YORK City have made 16 signings over the off-season as they prepare to play Vanarama National League football for the first time in five years from this weekend.

One of those 16 is Harrogate Town right-back Ryan Fallowfield. We spoke to Harrogate Advertiser sports editor Rhys Howell about York’s new recruit.

What was your reaction to seeing Ryan sign for York?

“It’s a good signing for York. I haven’t watched National League football for a couple of years since Harrogate have been promoted out of it, but I’d be surprised if there’s a better right-back in that division than Ryan.

“He has had a few injury issues, but if he stays fit, then I think York have got a proper talent on their hands.”

What is his injury record like?

“It’s not horrendous, he’s not permanently on the treatment table by any stretch but he has had an unfortunate couple of seasons.

“During the Good Friday game against Swindon, he suffered a really nasty groin injury, which ruled him out for the rest of the season.

“But there’s also been plenty of times during his five seasons with Harrogate where he’s had extended runs in the side. Hopefully he can stay fit.

“I know that he’s been working really hard on his rehab over the summer.”

Were you surprised to see him leave Harrogate?

“I think that Ryan said himself that he expected it, but if it would have been me, I’d have kept him. He’s a really good player and character.

“I was a little bit surprised because I rate him but I think that the writing was on the wall given the way things went last season.”

It sounds as if there's been an overhaul at Harrogate too…

“I think since Harrogate have got promoted to the Football League, Ryan has been exposed a little defensively.

“I don’t think you can question how exceptional he is as an attacking full-back He overlaps really well, he busts a gut and he plays with such passion, desire and enthusiasm.

“But if there’s a weakness in his game, it’s defensively. Ryan has admitted himself that he needs to improve his one-on-one defending and it’s the defensive side of his game that he does need to work on and he has been doing that, from what I understand.

“Harrogate conceded so many goals last season – it was the joint-second-worst in League Two – and they had to rip up the backline.”

How much do you think his promotion experience at Harrogate will help at York?

“It can’t do any harm because he knows what it takes. In the second half of the season when Harrogate got promoted from the National League (2019/20), Ryan was a consistently good performer.

“In the National League play-off final against Notts County, I remember writing that he was the complete full-back. He really stood out that day and he might have even been my man-of-the-match.

“If York get Ryan fit and get him a run of games, I think he’ll be among the best right-backs in that league, without question.”