SIMON Heslop could feature in York City’s National League North clash at Telford after being welcomed back into the first-team fold at Bootham Crescent.

Former captain Heslop has not played for the Minstermen since the 3-2 home defeat against Tamworth at the end of October, having been farmed out for a month on loan to National League Eastleigh after manager Martin Gray revealed that the ex-Luton and Wrexham midfielder had told him he no longer wanted to play for the club.

But Heslop played the first 45 minutes of the 2-1 midweek reserve defeat at Grimsby and, despite being ruled out of this afternoon’s 2-1 home victory over Bradford Park Avenue due to injury, he might have recovered in time for Tuesday’s trip to Telford.

On a possible recall for Heslop, City sporting director Dave Penney said: “He had a bit of a groin and hamstring problem, so he wasn’t available against Bradford but, hopefully, he’ll be back in training on Monday and, then, it’s the manager’s decision whether he’ll be involved on Tuesday night. We’re a bit light on bodies with Sean McAllister and Alex Pattison going back to their clubs, so he would be a fresh pair of legs and I’ll repeat what I’ve said before – Simon Heslop is more than good enough to play at National League North level.

“He had his head turned by a club from a higher division and, quite rightly, he wanted to play in a higher division, as most players would if you asked them. That didn’t happen.

“He then did very well at Eastleigh and they wanted to keep him, but he’s here for the next 18 months and wants to play football. I think he could make our squad and team stronger and, if he gets involved, then performances on the pitch will dictate whether he stays in the side.

“He’s a great kid. There’s no airs and graces with him and he just wants to do well for himself and for whoever he’s playing football for.” Penney also revealed that the Minstermen have not given up hope on bringing on-loan Middlesbrough midfielder Pattison back to Bootham Crescent, following the end of his one-month loan stay in North Yorkshire prior to the Bradford clash.

But any return is unlikely to occur until after the January transfer window closes and would probably be dependent on whether he attracts a higher-league suitor in the meantime.

Non-League clubs are not subjected to the same restrictions as their Football League counterparts and Penney added: “We’d love him to come back, because we thought he was excellent and it’s still a possibility.

“We’re two weeks into the transfer window and nobody from a higher level has taken him yet. The player wants to come back and he wanted to play against Bradford.

“He obviously wants to play at as high a level as possible, but he enjoys it here working with Martin. I think Middlesbrough want him to go to somebody a bit higher though and are looking for other clubs to take him.

“Tony Pulis wants to look at him in a game, which he will do when their under-23 team play tomorrow. But Martin will be going to the match as well to try and have a word with them about Alex.

“It might be more likely it would happen in February, if we are to get him back, but we’ll keep asking the question.”

City beat Bradford thanks to a goal in each half from Jon Parkin and sub Amari Morgan-Smith, who replaced midfield anchorman Daniel Rowe early in the second half, as the hosts switched to a more orthodox 4-4-2 system, rather than the 4-1-3-2 diamond formation, with Penney reasoning that the team might need to adopt a more direct approach in the sixth tier of the English game.

Summarising the team’s performance, the ex-Doncaster boss declared: “We were good at times, but I thought we could have been better at other times.

“We changed shape a bit and went 4-4-2, which seemed to suit us a bit more and perhaps that’s the way forward, because we got Aidy (Connolly) in wide areas and Amari also stretched them when he came on. We also need to do the basics better in terms of turning teams.

“We did it for the first goal when Hamza put his foot through the ball and there’s more than one way to skin a cat and win a game of football so, whilst everybody wants to play the Barcelona way, we are where we are and we have to play the game at this level.”

Raul Correia made his full debut after his loan move from Blackpool until the end of the season and, on the Portuguese forward’s first outing in a City shirt, Penney pointed out: “We need to get him up to speed with what we are about and how we want to play, but he was a decent foil for Jon and he posed some problems going forward.

“Playing him also gave Amari a breather, which he seemed to benefit from because he did very well when he came on. We had Gary Martin here before and I think it’s better when you have four strikers at a club, because you can play two and have two on the bench to give the manager options.”

Bootham Crescent old boy Adam Boyes, meanwhile, grabbed Bradford’s consolation in stoppage time, but Penney argued that his effort should have been disallowed.

“Conceding the goal was the only disappointment, but I thought it was a foul,” Penney stressed. “Hamza was looking to play the ball out and their player clipped him and, then, they got in.”