RELEASED Rushden & Diamonds striker Chris Beardsley has become York City manager Billy McEwan's third summer signing.

Beardsley joins fellow new boys Onome Sodje and Mark Robinson at KitKat Crescent as McEwan continues his recruitment drive following the release of eight players at the end of last season and the departures of Clayton Donaldson and Neal Bishop to Hibernian and Barnet respectively.

The 23-year-old attacker joined Rushden in January and scored in two of his first three games to help secure victories over Cambridge United and Oxford but then failed to find the net again in any of his subsequent ten outings for the Nene Park outfit.

Derby-born Beardsley joined Rushden after a second spell at Mansfield where he started his professional career.

The 6ft striker has also played for Doncaster and Kidderminster and has managed nine goals in 88 games during his five-year career although more than half of his appearances have been as a substitute.

Now McEwan has challenged Beardsley to stake his claim for a regular starting place with the Minstermen, saying: "He's got to try and bed down a position and he's the right age for us.

"He's a young player with ability who can develop and improve and will give us a bit more competition for places. I did not come into contact with him when I was at Derby but we've had good reviews on him from managers and coaches that I know and trust who have worked with him."

Beardsley will join Press Player of the Year Craig Farrell, Sodje and Richard Brodie in the fight for first-team forward places next season.

And McEwan has compared the arrival of Ebbsfleet United striker Sodje to that of last season's 26-goal top scorer Donaldson from Hull City two years ago.

He said: "He's a young player with potential. Clayton was raw material when he came here and this young boy is the same.

"He's got pace, an eye for goal and I'm looking forward to working with him. He's only 19 next month though and still very young."

McEwan also welcomed the arrival of Torquay United's Guisborough-born left-back Robinson, who first contacted the City manager in January about the possibility of a move to KitKat Crescent "We could not take him then because we were full up," McEwan explained. "But he's an experienced player with a lot of games under his belt and I'm happy he wants to come and play for York. He will give us balance on the left side of the pitch."

Elsewhere, former Scarborough boss Neil Redfearn has been named Northwich's new manager, following the departure of Steve Burr last month.

Ex-Seadogs striker Tristram Whitman has also joined Blue Square Premier new boys Farsley Celtic while Halifax Town have signed former Minsterman Steve Bushell back from Altrincham but lost defender Steve Haslam to Bury.