YORK City will be looking to sign up Dave Merris after the Harrogate Town full-back impressed in pre-season.

Merris has been on trial at Bootham Crescent along with Ian Lawson, Adam Reed and Damon Searle, and City player-boss Chris Brass has confirmed he will be talking to the player about a permanent switch.

Brass, whose first team travel to Pickering Town tonight (KO 7.30pm) for their final pre-season match before the season kicks off at Carlisle United on Saturday, will not be following up interest in Reed, who played in a friendly for Harrogate on Saturday, or Lawson, but has not ruled out making a move for Searle.

He said: "We will be speaking to Dave and Harrogate Town and see where we're at. We'll be looking at signing him."

Any move for Searle, who is in talks elsewhere, could depend on whether Merris joins the Minstermen, but Brass has said he will not be chasing up Reed or Lawson.

"It would have been unfair to use Adam Reed just as cover while Chris Smith gets back after injury," said Brass.

"Ian Lawson's fitness levels were down. He is someone we will be monitoring but he won't be coming back in the immediate future."

Brass, who was at Brunton Park on Saturday watching Carlisle draw 1-1 with Stockport County in a friendly, is to take a strong squad to Pickering tonight, though he is awaiting late fitness checks on both Aron Wilford and Darren Dunning before naming his line-up.

"It will be good to get fitness levels up and make sure we're ready for Saturday, which I'm sure we will be," said Brass, who added that Carlisle would prove good opening day opposition.

"It was good to see their shape. They look a decent outfit and it's put plenty in our minds. It will be a hard game but one we will be prepared for."

Meanwhile, Brass has confirmed City will be appealing against the red card issued to Jon Parkin during the 3-2 friendly defeat to Livingston last week. The striker was sent off for his part in a second half fracas.

Said the City chief: "We will see what the report says but hopefully common sense will prevail."

Former City defender Tom Cowan played for Scottish Premier League side Dundee in their 4-2 friendly win over City's Division Three rivals, Northampton Town, on Saturday. The Scot, a former Rangers player, who is on trial with the Dee, came on as substitute at Sixfields Stadium.

City's youth team lost 3-1 away to York and District League side Pocklington Town in a friendly on Saturday.

Updated: 11:17 Monday, August 04, 2003