YORK City boss Sam Collins admitted he has rejected approaches from clubs for Tom Allan after using the defender for the first time in his nine-game tenure.

Allan was introduced as a 32nd-minute substitute during the Minstermen’s 2-1 victory at Southport, despite nor even making the seven-strong bench for the previous weekend’s FA Cup win against St Ives Town.

In fact, the 23-year-old centre back, who netted nine times for Alfreton last term, had only made one of Collins’ last seven matchday squads, prior to the Merseyside trip.

But the former Huntington Secondary School pupil helped shore up a City defence side that had fallen behind to an eighth-minute Dion Charles penalty, as the team switched from a back three to a four-man defence and subsequently claimed maximum points following Jordan Burrow and Simon Heslop efforts.

On Allan’s return from the cold, Collins enthused: “He was outstanding and it’s really difficult for defenders to come into games. They’ve got to get used to the speed of the game and we weren’t playing very well either when he came on.

“He’s had to bide his time and we’ve had quite a bit of interest in him from clubs, but I think there’s a player in there, because he’s still young, he’s 6ft 5in, has good pace and is left-sided, so what I’ve told him is that I will batter him in terms of defensive work, as I think I can turn him into a player.”

Wing-back David Ferguson was sacrificed in the first-half reshuffle, but Collins also praised the former England C international for his reaction to that decision.

“It’s not nice when that happens to you and Dave has done really well for me so far, but we had to do it because, if we hadn’t, we could have been in for a really tough day as we didn’t look organised,” Collins reasoned. “I spoke to Dave at the end of the game and he said: ‘It didn’t matter, because we won the game,’ which is exactly what I wanted him to say.”

Ex-Hull and Huddersfield defender Collins went on to confess his team were not at their best against the Haig Avenue strugglers but argued that clinching victory in such circumstances is the hallmark of any successful team.

“We started the game really poorly and we can’t keep going a goal down, because it will cost us at some stage and, with the way we were playing, we could have had a mountain to climb after half-an-hour,” the City chief admitted. “But, after we made the substitution and changed the formation, I didn’t feel we ever looked like conceding.

“We looked more solid defensively and, while we were still below standard with the ball, our shape without it looked better and we produced our only two really moments of quality for the goals. But it was a great result to dig out and the biggest thing was we won the game by just hanging in there.

“There’s a hell of a lot to work on, but I’m so pleased with the players because these types of wins dictate where you end up in the table. Good teams win games when they play really poorly so, hopefully, it’s a good sign.”

Heslop’s 84th-minute winning goal, meanwhile, was the kind of spectacular strike that Collins declared is his trademark in training.

“It was an absolute wonderstrike and I wanted to run on the pitch to celebrate with him,” the City boss smiled. “He does that in training time and time again and, after hitting the post last week, he said before this game that he fancied himself to score in this match.”

Jake Wright set up the first goal for Burrow, but was also replaced early in the second half with Collins explaining: “He had a serious ankle injury when he was a young player and he got a whack on it in the first half and, although he wanted to stay on because that’s the type of character he is, he was limping and we felt the time was right to put Macaulay (Langstaff) on.”

The result saw Collins’ reign as a permanent successor to Martin Gray get off to a winning start and he went on to express his gratitude for the City’s players efforts as he tried to impress the Bootham Crescent board during his eight-game caretaker tenure.

“The players played a massive part in me getting the job and it was a very difficult period for them as everything was up in the air,” he pointed out. “Other groups might not have fully-committed to my ideas knowing I might not get the job, but they did do and myself and (assistant-manager) Stuart (Parnaby) really appreciated that and have thanked them. This is just the start, though, now and I want to really kick on.”