MICKY CUMMINS has praised the versatility of York City’s squad after young defender Josh King’s influential performance against Guiseley.

Playing his first game for a month, King made solid contributions on the right of the Minstermen’s back three and provided the vital touch at the other end to see City to the 1-0 win.

It was 28 minutes into the National League North fixture when Sean Newton whipped an in-swinging right-wing free kick around the Lions’ one-man wall and King darted in front of the defence to dispatch a neat volley beyond keeper Brad Wade. Far from an easy finish, the centre-back used the pace of the ball to guide it off his right boot and almost behind him as he ran diagonally away from goal to meet the cross.

King - who signed as a 19-year-old ahead of the 2019/20 season - was taken off with an injury in the second half of York’s league defeat at Leamington on November 28. He featured on the bench for the FA Trophy game at Ashton United in the middle of last month but the December 28 game at home to Guiseley was his return to action.

Fellow right-sided defender Michael Duckworth, also returning from injury, had featured for the Minstermen on Boxing Day at Bradford Park Avenue but was left out of the squad for Guiseley, feeling “tight”, as manager Steve Watson explained after the victory.

York have plenty of defensive ability on their books, and that the young man was able to come into the side and mix it at the back is testament to the player.

Assistant manager Cummins said: “Josh was always capable of playing a couple of positions. He can travel with the ball and he can pass forward. He’s played at right-back, he’s played at right centre-half.

“He’s got in the team in a position that’s very competitive - you’ve got Kieran Kennedy, Michael Duckworth and Robbie Tinkler. He’s in esteemed company there and he’s held his own.

“It’s nice to know that within the group, you’ve got people you can rely on and play in different positions and obviously it’s nice that he’s popped up with his first professional goal as well. He’s a threat in that sense, in terms of set pieces.

“It’s good that we’ve got players who can play in multiple positions and play them well.”

With Duckworth rested, Tinkler was deployed on the right edge of the defence. He has done so on a couple of occasions this season, sometimes on the right of a back five and sometimes a back four. Against Guiseley, he moved out to fill the right wing-back berth after having been deployed in a more central role at Bradford Park Avenue on Boxing Day.

This move paved the way for arguably York’s star performer on the day Akil Wright to drop a little deeper into the defensive midfield role and make the position his own.

Wright has been left out of just two starting line-ups in league and cup this season. His omission from the 11 against Bradford Park Avenue (where he came on at half-time) was the first since the October 17 draw against Brackley Town.

On his return to action, Wright excelled in the defensive midfield role. Barely anything - ball or man - got past him, and on the few occasions he was beaten, the 24-year-old made immediate amends with a couple of well-timed challenges to regain possession and provide a superb pivot from defence to attack.