TOM Allan has been told to be more aggressive after picking up an injury in York City’s first pre-season friendly at Shildon.

The 23-year-old centre back came on as a half-time substitute against the Northern League first division hosts, but only lasted five minutes after taking a knock to the knee.

City chief Martin Gray felt that a “half-hearted” challenge contributed to Allan’s swift withdrawal, though, in a contest that saw goals from Jon Parkin and summer signing Macaulay Langstaff cancel out Danny Earl’s opener for the north-east part-timers.

Allan is now doubtful for Tuesday night’s home match with Barnsley and Gray bemoaned: “He left himself open to getting a knee injury, because he should have just taken everything. It was a half-hearted challenge from a centre-half and he might be out for a few days now.

“There are no friendlies in pre-season and that’s the mentality you need when you cross that white line, so he has to understand and learn quickly what football is all about. If you leave yourself open, you tend to come off second best and that’s what’s happened.”

Right-back Kallum Griffiths was also sidelined for the Dean Street contest with Josh Law and first-year professional Harry Thompson deputising in his position during the first and second half respectively.

But Gray is hoping the former Spennymoor defender will play his part soon in the Minstermen’s warm-up schedule.

“He’s missed a bit of training, but he should be back next week,” the City boss explained. “I’m looking forward to seeing him out there.

“He got a knock on the ankle and has missed a few days, but it’s nothing serious and we’re hoping he’ll be back in training on Monday.”

City also played an unnamed trialist in midfield for the last half-hour against Shildon, but Gray did not want to shed any light on his identity.

He did, however, heap praise on half-time substitute Jordan Burrow and teenage winger Vinnie Steels, adding: “Up front, Jordan Burrow’s movement and energy was good and, apart from not scoring a goal, he was a nuisance.

“Vinnie Steels was outstanding. He put in seven crosses within the first half-hour, including a great ball in for Jon Parkin’s goal and, for a boy developing his game still against senior players, it was a really good performance.

“He’s still young and we’ve got to monitor his programme, but he’s not afraid and plays with great confidence. He’s a bit of a throwback in that he’s a wide player who wants to excite people and I hope the kid has a fantastic future.”

Steels was one of only two players that were left on to complete the first hour for the visitors, with Russ Penn the other and, outlining the reason for keeping the latter out on the pitch, Gray pointed out: “I wanted to give Russ an hour, because of his seniority.

“I wanted to play him alongside Simon Heslop in the midfield and we’ll have another look at that against Barnsley.”

Gray went on to express his overall satisfaction at the team’s first warm-up contest ahead of the start of the 2018/19 campaign on August 4.

“It was important we got some real, competitive football and it was a game we needed after being back ten days for pre-season,” he declared. “Our fitness levels were great as I would have expected them to be with the work put in.

“There was a bit of rustiness, which you’d also expect, but there were some great glimpses from individuals and, overall, it was very encouraging.”

Gray also made light of the modest surroundings at Shildon, which included long grass, a heavily uneven pitch and a condemned Main Stand, arguing that City will need to contend with all manners of hospitality in next term’s National League North.

“The pitch was dry, sticky and a bit bobbly, but it was a good exercise,” he reasoned. “We won’t be playing on bowling greens all season and you have to adapt to what’s in front of you. I thought we did that really well, but there’s still a lot to build and improve on.”