YORK City caretaker manager Sam Collins has declared that he would “definitely” be interested in the Bootham Crescent hot-seat on a permanent basis.

Youth-team chief Collins, who has taken temporary charge of Hartlepool on three occasions in the past, will be at the Minstermen helm for Saturday’s trip to Brackley and the bank holiday Monday home clash against Blyth Spartans.

City sporting director Dave Penney has insisted that Collins is “very much” in the reckoning for the full-time vacancy caused by Martin Gray’s dismissal and the former Huddersfield and Bury defender, who arrived at Bootham Crescent in the summer, has confirmed he would like to be considered for the position “I’d definitely be interested,” Collins said of the chance to succeed Gray. “I’ve played against York City in League One when people I know, like Jon McCarthy, were here, so I know what a big club this is and there aren’t many better at this level that you could get an opportunity to take over as manager.

“I’ve been coaching for more than 12 years now and it has always been in my mind, going back to my playing days, that I’d like to be a manager one day so, hopefully, it goes well, and we can have another conversation and, if I get asked the question, I’ll have a decision to make.”

Collins, 41, did admit to hesitating, however, before accepting the caretaker role, feeling a little reluctant to move up from working with the club’s junior players.

“I had phone calls late Sunday afternoon from the chairman and Dave (Penney), telling me what had happened and that they wanted me to step in,” he explained. “Initially, I asked if I could have a bit of time to think about it, because I’ve been working with the under-19s and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“We’d just beaten Newcastle 4-1 the day before, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. But I had a chat with my wife and, then, my dad and he, more than anyone, persuaded me that I should give it a crack.

“I’ve seen what a good club this is in just the five weeks I’ve been here, with the training facilities and the way you’re treated every day. There’s also some good, experienced players and a lot of young ones to work with.”

Collins went on to confess that being able to call upon City’s strength and conditioning coach Stuart Parnaby as his number two is a big bonus.

The pair have been in this position together at Hartlepool, where they were also team-mates. “I’ve known Stuart five or six years,” Collins pointed out. “We had to retire at a similar time at Hartlepool and he then did the strength and conditioning, whilst I went into coaching.

“The last time I was a caretaker, Stuart was also my assistant, so we know each other really well and know how we like to work and the environment we like to create, which is really important, but the tell-tale signs will be seen on Saturday and Monday.”

While Jon Parkin is the only current City player Collins has worked with before, having been in the same Hull City side back in 2006/07, the Pontefract-born coach reasoned that he is familiar with most of his new charges, having moved in similar circles during recent years.

“I know quite a few players,” he said. “I’ve played against Russ Penn a few times and I’ve also seen a lot of the lads play, even the young ones, so I know quite a lot about them, which helps in this situation.

“I’ve seen all the home games this season as well and watched the others on scout7, which is a software package that we use.”

Collins added that former City midfielder and free agent James Berrett is no longer training with the club.