WES York has insisted that he is a “fighter” as York City boss Sam Collins looks for the battling qualities needed to lift his team up the National League North table.

Following his summer move from Gateshead, the 25-year-old winger started the first five games of the season under previous manager Martin Gray but had only kicked off two fixtures in Collins’ 20-match tenure prior to earning a first XI recall for Saturday’s 2-1 FA Trophy defeat at Harrogate Town.

York even failed to make the bench eight times during that period but, with Collins questioning the commitment of some of the squad’s players following the 2-0 loss at Boston United, he turned to the ex-Wrexham attacker, who believes he has the desire needed to help improve City’s 14th-placed position in the league standings.

“I’ve always been a fighter and, while some people might be impatient, I’ve just been waiting for my chance, even if you do want to be knocking on the door and saying: ‘pick me, pick me’, York reasoned. “Before Saturday’s game, the gaffer told me he thought I deserved a chance more than anybody else and I like to think I went out there and tried to take it.

“It’s all about the gaffer’s opinion. He’s got a good squad and a big one, which is a difficult challenge for him, but I’ll always run, work and put my body on the line for any team I’m playing for, because that’s the way I am.”

Fellow winger Alex Bray was also restored to the starting line-up at Wetherby Road and York feels the pair’s speed down the flanks can trouble teams at sixth-tier level, adding: “Pace is the biggest threat in football if you can apply it properly. Nobody likes to defend against it and it’s what we both offer, I guess.”

City are now preparing for this weekend’s home match with a Brackley Town side who were surprise title challengers last term and went on to lift the FA Trophy at Wembley.

The Northamptonshire side are currently tenth in the table, but York is expecting a strong contest from Saturday’s visitors, who will boast his former Nuneaton manager Kevin Wilkin in the dugout and ex-Liberty Way team-mates Gareth Dean, James Armson and Adam Walker out on the pitch.

“I have a lot of respect for their manager and he’s just a lovely bloke who you know wants the best for you even if he does have a temper as well when needed,” York pointed out. “They’ve also got a good bunch of lads and a real togetherness there, because they know each other inside out.

“It will be a tough match, because they have got a good work ethic and there are no easy games in this league. I don’t think there’s much difference with the division above and we’ve got to make sure we perform as well as they do.”

While City’s performance at Harrogate was better than the much-maligned display against Boston, with seven defeats from the last 11 matches and a recent league return of five points from a possible 24, York knows results are all that matter as the season reaches its midway point.

“Harrogate are a good team – there’s no doubt about that – but we matched them and, if we had maybe been a bit more clinical in their half, it would have been a different game,” York argued. “But it’s still all about results and we need to start winning.

“There are no excuses for not doing that and we’ve just got to get our heads down and graft.”

Now playing for a third season with ex-Gateshead team-mate Jordan Burrow, meanwhile, York declared that it comes as no shock to him that the Minstermen’s top scorer this term has netted 11 times heading into the festive period.

“I’ve not been surprised at all with how well Jordan has been doing,” York said. “I know what he can do, having been with him for more than two years now.

“He’s high on confidence and playing with a bit of freedom, which helps massively.”

York is also hoping for a warmer afternoon at Bootham Crescent than the freezing conditions everyone braved against Harrogate.

“It was the coldest I have ever been, and it was terrible for both teams,” he confessed. “At times, you were talking to the guy next to you and laughing about how cold you both were.

“My nose was pouring but, when the ball came near you, you just switched on and, if there was any chance to do a little sprint, you took it. It was when the ball was on the other side of the pitch and you were waiting to be involved that it was worse.”