YORK City boss Martin Gray has insisted veteran striker Jon Parkin won’t be restricted to substitute cameos this season.

In the run-up to Saturday’s National League North curtain-raiser at Chorley, 36-year-old Parkin has been limited to half-hour outings from the bench during the club’s final three pre-season friendlies.

New striker Jordan Burrow, meanwhile, has started all of those matches and fellow summer recruit Jake Wright has made the first XI for three of the last four warm-up games.

Along with that pair and last season’s 25-goal leading marksman Parkin, Macaulay Langstaff is also competing for an attacking place, with Gray maintaining all four will get their opportunity to impress this campaign.

He said: “I see Jon as part of the four forwards we have got at the club and he will start many games, as will the rest. We’ve got competition now, which we never had last season.

“We had Jon Parkin and only Jon Parkin and it showed how much we relied on him when he was out of the team. But we’ve now got four players champing at the bit to start up there against Chorley.”

Gray revealed Saturday’s starting line-up to his players at the end of training today but stressed that those not selected will also be needed during a busy schedule of seven matches during the opening 24 days and beyond.

“There were some sad faces when I announced the team and I’d expect that, because they should be disappointed, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be involved on Tuesday night or during the weeks going forward,” the City chief reasoned. “I’ve told all the lads who won’t be starting on Saturday that they will be massively involved this season and it’s important that we look after everybody.”

With Tom Allan returning to action this week during a youth-team friendly, the City boss has the rare luxury of kicking off the new campaign with a fully-fit squad and he added: “Stuart Parnaby has come in as our strengthening and conditioning coach and, along with the physio (Ian Gallagher), helped keep everybody fit.”

Gray went on to confirm that 4-4-2 would be his favoured formation this season, but that he would still be tactically flexible when required.

“We’ll start games with what we believe is our strength, but that doesn’t mean we won’t adjust during matches,” he explained.

The City manager is now hoping a new “winning mentality” he feels has been fostered during the summer will come to the fore as the club look to recover from the disappointment of last term’s 11th-placed finish.

“We’ve put an awful lot of work in during the last six weeks and there’s a brand-new feeling around the building in terms of togetherness and a real winning mentality, which we have enforced in pre-season and on the training ground,” he declared. “I’m glad we did all our recruitment early and are not chasing around for players in the last week like some clubs and it was set in stone from the first team meeting on day one what this season is about and what are priorities will be.

“It’s a fresh start for everybody, including myself, and we’ve got to maximise that. I had some really horrible journeys home back to the north-east last season and was concerned about certain players who have come and gone.

“It’s good now to get in my car looking forward to what we are going to produce this season. We have to give the fans something to get excited about going into a brand-new stadium, but talk is cheap and we have got to deliver now.”

Gray also welcomed the appointment of Peter Whinham at Bootham Crescent, following his replacement of Harry Dunn as chief scout.

“We’ve had a look at things and decided to make a change on the recruitment side,” Gray pointed out. “Peter is local to York and has vast experience, having worked full-time in the game throughout his career.

“I first came across him when I was a young lad and he worked for Denis Smith at Sunderland. He’s been very much part of the recruitment this summer and the network he has from north to south is fantastic.”

Elsewhere, ex-City academy full-back Alex McMillan – the son of former Bootham Crescent legend Andy – has joined Swedish club Ytterhogdals following his release by Grimsby Town.

The fifth-tier Scandinavian outfit are managed by ex-Minstermen academy technical director Adie Costello.