ON-LOAN teenage striker Josh O’Hanlon is relishing his unexpected opportunity to prove himself at Football League level with York City.

O’Hanlon made his professional debut for City during Saturday’s 4-1 victory at Mansfield, having failed to make the break through with parent club Bournemouth since his arrival at Dean Court in January 2014.

The 19-year-old Irishman joined the south-coast outfit from League of Ireland side Longford Town and netted seven times during 12 outings on loan for Southern League leaders Poole Town earlier this term.

Poole operate three rungs below the Minstermen but O’Hanlon is keen to make his mark at a more rarefied echelon.

He said: “The loan I had in October at Poole was good for me. I got a few games and it was then a case of looking to make that next step up.

“I wasn’t expecting that to be in League Two. I thought it might be in the Conference or Conference South but I’m obviously delighted to make such a big step up.

“I got a text the day before last week’s transfer deadline telling me I was going to York. It was a bit of a shock but I just had to pack a bag and hop on the train.

“It’s a good move and I’m happy to go wherever, as long as it’s a step forward.

“It’s interesting when you are fighting to stay up and I think we have a good enough squad to do that.

“I want the team to win as many games as they can while I’m here and, personally, I want to try to get in the team as much as I can and put in good performances each time I come on.”

O’Hanlon believes his past experiences of senior football at Longford, Poole and Oxford City also represented ideal preparation for his 73rd-minute cameo at Field Mill.

“I think playing senior football is where I’m at my best,” he reasoned. “It suits me better than the Under- 21s and is the best thing for me.

“I’ve been around that a few years now but I’m always happy to play senior football. I know it’s going to be physical and the tempo is going to be quick.

“I’m also feeding off the lads’ experience, which always helps you.”

City’s new forward made an eye-catching start to his career at Mansfield, almost scoring before going on to tee up fellow youngster Shaq Coulthirst for his second goal of the game.

On his contribution, O’Hanlon added: “I was looking forward to making my Football League debut and it’s another step for me. I was delighted with the overall performance and I wasn’t nervous.

“This level is one I feel I am capable of playing at and, hopefully, there will be many more chances to come.”

O’Hanlon also admitted the quality of his new team-mates’ performance caught him by sur - prise, considering the club’s lowly position in the Sky Bet League Two standings.

“It was different to what I expected,” he confessed. “The lads showed great character having gone down to ten men early on and, especially after losing your goalkeeper, it’s never going to be an easy game from thereon in.

“But we stuck together, put in a solid performance and kept adding goals.”

O’Hanlon does not mind missing out on a potential Premier League promotion party at his parent club either to help City in their fight to stave off the threat of a return to the Conference.

“I have to think of myself and what’s best for me,” he explained.

“I’m delighted for the lads at Bournemouth but I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere near the team there, so it’s important for me to get out and get experience.

“Hopefully, that will help me kick on and, wherever Bournemouth maybe next season, I will have got enough experience and maybe, who knows, get a chance there. I’m hoping this will be another stepping stone to get where I want to be.”

The Dublin-born attacker revealed, meanwhile, that fellow on-loan Cherry Stephane Zubar recommended him to City chief Russ Wilcox, saying: “Stephane put in a good word for me which is always nice.

“I know him well and we trained together back at Bournemouth. It’s good to know somebody because you’re not just coming into a strange environment, although the rest of the lads have been great too.”

Having previously gone on trial with three-time European champions Manchester United, new surroundings generally don’t fase O’Hanlon, who added: “I had a few trials before I went to Bournemouth and that was one that came about too.

“I was there for a week and it was good experience even if it was a bit surreal training with some of the big names in their U21 side.”