YORK City have made 15 signings over the off-season as they prepare to play Vanarama National League football for the first time in five years next Saturday at home to Woking (3pm).

One of those 15 is Port Vale winger Alex Hurst. We spoke to The Stoke Sentinel reporter Mike Baggaley bout York’s new recruit.

Were you surprised to see him leave Port Vale and surprised to see York pay a transfer fee?

“No, I think it’s a good move for all parties. Alex had limited game time last season, only playing twice and the fact that Vale have just been promoted to League One would have made it even harder for him to break into the side.

“It’s much more difficult to answer the transfer fee question just because, like so many deals these days, the fee is undisclosed."

How would you describe Hurst as a player and what are his key attributes?

“When I’ve seen him play, apart from the occasional game at wing-back, he’s been used as a winger, either wide in a front three or in a 4-4-2.

“I’ve seen him play on both left and right and he’s extremely hard-working, tracking back to help his full back, as well as having ability going forward.

“He’s quite direct in that he will look to get at the full back and get the ball across.”

Would it be fair to say that Hurst was a favourite of John Askey’s during Askey’s time at Port Vale?

“I think when John signed Alex from Bradford (Park Avenue) back in 2019 he was seen as a young player with potential who could develop, probably on loan, and then eventually challenge for a first-team place.

“He made most progress in the 2020/21 season when he started 13 league games and he certainly didn’t let anybody down.

“It was probably more difficult for him over the last year or so because Vale have switched to 3-5-2 with great success under Darrell Clarke.

“I’m sure Alex could play well at wing back but he had some good, experienced players in front of him – Mal Benning, Chris Hussey, James Gibbons and Dave Worrall – so it was difficult for him to break into the side.

“That said, although he was brought in by John, he remained a popular member of the group under Darrell Clarke.

“I interviewed Vale’s chief executive recently about something else but he made a point of talking about Alex, saying what a good character he was and how, although his playing time had been limited, he had been an important part of the group and the team spirit they had tried to foster.”

How do you think he will fare dropping down to the National League?

“I think he’ll do well. Like any player, he’d benefit from a regular run of games. I saw York win at Chester towards the end of last season so I could see John had got the team playing really well on their way to promotion.

“So, I’m sure his priority will be to get into the side and hold down a place but then I can see him really progressing.”

Hurst is only 22-years-old. How much potential do you believe he has?

“I wouldn’t want to burden him with expectation, I’ll let Alex do his talking on the pitch. But York are getting an industrious wide player who also has ability and a good attitude.

“I can see him doing well under Askey’s guidance. John came very close to getting Vale into the League Two play-offs when they only just missed out on points per game when the 2019/20 season was cut short.

“I wasn’t surprised to see him do so well at his next club and I hope that success continues for both him and Alex next season.”