ON-LOAN Mansfield Town defender David Mirfin is interested in a permanent move to York City.

The 6ft 2in centre back will be out of contract at Field Mill in the summer and has agreed terms to stay at Bootham Crescent until the end of the current campaign.

But the ex-Scunthorpe and Watford Championship campaigner, who turns 34 next month, has now expressed a desire to stay with the Minstermen next term.

Prior to his North Yorkshire switch, Mirfin had plied his whole career in the Football League but, having spent 14 months on the sidelines following a knee operation that required him to learn how to walk again, the Sheffield-born sentinel is just keen to prove his worth to City chief Steve Watson during the next two-and-a-half months, declaring: “I’d definitely be interested in a permanent move.

“It’s a bit of a gulf from what I’m used to but, equally, I have to prove that I am over my injuries and I’m not a liability for somebody to take a chance on me. It got to a stage at Mansfield where I’d played my first 90 minutes in the reserves, so my next step was to play competitively, but the gaffer said he didn’t think I was ready and that he’d prefer it if I went out and got some games.

“They’ve got the best defensive record in the league and the other defenders were miles ahead of me in terms of fitness and sharpness, so I didn’t want to go in and let the lads down either, because they’ve worked hard to get where they are. In my mind, I felt I might be looking at this kind of level next season because of my age and the injuries, so I had no hesitation about coming here to get used to the league.

“It suits me perfectly and I know how big a club York is at this level. I’ve played here two or three times in the League and I’m surprised to see the club where they are, especially from what I’ve seen now from the lads in training and in glimpses during games.

“It’s maybe just about handling the pressure better and recruiting the right type of players to get a bit more belief so we can kick on.”

Despite his last senior appearance for Mansfield coming in a Football League Trophy tie at Blackpool in December 2017, Mirfin has completed three full games in the space of eight days with the Minstermen and has appreciated new boss Watson’s understanding in terms of his ability to manage such a workload.

“I’ve been very impressed with how relaxed and calm the gaffer is and he is allowing me to use Monday and Thursdays more as recovery days to make sure I’m ready for games,” Mirfin explained. “Playing three games in a week was chucking me in at the deep end really having not played for 14 months, but I was told to do what I needed to get through the week, and I should be alright for the remainder of the season now whilst, hopefully, being where I want to be after five or six matches.”

Mirfin also argued that moving to the new Community Stadium next season makes the Minstermen a more attractive prospect for potential recruits, declaring: “I’ve seen pictures of the stadium and spoke to the lads about it and it’s a massive thing.

“Bootham Crescent is an old-school kind of league ground and they are being phased out at every level. If the club can get something more self-sufficient that can work seven days a week for them, rather than one Saturday every fortnight, it can only be a good thing because we’re seeing a lot of smaller clubs bypassing traditional clubs with more history and bigger crowds now.”

Mirfin was pleased, meanwhile, to experience his first clean sheet in a City shirt during Saturday’s 2-0 home triumph over Ashton United after the change from a back three to a four-man defence.

He went on to reason, though, that it was an impressive rearguard action from all seven players assigned with defensive duties on the day and, commenting on the switch, added: “I’ve watched Mansfield play three at the back this season and Hartlepool also played that way when I went there on loan a few years back, but everybody needs to be comfortable with it.

“As a defender, there’s quite a difference in what your role is, and we probably looked a bit more comfortable in the new system. We had different personnel in the previous three games, and also had to change it during the matches, but I thought me and Newts (Sean Newton) looked quite comfortable and the two lads in front of us (Scott Burgess and Adriano Moke) picked up every second ball.

“The two full-backs also covered well, with Barts (Adam Bartlett) coming for stuff when he needed to behind us, so it was all there in terms of a defensive performance.”

At the other end of the pitch, meanwhile, Jordan Burrow took his season’s tally to 17 with a match-winning late brace, but the skipper’s industry and aerial desire has impressed Mirfin just as much as his goal haul.

“His work-rate and physicality has surprised me,” the latter admitted. “The ball never comes back from goal kicks, because he uses his body so well.

“He never gives defenders a free header, which is a massive thing because, sometimes, you don’t necessarily need to win the ball but just stop it from coming back and he deserved his goals for his overall play.”