YORK CITY midfielder Paddy McLaughlin has described the "bittersweet" feeling of having to watch the Minstermen's unbeaten start to the season whilst out injured for the majority of the term.

McLaughlin marked his return from injury with the second of York's goals in their 2-0 triumph at Darlington at the weekend.

It was the former Newcastle midfielder's first start of the season, having been out with a posterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered in July for much of the campaign.

In his absence, City have made a remarkable start to their tilt at promotion from the Vanarama National League North, going unbeaten in their first 11 games and sitting top of the table.

While happy for the success of his team-mates, the Northern Irishman said he was itching to play throughout his recovery.

“I’ve missed a big chunk of this season so far, during pre-season and a large part of this season," said McLaughlin.

"But, I trained over the past couple of days (before the Darlington game) and I felt fine.

"The gaffer gave me the call to play and I’d never ever say no if someone asks me to play a game of football.

"Obviously, I wouldn’t say that I was ready if I didn’t feel like I could myself justice and the team justice. I felt good in training and felt positive.

"It has been tough to sit there and watch and not be a key part of what’s been going on.

“The atmosphere around the place has been really good. When the lads are bouncing around the changing room after a win, it’s been bittersweet personally.

“I've been absolutely delighted that the lads have got three points and that we’re doing really well as a team.

"But, at the same time, you’re thinking ‘I want to be a part of that, I want to be involved in that’.

More involvement for McLaughlin may be forthcoming given that Steve Watson's side have been suffering from a minor injury crisis as of late.

Striker Dan Maguire is still around a month away from returning, captain Steve McNulty is sidelined and Kallum Griffiths missed the trip to Darlington with an ankle problem.

Further adding to York's woes were the sight of Kieren Green and Nathan Dyer hobbling off early in the week's win in the North East.

McLaughlin was substituted, though he put that down to cramp.

“I feel good, injury-wise," added the 28-year-old.

"We have had a few injuries and, to me, that’s the sign of a good team because we’ve had to cope with numerous injuries and we just keep going and turning out results.

"It’s the sign of the depth and the quality in the squad.

“The 88 minutes or however long it was that I played on Saturday, that will only do me good.

"My knee felt fine during the game. My calf was locked up at the end with cramp, but I guess that’s to be expected.

York's attentions now turn to the FA Cup this Saturday as a trip to ninth-tier Irlam of the North West Counties League premier division.

For McLaughlin, it's all about avoiding the dreaded giant killing.

“We’re a big club and I’m sure that there were a lot of teams that were looking for us in the draw at home," he said of the game that will be broadcaster live on the BBC iPlayer (12:30pm kick-off).

"There’s a pressure that comes with playing for a team like York, a lot of teams do want to beat you. Even in the league, teams want to take the scalp of a team the size of York.

"Whoever gets the shirts next week, will be out to themselves justice and to get us through to the next round.

“I’d love to play in the FA Cup next week. It’s a good chance to get more minutes under my belt and continue on my road to full fitness.

“I don’t think I’ve been on the end of a cup giant killing. I think of one off the top of my head. Hopefully we can keep it that way!"