LOAN signing Alex Bray agrees with York City manager Sam Collins that the club has off-the-field facilities that are Championship-standard.

The 23-year-old’s parent club Rotherham currently operate at second-tier level and Bray feels some elements of City’s infrastructure are better than their South Yorkshire neighbours.

Collins, who numbers Hull City and Huddersfield amongst his former clubs, has previously declared that the Minstermen’s Wigginton Road training base would not look out of place in the Football League’s highest division and, with the club set to receive the keys to the new Community Stadium in May, Bray believes he has moved to a team with much loftier potential than their current status in regionalised football.

He said: “I want to help get York up to where they deserve to be during my time here. Everything is in place to be a Football League club and they shouldn’t be where they are now.

“I’m not going to lie to you - some bits here are better than Rotherham. Others aren’t, but it feels like a club going in the right direction.”

Bray also admitted that moving to City, where the Football League loan window is closed, offered him a “perfect” chance to play games now rather than waiting for the New Year when it opens again and, on his four-division drop to National League North, he declared: “I wasn’t put off by playing at this level, because it would have been quite easy for me to stay at Rotherham and play reserve games to get fit, so this is a brilliant opportunity to play football, which is what I want and need.

“The gaffer here has told me all about what the club want to do, and I bought into it. I did my ankle ligaments on the second day of pre-season at Rotherham and was out for two or three months, so that meant the start to my season was written off.

“I’ve not had much luck, because I got injured last season as well and, then, went to Forest Green in January. I played 11 games, scored a goal, got my fitness back and thought I did well in League Two, but I didn’t want to wait until January this time.”

Having joined Rotherham in 2017, Bray went on to make five Championship appearances at the age of 21, but admits he is unaware of the Millers’ plans for him beyond the end of his contract next summer.

“I’ve not got a clue about my future at Rotherham, because you just don’t know with football,” he declared.

Prior to signing for the New York Stadium club, Bray spent almost four years at Swansea as a professional having been released at the age of 15 by Swindon who, in an unusual twist of fate, he made his City debut against last weekend.

Bray worked under Brendan Rogers, Michael Laudrup and Gary Monk as the South Wales club made the step up to Premier League level and admits that rubbing shoulders with several full internationals represented a great footballing education

“Everything facility-wise was top quality and bang-on at Swansea,” he confessed. “Gary Monk gave me the opportunity to play in pre-season there and I was pretty much a first-team squad player at that time.

“I did all the pre-season with them and it really helped my game training with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who are top, world-class players in my book. It was all going well but, then, I did my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in my first game on loan at Plymouth.”

Injuries have seemingly curtailed his progress during most of Bray’s professional campaigns up to this point but, after two outings with the Minstermen, he already feels he is getting up to full speed following his most recent setback.

He won the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award on his home debut during Tuesday night’s 0-0 home draw with Chester and, summarising that display and the start to his City career, he said: “I beat my man many times in the first half against Chester and I felt that we could have had one or two goals off my crosses.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had the ball as much as I did in that first half. Then, in the second, my end quality wasn’t quite there, and I felt it a bit in my legs during the last ten minutes, but I feel I’m almost back to full match fitness.

“I played two reserve games for Rotherham before coming here, getting 60 and 80 minutes, and that was a good test. Playing Swindon in my first game was also a bit tougher because we were defending more than we were against Chester.”

Bray was involved in Tuesday night’s most contentious decision when away full-back Dominic Smalley, already booked for an earlier challenge, fouled the City attacker again inches outside the penalty area.

The Chester defender escaped further punishment, but relieved management duo Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley quickly replaced him at half-time, with Bray believing the visitors were fortunate to leave North Yorkshire with a share of the spoils.

“I definitely thought we were the better team, but a few decisions didn’t go our way in the first half and that’s football,” he reasoned. “I thought for sure their man was going to get sent off, because he was on a yellow card already and I was through on goal when he fouled me on the edge of the box.

“I felt it had to be at least another yellow card, if not a straight red, but they were very lucky and brought another right-back on at half-time because they knew he was going to get sent off in the second half. They then held on and were probably happy with a point, while we were disappointed not to take all three.

“I can see there’s quality in the team and, along with the tempo we played at against Chester, the club shouldn’t be where it is in the league.”

With a record of one goal in 28 senior outings, Bray primarily regards himself as a creator of opportunities, but is intending to feature on the City scoresheet at some point too, adding: “My main role is to assist the two strikers here, but I want to get goals and know I can get them. It’s just about getting the opportunities.”