WING wonder Jon McCarthy was poised to re-join York City today by signing on non-contract terms.

The 32-year-old fan favourite was expected to put pen to paper on a short-term deal and is expected to be in the squad for Saturday's visit of Leyton Orient to Bootham Crescent.

McCarthy has been training with City for the last couple of weeks, trying to prove his fitness to manager Terry Dolan.

He has played in a couple of reserve team games, at Hull City last week and Sheffield United on Monday when he scored in a 4-2 defeat.

Significantly, by signing McCarthy now City have ensured the Northern Ireland international will be eligible to play in the Minstermen's first round FA Cup clash with Swansea on November 16.

Seven days notice is needed for any new signing to be cleared to play in the cup and with Dolan already contemplating the loss of four players - Chris Brass and Jon Parkin, both suspended, and Lee Cook and Michael Reddy, both cup-tied - for the visit of the Swans the signing of McCarthy will be a welcome fillip.

McCarthy's Bootham Crescent return is also sure to prove popular with City fans too.

Capped by Northern Ireland 19 times and a player in the Worthington Cup final just 18 months ago when with Birmingham City, McCarthy was one of the key factors in York's success at the beginning of the 1990s.

Twice voted clubman of the year by supporters, his electrifying wing-displays helped City win promotion at Wembley in 1993 before a shock £450,000 move to Port Vale in 1995.

Meanwhile, the City youth team's FA Youth Cup dream is over for another season after the youngsters lost 2-0 to Tranmere Rovers last night in a second round tie.

City, with five under-16 players named in the squad, were underdogs going into the Prenton Park tie against a Rovers' side unbeaten in the league this season.

For a time, City looked capable of pulling off a shock win as they held their own against the hosts.

But two Tranmere goals in the last 30 minutes of the game, scored by Chris Dagnall and Gary Pinch, finally ended City hopes of progressing to the third round.

Updated: 12:16 Thursday, November 07, 2002