Michael Ingham is determined to underline his worth to York City this season, as he tells DAVE FLETT

MICHAEL Ingham is determined to give Bootham Crescent a fitting farewell and still be around when a new chapter begins in York City’s history at Monks Cross.

Following the departure of Dan Parslow, the 35-year-old goalkeeper is City’s longest-serving player and the only surviving member of the 2012 double Wembley-winning squad.

Ingham is currently preparing for his eighth consecutive campaign as a Minsterman, having also spent a loan spell with the club from Sunderland in 2003.

In that time, he has lived through the long-running saga of the Community Stadium project and, because his new 12-month deal lapses before the intended relocation during 2016/17, Ingham is out to underline his worth to the club during the coming campaign.

He said: “If I can do well this season, I would like to get another year and see in the new stadium.

It would be nice to have a player who has played a lot of games at Bootham Crescent and, hopefully, I can go on and play one or two matches at the new one.

“People might be assuming, after signing my contract, that this will be my last year in football but I’ve got my eyes on three or four more years before, hopefully, getting into the coaching side of things. It’s not getting any easier having just turned 35 and the lads have been giving me stick because, under the old FA rules, you can draw a pen - sion at my age.

“Pre-season has been tough but it’s all about managing myself and knowing what my body can and can’t do, while keeping an eye on my diet, which I’ve done throughout my career so that’s not a prob - lem. In the past, I’ve only picked up superficial injuries really, like muscle tears in training so, if I can steer clear of bad ones, then I feel I can definitely carry on until my late thirties.”

Having displaced Jason Mooney and Bobby Olejnik as first choice between the sticks at separate stages of last season, Ingham is also targeting another keen contest with new singing Scott Flinders for the City gloves.

He added: “It looks like I will probably start the season as number two but that was the case last season too and I got in. It’s up to Scott to keep the shirt. Last season, I played a lot more than I thought I would and I’ve just got to be ready if that call comes.”

Ingham went on to stress that he will be content if his presence in the wings gets the best out of ex- Hartlepool shot-stopper Flinders, pointing out: “At Hereford, the season before I came back to York, we got promoted when I was number two and the goalkeeper Wayne Brown got Player of the Year, so I believe I did my job because I pushed him all the way.

“Sometimes, life as a number two can be hard, especially at this club where we don’t have a reserve team, but that’s when you draw on your experience like I did at the end of last season. It was very, very tough for me to come in for big games having not played any competitive football but I just tried to do the basics right.”

Despite an offer from former team-mate and new Oldham boss Darren Kelly to join him at Bound - ary Park in a player/goalkeeping coach at the Sky Bet League One club, new father Ingham went on to stress that he never intended to leave the club he has represented 326 times.

“My baby daughter Indie was born and then the gaffer was on holiday, so it was all down to timing,” Ingham explained about the delay in agreeing new terms.

“There were also a few complications following the birth, so dealing with those was my priority.

“But, once everything settled down, I had a chat with the gaffer and we got everything ironed out.

I had a few offers elsewhere but I wanted to stay here because I think this will be the club that I look back at as mine when I do retire.

“I was in contact with Daz over the summer and will continue to keep in contact with him because I hope he does well. He understood my decision because he knows how much this club means to me but told me there will always be a job there for me if he’s successful.

“It’s nice to know that I have something to fall back on if things don’t go right here but York City were always going to be my first choice. I also can’t wait for Indie to come along one day and watch me play for the club.”

Having kept three clean sheets during his seven-game stint towards the end of last season, meanwhile, Ingham moved to within four shut-outs of the all-time club record of 120, held by 1955 FA Cup semi-final hero Tommy Forgan.

While pressing a claim that gap should be a little narrower, Ingham admitted Forgan’s target remains firmly in his sights.

“People say I’m on 116 but I put myself on 117,” Ingham smiled.

“If a striker comes off the bench and scores it counts towards his goal stats and I came on against Cambridge for a half and came off at half-time at Newport without conceding in both games last season so, if you put them together, that’s another one.

“Seriously, it would be fantastic to walk away with that record and the players are starting to mention it but I’ll have to get in the side first. It would even be nice to share it with Tommy because he’s an absolute legend.

“For now, though, I’m just happy with what I have done over the years for York and, hopefully, that can continue for a bit longer.”

The ex-Sunderland reserve is also looking forward to combining his first-team duties with the mentoring role he began last season overseeing the club’s budding academy keepers.

“I believe I can do the dual role and I absolutely love working with the academy kids,” Ingham enthused. “We’ve got a good bunch.

“Andy McMillan wants me to concentrate on the older lads and help them prepare for youth-team football. It’s all about getting them up to pace with what is expected from professional footballers and the tempo of training.

“Big Ryan Whitley is doing well but we’ve also got other young keepers who are making good progress. There’s Harry Flatters in the under-13s who has as good a chance, if not better, than Ryan of coming through. Aaron Burns is also pushing him at that age group and it’s exciting to see young kids getting better as the weeks go by.”

Having worked with Leaning during the Minstermen’s 2010/11 campaign, Ingham has also welcomed he return of the ex-Leeds and Sheffield United goalkeeping coach to Bootham Crescent after the club parted company with Andy Collett.

He said: “Andy’s got a lot of experience and he’s good on the mental side of things. Without meaning any disrespect to Andy (Collett) or anybody else who’s been here before, when you’ve been at the club for as long as I’ve been, it’s good to have fresh ideas every year too. It keeps you on your toes and mentally sharp, so it’s nice to have him back. I’ve enjoyed working with Scott so far too.

“We’re getting on really well and we will continue to push hard to get the best out of each other."