DEPARTING goalkeeper Adam Bartlett believes York City’s future will be bright with Ryan Whitley between the sticks and Steve Watson at the helm.

Bartlett has decided to move on from Bootham Crescent to pursue a career in sales and play part-time football in the Northern League.

But, after turning down a new deal with the Minstermen, the 33-year-old net-minder is convinced his long-time teenage understudy can shine for his home-town club if he agrees to a new contract extension.

Bartlett ended an ever-present first-team run of 70 games since his November 2017 arrival from Darlington when he made way for 19-year-old Whitley during the final five fixtures of last season.

And, having worked closely with the ex-Manchester City trialist throughout the whole of last term, Bartlett believes the former Archbishop Holgate pupil will go on to play in the Football League, declaring: “Ryan will be brilliant if he’s in goal next season.

“He is very assured, composed and level-headed and has all the attributes to be a top keeper.

“I was lucky enough to play in the Football League during my career and Ryan is destined to head that way - how high that will be is up to him.

“He has a fantastic chance as long as he keeps doing things right and, hopefully, he will get there with York City but, if not, the club should reap the rewards with a little bit of cash.”

Whitley endured a difficult second senior outing for the Minstermen when he misjudged a free kick, which led to the hosts’ first goal during a 2-2 draw at Chester.

He also suffered a few nervy moments following dead-ball deliveries into his penalty box during the subsequent fixtures, but Bartlett was quick to dispel any talk of such situations exposing a flaw in his game.

“I think he was trying to overdo things and over impress after a very assured debut against Southport,” the former England C international insisted.

“He was getting involved with things he didn’t need to be doing, but all that comes with age.

“He’s 6ft 7in and I’ve seen him come for everything in training.

“We’ve done sessions on free kicks and corners into the box with (goalkeeper-coach) Andy Collett designed at helping me when I was in the team and Ryan was superb.

“But, as a young keeper, you’ll always make wrong decisions and everybody just has to be accepting of that, as a club, because Ryan will be a top, top keeper.”

With the Minstermen demonstrating top-three form during the final 15 games of a mid-table campaign under Watson and assistant-manager Micky Cummins, Bartlett also believes the pair are capable of mounting a desperately-needed promotion push during 2019/20.

“Both him (Watson) and Micky, who I know from playing together at Gateshead, have brought the lads together,” Bartlett pointed out.

“A few players who it didn’t quite pan out for under previous management teams have shown much better form.

“The points ratio was promotion form during the last three months and the gaffer has key areas throughout the spine of the team that he wants to improve again, so the signs are there that York City will be challenging at the top end of the table next season.”