PADDY McLAUGHLIN has insisted that he has “never gone into a season looking at anything other than promotion” as York City prepare for their first Vanarama National League campaign since 2016/17.

York ascended back to the fifth-tier of English football after beating Boston United 2-0 in the National League North play-off final in May.

Fixtures for the upcoming National League campaign were released last week as the new term draws closer, revealing that York will host Woking in their first game on Saturday, August 6.

Despite being newly promoted, manager John Askey was adamant that his side would be pushing for another promotion and McLaughlin confirmed that going up was his aim.

“I’ve never gone into a season looking at anything other than promotion to be totally honest,” he insisted. 

“I’ve been lucky enough that, at every club I’ve played for, that’s always been the aim. 

“It’s never been to survive in a division, or to hit mid-table, the goal has always been to be promoted and we’ve always been fighting at the right end of the table.

“ I don’t really know any different. I think it comes naturally, you want to be right up there challenging and give yourself a chance of being promoted.

“We know that’s going to be difficult, there’s some big clubs and massive budgets in the league, but we’ve assembled a good squad of players and we’ll take it as it goes.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be setting out, from the off, to aim as high as we can.”

The Minstermen have recruited 15 new players across the summer, while also securing the returns of striker Lenell John-Lewis, centre-back Sam Sanders, defensive midfielder AJ Greaves and left-back Mitch Hancox, who all spent time last season on loan at the LNER Community Stadium.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, is the longest-tenured player at York currently. He has been at the club since 2019, having previously played for City between 2011 and 2013.

Regardless of how many new players have signed for York, the 31-year-old feels they have clicked nicely since the club returned to pre-season training.

“To be honest, just after a (training) session, all you can hear laughing and joking coming from the changing room,” noted McLaughlin.

“I think it’s a good sign because when you’ve got so many new players, making sure that everybody integrates together and making sure everyone gets on is the first challenge really.

“I know a few of the lads haven’t played with them before, it seemed to take no time at all for people to relax in each other’s company and start with the joking and bantering.

“I think that can only be a good sign moving forward for a good team spirit.”