ELITE-BOUND Richard Cresswell broke free from his million-pound status to boost York City's survival fight.

FAST MOVER: Richard Cresswell in training with the England Under 21 squad who play Poland at Southampton tonight

The 19-goal marksman realised his childhood dream of playing in the top-flight when he left City to join Premiership outfit Sheffield Wednesday in a deal set to rise to £1.5million.

After a whirlwind few hours the lucrative move was sealed with just 15 minutes to go before yesterday's transfer deadline ending in the 21-year-old signing a four-year deal with the Owls.

But he was convinced former club City would cling on to Division Two status. Speaking exclusively to the Evening Press he said: "I wish all the lads at York all the best. I am sure Neil Thompson will pull them around and I am confident they will get out of trouble. They have enough quality players."

As he pondered his long-term future amid the stars of the Premiership and whether he would get a second cap for England Under-21s against Poland tonight Cresswell was still bowled over by his elevation to the big-time.

Enthused the Bridlington-born striker: "It's all happened so fast. I'm still trying to get my head around it.

"It's always been what I dreamed about as a kid - playing in the highest division. The Premiership is recognised as one of the strongest, if not the strongest in the world, and I am in it. I've got the chance to show what I can do at the highest level and I am looking forward to it so much.

"It's brilliant, absolutely brilliant."

Rather than spearhead City's fight for Division Two survival Cresswell is now contemplating a Premiership debut alongside Italian supernova Benito Carbone in the Owls' attack against Coventry City in just over a week's time. Ironically, Coventry were one of the first Premier clubs to note the stirring progress made by the City tyro.

"The manager Danny Wilson said I have got a good chance of featuring in the game. I can hardly wait to get started. The whole thing has just snowballed."

His only regret was that he was unable to break the news to his parents George and Denise as they were currently holidaying on a Caribbean cruise. But he believed his mum would be especially pleased as she is a Sheffield Wednesday fan.

Cresswell also paid tribute to York City, who had set him on his way with a solid footballing foundation. His biggest wish outside his burgeoning top-flight career now was for the Minstermen to escape the relegation axe.

"I've been at York since I was 14 and the club have been everything to me. This move is no disrespect to York, it's just that I have always wanted to play at a much bigger club and as high as possible,' said Cresswell.

"As a club however York have been absolutely superb with me, especially the former manager Alan Little. He always stuck by me and showed me a lot of faith. I owe him a lot."

Cresswell, who a year ago was the target of a small knot of snipers at Bootham Crescent, also thanked the 'tremendous support' he attracted from the bulk of City's faithful.

"They have been very good to me this season, top-class. I wish them all success."

THE Cresswell move is the latest in deals over the last five years, which could go on to raise almost £5million for the Minstermen.

Most of the cash has been generated by bringing players through the ranks at Bootham Crescent.

Of the five top transfers, only Paul Barnes cost a fee - £50,000 from Stoke City in July 1992.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.