UNIVERSITY graduate Raul Correia is determined to make the grade in professional football following his loan move from Blackpool to York City.

The 24-year-old striker made his City debut during Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Bradford Park Avenue, having only managed one appearance for the Tangarines – in the Football League Trophy – a year after his arrival from Evo-Stik League outfit Radcliffe Borough.

Before his move to Blackpool, Correia had been working at a bank, but has no intention of dropping back out of full-time football and is to prove his worth at Bootham Crescent.

“I came over from Portugal when I was nine and didn’t really decide to take football seriously until then,” he explained.

“But I didn’t have any trials with clubs or anything, because my parents wanted me to focus on my education, which is important, as you can’t really rely on football for a living and it’s always good to have something to fall back on.

“I diverted away from football and went to Sheffield Hallam University to get a degree in business finance management. Then, after uni, I thought let’s give it one last go and see what happens.

“I went into the semi-pro game at Radcliffe and worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland, which wasn’t easy balancing football and work, but you have to make sacrifices in life.

“I scored 11 goals in 22 games and, then, Blackpool came in for me and now I’m looking to work my way up again.

“Ideally, I want to carry on being a full-time professional and as high up as possible because, the higher up you go the better players you are playing with and that makes you better. I’m here until the end of the season and, then, we’ll see where that leads.”

Correia has no qualms about plying his trade in English football’s sixth tier, though, for the nest four months, having spent the first half of the campaign only a division higher at part-timers Guiseley, where his progress was hampered by an ankle injury that sidelined him for eight weeks.

Consequently, he only managed 11 outings and scored one goal, but he is enjoying teaming up with City’s sporting director Dave Penney again with the latter assistant manager during his early days at the Leeds club.

“Dave believes in players and, if you have that, you can take that confidence out on to the pitch,” Correia enthused.

On his first start for City, meanwhile, Correia insisted there was room for improvement.

“I personally think I could have done better holding up the ball and engaging with play,” he reasoned. “Maybe, I’m being critical of myself, but that’s the only way you get better and, hopefully, I can improve game by game.”

Having been recruited with City boss Martin Gray hoping to ease some of the goalscoring burden on leading marksman Jon Parkin, Correia is also keen to deliver on that front.

“When Dave spoke to me he said I would be playing alongside Jon Parkin and everyone knows him in and around the leagues,” Correia pointed out.

“People told me I will learn things from him so, hopefully, I will do and progress myself up the pyramid like he did.

“I think it’s a partnership that can only get better and, hopefully, we can build an understanding where he scores and I score, because that means we will be scoring more goals and moving up the table.”