YORK City boss Gary Mills looks ready to hand over the captain’s armband to Sean Newton on a permanent basis.

Newton, 28, filled in as skipper last weekend and guided the team to their first win in 19 matches – a 3-1 FA Trophy triumph over Wrexham.

The ex-England C international previously carried out the same responsibility under Mills at former club Wrexham.

Heslop missed the game to be with his pregnant wife in hospital but, while the couple are still waiting for the birth of their baby, the 29-year-old midfielder is expected to be available for Saturday’s National League home clash with Torquay.

If both players are selected, it will leave Mills with a decision to make in terms of who leads the team out, but he also hinted that York-born Heslop might benefit if he is relieved of the duty.

“I’ve not hidden from the fact that I see Sean, with his personality, as more of a leader than Simon,” the City chief pointed out. “Newts set the tone after winning a couple of headers in the middle of the park for us during the first 30 seconds against Worcester and he’s not afraid to voice his opinion in the dressing room if he feels players aren’t doing their jobs.

“Simon’s a bit quieter and, sometimes, people don’t realise the responsibility it puts on players and that they might feel they have to do certain things to justify being captain, when sometimes they maybe don’t. It’s not a major issue but, going into the Christmas and New Year period, this is an important stage for York City Football Club and I need the right man to lead us through it, because it’s a big job.

“If we do something, though, it will be in-house first and carried out in the right way.”

Mills added that he will not shy away from making changes to his team despite the Worcester win, which could mean Heslop receiving a recall for bottom-of-the-table City at right-wing back.

“The team played well and I was pleased with the performance for 60 minutes, but you’re always thinking can we make things better,” Mills reasoned.

Scans have revealed that Simon Lappin has a small tear in his calf, so he remains on the sidelines with Danny Galbraith (heel), Lanre Oyebanjo (knee) and Clovis Kamdjo (cruciate).

Mills, meanwhile, has set his team a target of finishing the campaign top of a mini league consisting of the division’s bottom eight teams – a position where Saturday’s visitors currently sit.

“We’re looking at the bottom eight now and we want to get out of the relegation zone as soon as possible and finish 17th if we can,” Mills pointed out. “We’ve got to start that with a win against Torquay.

“They’ve picked up a few results to put a bit of distance between ourselves and them. They had Kieffer Moore on loan and he scored some important goals for them, but he’s gone back to Forest Green now.

“They’ve been down there the last couple of seasons, so they know what it’s all about and, with the double-header coming up afterwards against North Ferriby, I don’t know whether the next three games are any bigger than any others, but we’ve had nowhere near enough wins and we’ve got to turn that ratio around completely.”

With Moore having been recalled by Forest Green, Mills also admitted that the same club, as well as the players themselves, will dictate whether on-loan pair Rhys Murphy and Aarran Racine stay at Bootham Crescent beyond the January 7 trip to Dover – the final scheduled fixture of their current one-month terms.

“Both players and Forest Green wanted them to come in for a month to see what we are about and whether we are good enough to get out of the situation and I understand that because we are bottom of the league,” Mills said. “I want to keep them both until the end of the season and move forward with the same players, rather than being in a situation where I’m chasing more players in January, although more will be available then.

“If Forest Green want them back, then we can’t do anything about that.”

Having seen his players reverse a deep-seated trend of conceding vital late goals with Murphy’s 87th-minute penalty against Worcester, Mills wants that habit to stick too.

“After Tranmere, I said we’re going to be the side scoring goals in the last five minutes from now on and we’ve got to be the team that hurts the opposition during that time,” he insisted.