YORK City fans will see a different Clayton Donaldson this season, Micky Cummins believes.

Fan-favourite striker Donaldson, pictured, has returned to the Minstermen ahead of the 2021/22 season after 14 years away.

Now 37, his longevity has proved impressive for a player in his position - and as he has matured, he has developed his game to suit.

City fans could catch their first glimpse of Donaldson back in York colours tomorrow (3pm) when the Minstermen travel to Whitby Town in a pre-season friendly.

"As Clayton's career has gone on, he's developed his game," assistant manager Cummins said. "He's probably a different player to what the York fans remember. The really fast, explosive, over-the-shoulder, getting in behind - he can still do that but he's maybe not as pacey.

"He's brought other things into his game - his intelligence to drop off the centre-halves and play as a number 10, his ability to hold the play up and bring other players in.

"On top of that, he's been in the top five of the long-distance runs and energy tests.

"His professionalism will rub off on the younger players and they'll pick up good habits from Clayton.

"We're really happy to have him on board. He's relished everything we've done so far."

Saturday will be York's first fixture since February 16, and Cummins' excitement is palpable.

It has been a close-season like no other. The aim for Whitby remains to get minutes into players, with caution being taken not to over-stretch individuals after such a long time out.

York will be playing with two different sides in each half with a mix of young pros, new signings, trialists and senior players making up both teams.

Just one hangover remains from last season's pandemic disruption - Archie Whitfield, Michael Woods and Kurt Willoughby will all miss out after being notified by Test and Trace. Whitfield and Woods are out of isolation but will not be rushed in after 10 days without training. Willoughby should be out by Monday.

"I really can't wait to get started," Cummins added. "The first game of pre-season is hopefully the start of a 10-month long season.

"We're delighted Whitby have invited us down. Hopefully we'll get a decent turnout tomorrow home and away, put a good performance in and kick on from there."