DAVID McGurk has been called back to Darlington after the end of his one-month loan spell with York City.

The 22-year-old defender is required for tonight's League Two clash at Notts County and is expected to either start the match or be named as a substitute.

City boss Chris Brass has said that there is a chance McGurk could return to the Minstermen ranks in time for Saturday's trip to table-topping Barnet.

But that is unlikely because any return to Bootham Crescent would not now be considered as an extension of the loan and, therefore, Darlington would lose their right to a 24-hour recall.

Brass said: "We were hoping to extend David's stay and David Hodgson was considering whether to give him clearance to play in the FA Cup before we reached an agreement. Something has changed since then and Darlington have said they need him tonight but there is still a chance he might come back here for Saturday's game."

McGurk's unavailability would deplete City's squad even further with skipper Steve Davis, Kevin Donovan and Graeme Law already sidelined and Lee Nogan extremely doubtful for Saturday's clash.

Striker Andy Bishop is also yet to train this week after a calf injury kept him out of the 0-0 draw against Canvey Island at the weekend.

Brass is also hoping that a viral bug does not completely decimate his squad, having already claimed the player-manager, Gary Pearson, Law and reserve keeper Chris Porter.

City's boss has been left ruing his side's fitness problems ahead of a fortnight in which the Minstermen will travel to the Conference's top two teams.

Saturday's trip to Barnet will be followed the FA Cup fourth qualifying round visit to Carlisle United seven days later and Brass said: "The next two weeks will be a good test to see how far we have come. It's just unfortunate that we have got a few injuries at the moment, as well as a bug doing the rounds.

"Lee Nogan is very sore and tender. He's a bit better than at the weekend and it appears to be a muscular problem rather than damage to his ribs but he's extremely doubtful for Saturday.

"We are hoping Andy Bishop will be OK but he hasn't trained yet and we won't know until the end of the week."

Updated: 10:42 Tuesday, October 19, 2004