their communication."

Next Friday is the closing date for anybody wanting to attend this year's York City Supporters' Trust Christmas Dinner/Dance.

The party will be held in York Racecourse's Dante Suite from 7.15pm on Wednesday, December 15 and all first-team players will be present.

Tickets cost £29.50 and payment should be sent to Kirsten Gillies, c/o York City Christmas Dinner, York City Football Club, Bootham Crescent, York, YO30 7AQ.

For more information, you can also call Kirsten on 07903 710529.

Updated: 10:40 Wednesday, December 01, 2004