YORK City striker Michael Rankine is to be made available for a loan move after returning to light training this week.

Rankine, 32, has not played or trained since mid-September when a high-blood pressure problem was diagnosed.

But the ex-Altrincham and Aldershot attacker has been given the green light to resume work by doctors, with City chief Martin Gray keen to get him on-pitch time at another National League North club, so he can return to Bootham Crescent ready to challenge for a first-team place in 2018.

“It’s good to have him back because he’s a lively, larger-than-life character,” Gray said of Rankine’s return to the Minstermen’s Wigginton Road training base. “Now, in the next week or two hopefully, he can go out on loan and get some games and, rather than reserve fixtures, it would be better if he can play for another team at this level.

“Then, come Christmas time or the New Year, he will come back and have a chance here.”

Long-throw specialist Sam Muggleton, meanwhile, has been told he is surplus to requirements after returning from a one-month loan spell at Boston, with Gray adding: “He’s available to go out on loan or for a permanent move.

“He’s got the opportunity to go to two or three clubs so, hopefully, something will come of that.”

Muggleton was one of four senior players to have tasted first-team duty this season during Wednesday’s 7-1 reserve defeat at Walsall.

The others were Luke Simpson, Jassem Sukar and Theo Wharton, with Gray declaring that none of the quartet pressed their claims sufficiently for a return to senior duty.

“Put simply, they didn’t do enough,” the City boss explained. “Only one or two people came out of the game with good feedback and that’s not exactly what you want as a manager.

“We had a very young squad against a League One side who had senior players out, but you still take defeats like that very badly. The players were representing the football club and are paid by the football club, so conversations have taken place.”

Gray has revealed that he will make changes for Saturday’s FA Trophy third qualifying round home clash against Coalville, but stressed that he is treating the opposition and tie as seriously as a league game, with the ultimate aim of repeating last season’s success in the Wembley final when Macclesfield were beaten 3-2.

The likes of David Ferguson, James Gray and Amari Morgan-Smith are all being lined up for recalls and Gray insisted: “There will certainly be changes, but they are ones designed to make sure we win the game and get out what I believe is the strongest side against the opposition we are playing.

“I want to go as far as we can in the competition and why wouldn’t you want to get to Wembley? It was a fantastic achievement last season and the one thing the club had to shout about.

“I’m sure everybody drove back from London proud to bring the trophy back. We have worked very hard on Coalville’s strengths and weaknesses as well as our mental approach and we have a game-plan that will, hopefully, come together.

“We need to come out of the blocks flying and put on a really strong performance. I’m expecting a very tough game and we’ll be treating them the same as if we were playing Salford, but I also know they have conceded 44 league goals and we have to make sure we go out and do a job.”

Gray has also challenged Louis Almond to come back and make an impact during the final weeks of the campaign, following the news that he will be out until March following shoulder surgery.

“It’s a blow to lose him because, the last couple of times he’s come off the bench, I’ve seen some good signs,” Gray said. “It’s also a tough one for him because he’s out of contract at the end of the season and he’s got a three month rehab programme now.

“But, hopefully, we can get him back quickly and he’ll be available for the last ten or 15 games, which will be a major part of the season.”

Gray went on to defend his statement last weekend that a 1-1 home draw with Kidderminster represented a “good point,” stressing that his first aim is to always take all three.

He reasoned: “I want to win every game and I’m a really positive person who would never go out to draw a game, but you have to give credit to the opposition sometimes and we’ve also got to make sure we don’t lose as many games as possible during the season. Our shape and discipline was fantastic against Kidderminster and we have taken seven points from the last nine.”