THEO Wharton remains available for transfer despite playing for York City reserves in this afternoon’s 3-1 defeat against Mansfield.

The former Cardiff City midfielder had looked set to extend his one-month loan stay at National League North rivals Tamworth until the end of the season, but that deal fell through with Bootham Crescent sporting director Dave Penney confirming that the club are now seeking other suitors.

Wharton was brought to City from the Welsh capital by former boss Gary Mills in the summer, but he has fallen out of favour under current chief Martin Gray and Penney said: “I understood that Tamworth had asked to keep Theo until the end of the season and thought that was done and dusted, but he’s back with us until somebody else takes him.

“I can’t see him getting picked ahead of Simon Heslop, Adriano Moke, Sean Newton and Daniel Rowe and can’t see him playing a game, so we’ve had that conversation with him. He’s 23 and he’s made about ten league appearances, which isn’t enough and he needs to get out and play games to have any chance of making a career for himself.”

James Gray scored his first goal in York City colours to cancel out a first-half opener by Johnny Hunt at Rainworth Miners Welfare.

But further home efforts from ex-Minsterman George Taft and Lee Angol secured victory for the Stags, whose starting XI had all featured in League Two this season.

Defeat meant the visitors have lost all six of their Central League second-string fixtures this term and Penney added: “They had a fairly strong side out, so we were happy with the performance, even if you’re never happy to be beaten.

“Amari (Morgan-Smith) and Flynn (McNaughton) both had great chances to put us 3-1 up, but they wore us down at the end with the presence they had on the pitch. You could see where we are in terms of the make-up of the two clubs now and the depth in squads, because they can put out two teams of very strong players.

“We probably need to play reserve sides that are a similar level to us, but these games are great for fitness and for people to get 90 minutes under their belt. They also ask questions of everybody.”

With the fixture played at a blowy Rainworth and on an uneven pitch, the conditions did, meanwhile, replicate some National League North venues, with Penney reasoning: “You can’t play on nice Wembley-like pitches all the time.

“The playing surface wasn’t the best and the ground was open with no stands, which made it very windy, but you have to learn to play the conditions, because we went to Telford and the pitch wasn’t great either.”