York City chief Terry Dolan has not ruled out making goalkeeper Phil Whitehead's short-term Bootham Crescent stint permanent.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Press, Dolan was forced to make a dramatic late swoop to land the experienced shot-stopper in time for last night's game at Carlisle United.

City had to secure special dispensation from the Football League to sign Whitehead on a seven-day loan from Reading after on-loan Sunderland goalkeeper Michael Ingham picked up a shoulder injury

Whitehead proved his worth at Brunton Park as City secured a 1-1 draw to move up one place in the Division Three table to sixth and consolidate their play-off position.

Dolan was full of praise for his stop-gap acquisition, who has more than 400 League appearances to his credit after spells at Halifax, Barnsley, Oxford, West Brom and Reading.

"I am thankful to Alan Pardew (the Reading manager) for letting us have Phil Whitehead because I thought when he was called into action he did brilliantly and he made a couple of very important saves in the second-half," enthused the City manager.

On the chances of keeping Halifax-born Whitehead beyond the next seven days, Dolan said: "His contract is up at the end of the season and I think he has made it fairly clear he would like to move back up north.

"It gives us an opportunity to look at Phil, even if it is only for two or three days.

"It also gives him an opportunity to meet the players and see what York City is all about. If tonight is anything to go by, then you never know what can happen."

However, Dolan has clearly not given up hope on Ingham shaking off the shoulder injury before Saturday's trip to Lincoln.

"Whether he will be fit for Saturday or Monday we will just have to wait and see," said the City chief.

"But at least we have got Phil for the next seven days."

Dolan was able to reveal more about his 11th-hour move to land Whitehead.

He said: "I knew that he was looking to move away from Reading and I knew he was not in the team nor on the bench at Reading.

"We didn't find out the extent of Michael's injury until Monday morning so we had to move very quickly

"I didn't want to make it public at that stage because we didn't know what the situation was. Everything had to be done very quickly and with no other goalkeeper the League allowed us to take Phil for seven days at this moment in time."

While delighted with the addition of Whitehead to his squad, Dolan admitted he will also be pleased to have striker and top scorer Jon Parkin available for Saturday's trip to Lincoln after completing a two-match ban.

"I think we have missed Jon because he gives us that alternative," conceded Dolan.

"He is back for Saturday and that will give us another option. It is nice now to have Lee Nogan, Keith Graydon, Anthony Shandran and Jon Parkin available for the remaining four games."

Updated: 11:13 Wednesday, April 16, 2003