FORMER skipper Simon Heslop looks to have played his final game for York City after asking for a move from his home-town club.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who was stripped of the club captaincy by former boss Gary Mills in the summer, was left out of Martin Gray’s squad for today’s 2-1 National League North home triumph against Curzon Ashton.

It was only the second match ex-Huntington School pupil Heslop has failed to start this term – the only other occasion was due to suspension – with Gray outlining the reasons for his absence in forthright fashion.

“He doesn’t want to play for the club anymore, so he can go,” the City chief smarted. “We’ve had somebody from a higher level come in for him, but this is York City and, if he doesn’t want to play for the club, he won’t get in my team.”

With Heslop watching from the stands, Gray was happy to end a run of three games without a win, meanwhile, in front of City’s home fans.

First-half goals from Jon Parkin and Dan Parslow put the Minstermen in the ascendancy and, although Joe Guest replied on 56 minutes, the home side claimed maximum points with few further scares.

Summing up the display, Gray added: “We had to give the crowd something to enjoy and I thought we started really well. We should have been 3-0 up at half-time.

“Jon Parkin had a great chance to get another goal and that would have killed the game off. We then conceded a very soft goal, because we know their player – Guest - can get his shots off.

“You’ve got to stop that, even when he cuts inside on his weaker foot, but nobody showed the desire to make him pass rather than shoot and the ball flew in the top corner. I’m delighted for the crowd, though, that we got the win, because we haven’t been good enough during the last two games.”

Gray was also pleased with striker Gary Martin’s debut and the “scally” qualities that saw him last a full 90 minutes following his switch from Belgian outfit Lokeren.

The 27-year-old forward teed up Parkin’s goal and Gray said: “He has great quality and experience and has played at a very, very high level in Belgium’s equivalent of the Championship.

“Apart from not getting a goal, his performance was very strong. He had lots of energy and, although he’s been training with a few niggles, I know his background and he’s a bit of a scally, so he’s got that toughness to get through that.”

The City boss went on to praise Daniel Rowe for his performance in a midfield anchorman role on his full debut after arriving from Wycombe.

Extolling Rowe’s utility-man value, Gray pointed out: “I thought Daniel Rowe was outstanding for somebody who had only started one game since pre-season.

“His decision-making was very good at the bottom of the diamond. He’s played there before, as well as at right back and centre half and versatility is a good thing.

“You need certain players who can switch positions. His heading and calmness on the ball was very good and he allowed Adriano Moke to get into more advanced positions, where I thought his decision making was also very good.”

Moke had to make way for Theo Wharton on 69 minutes after a knock, but Gray is not expecting any lasting damage, explaining: “He got a kick following a misplaced pass, but he will be fine.”

October’s Press Player of the Month Aidan Connolly had earlier been the first home player to be replaced, with Gray hoping he can now raise his endurance levels in coming weeks.

“The little fella has not had enough football over the last four or five months and we’re still trying to get him up to speed,” Gray reasoned. “He did well for 50 minutes, but we’d just like to get 75 or 80 minutes out of him.

“Having said that, I thought our overall fitness levels were outstanding. Four weeks ago, we would have really struggled in that game, but the subs also came on and made a big difference.”

Louis Almond played no part in the match and will undergo a scan next week on a suspected dislocated shoulder injury.