YORK City manager Billy McEwan intends to take no more risks after signing Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Paddy Gamble.

The Minstermen did not name a goalkeeper on the bench at Exeter on Saturday after Sheffield Wednesday stopper Richard O'Donnell, who has been on work experience at KitKat Crescent, was recalled to cover injuries at Hillsborough.

McEwan did not want to take that measure for a second time during tonight's crucial home match with play-off hopefuls Stevenage Borough (7.45pm) and has moved swiftly to secure the loan services of Gamble, who has previously represented England Under-16s and U17s.

Supporters' group York Minstermen have contributed £400 towards the 18-year-old 'keeper's wages and McEwan said: "You might be able to get away with it for one game but I can't take the risk of not having a goalkeeper on the bench again. We've had good reports on Paddy Gamble and he's come from a club that also has a winning environment and, like us, are a big club doing well in their division."

McEwan added that Gamble will also provide competition for first-choice Tom Evans, who the City manager believes could end the season as his best signing of the season.

Evans, 30, has only failed to start one match through suspension since his arrival from Scunthorpe in the summer and McEwan said: "Tom made a couple of good saves at Exeter on Saturday and did well for us. He's kept us in a number of games this season when we have looked to be out of them and he might have dropped the odd clanger by his standards but there's not been many.

"All the boys we have brought in have done ever so well but I take my hat off to Tom. He could prove to be my best signing of the season although there's still a long way to go."

Anthony Lloyd returned to training yesterday after an ankle problem although McEwan could start on-loan pair Ben Purkiss and Craig James in the full-back positions against Stevenage.

Gainsborough Trinity right-back Purkiss impressed as a first-half substitute at Exeter following the dismissal of Ross Greenwood, who will be suspended tonight along with Nathan Peat.

Darren Craddock is also ruled out until the end of the season with a fractured jaw but McEwan has faith in semi-professional Purkiss if he is required to make his full Conference debut.

The City boss said: "He was at Sheffield United as a kid so he's been at a professional club and knows what it's all about. He's grateful to get a second chance and, when he finishes his legal studies this summer, I will know where to go for a lawyer."

McEwan has also told his players to expect a different challenge from the Stevenage team his side beat convincingly in the away fixture at the start of the season.

He said: "The manager had not stamped his authority on the club then but he has now. Hopefully, their minds are on their FA Trophy final at Wembley and not us but I said three months ago they would be the division's dark horses and that's happened.

"They've lost their last two games but, prior to that, they were on a good run."

The Minstermen, meanwhile, are still unbeaten after six games in March following a 2-1 defeat at leaders Dagenham and McEwan feels that his team now need to maintain that form in the final seven games of the regulation season.

He said: "There are nine teams involved in the boiling pot now and anything can still happen. We've lost one game in seven. That's good and, if we can match that now, we will be in a good position come April 28."


City (probable): Evans, Purkiss, Kovacs, McGurk, James, Convery, Bishop, Panther, Bowey, Farrell, Donaldson. Subs: Brodie, McMahon, Woolford, Parslow, Gamble.

Stevenage (probable): Julian, Nutter, Henry, Oliver, Fuller, Nurse, Beard, McMahon, Guppy, Morison, Hakim. Subs: Batt, Gaia, Potter, Lewis, Dobson.

Referee: Michael Oliver (Ashington).

kick-off: 7.45pm