YORK City boss Martin Foyle feels teenage full-back Andy McWilliams can become a midfield regular.

The inclusion of first-year professional McWilliams on the left side of midfield was the biggest surprise during new boss Foyle’s first match – Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Salisbury.

McWilliams, 18, had only made his first start of the season six days earlier during the 2-2 home draw with Crawley Town, which was caretaker chief Neil Redfearn’s one game in charge.

Redfearn, now assistant manager, is a big admirer of McWilliams, having worked with him at junior level.

New boss Foyle also believes his converted left-back has the ability to play at Football League level and is expected to play him on the wing again during tonight’s Setanta Shield tie at Barrow (7.45pm).

Foyle said: “Andy McWilliams was great on Saturday and could play in that position again without a shadow of doubt. His energy and work-rate, chasing play down, was excellent. Redders has worked with him for a while and loves him. He’s a player who wants to listen and learn and has the ability to play higher.

“I don’t want players stereotyped to one position. You will get the odd striker who is a specialist in that role only, but others like Onome Sodje can play down the middle or out wide and, at our level, you need that versatility.”

Foyle will resist the temptation to make changes to Saturday’s side, preferring the incentive of a northern area semi-final place rather than giving himself an opportunity to look at other squad members in a first-team scenario.

He said: “I’m one of those managers who, if the team has done well, then they stay together because I want to win every game. Neither me or Redders are the type to say ‘It’s only a cup, let’s get on the bus, get it over with and get home’.

“I don’t like losing games. The FA Cup is great if you get a money-spinning tie like Histon have had and Barrow have just been given but the FA Trophy and Setanta Shield give you the chance to reach a final and enjoy everything else that goes with that, including prize money.”

Fit-again Bruce Dyer and Liam Shepherd will return to the reckoning for tonight’s trip, although new signing Adam Smith and cup-tied Richard Brodie are both ineligible.

Brodie will also miss Saturday’s home match with Grays after picking up a one-match ban for five bookings, while midfielder Steven Hogg has been challenged to win back his place in the team, with Foyle adding: “I’ve had a good chat with Steven and we felt he had played four games very quickly after being out for a long time.

“We decided to take him out on Saturday and now he will have to earn the right to win his shirt back.”

Goalkeeper Michael Ingham, meanwhile, has received Foyle’s support despite the error that gifted Salisbury a first-half lead.

The City boss said: “We all make mistakes and we’ve spoken about it. It’s gone now and the lads bailed him out a bit. We probably should have won the game and need to encourage him.”

Foyle went on to emphasise the need for a strong mentality at Holker Street, where Barrow have won six of their last seven fixtures, including Friday night’s FA Cup shock against League Two Brentford.

He said: “If you’re going to win a cup or the league you have to go to these places.

“It’s just a football pitch and you’ve got to cope with the weather and conditions.

“They had an excellent result against Brentford but, if I get the same effort and attitude as the lads showed on Saturday, I will have no complaints.”

With City having beaten Mansfield on penalties in the previous round, Foyle also admitted that his side have practised spot-kicks ahead of this evening’s match.

He said: “They’ve all taken two each in match-like conditions, but I’ve been there before and it’s easy to take them in training.”

Barrow officials were keeping a watchful eye on the weather this morning as the pitch was frozen yesterday.