YORK City right-back Ben Purkiss is desperate not to lose his “last chance” of playing for England.

Purkiss, who is struggling for fitness with a stomach muscle injury, will be too old to represent England ‘C’ next season and believes he will not be selected for May’s International Challenge Trophy final against Belgium if he is unable to play in next Tuesday’s friendly against Malta Under-21s.

Having previously played five-a-side Futsal for his country, Purkiss is determined to complete a unique double but fears time might be running out for him.

The 24-year-old defender is losing a battle to be fit for City’s FA Trophy replay at home to Kidderminster tomorrow night, but England ‘C’ selectors have indicated they will wait until Thursday for confirmation as to whether he can fly to Malta.

Purkiss is hoping to have recovered sufficiently by then to declare himself fit for the Minstermen’s crucial home clash against Forest Green before joining up with the international party.

He said: “Tomorrow night looks increasingly doubtful, but hopefully Saturday is more realistic and I don’t see why, if I’m fit to play against Forest Green, I won’t be okay for Malta. I don’t want to miss out on the England opportunity because I feel it might be my last chance.

“I’ve been on standby before, but I don’t think the manager will take anyone to Belgium that he hasn’t seen before. Since John Brayford left Burton for Crewe, there has been a place available at right-back and I like to think I’d have a chance of playing there against Malta and Belgium.

“I’m pretty desperate to get there because playing for England ‘C’ was one of the goals I set myself when I moved to York, so it would be very disappointing if that was taken away.”

Should he make the trip, Purkiss is also looking forward to meeting up with former Minstermen team-mates Nicky Wroe and Lewis McMahon, who have made the 16-man squad as well.

He added: “I think Lewis is struggling with injury as well but Nicky is fine and a good friend of mine.

“I travelled in with him every day last season and I was disappointed to see him leave but I can fully understand the reasons why he did.”

Purkiss’ stomach problem first caused him discomfort after the FA Trophy first round tie at Northwich in December.

It has since limited him to just one full training session since the turn of the year. Playing 90 minutes at Kidderminster at the end of last month only aggravated the problem.

He said: “When I first felt it, I’d played every game and didn’t want to come out but I struggled with it over Christmas against Burton and Altrincham and decided enough was enough.

“Playing at Kidderminster was not the greatest idea but, even though the manager understood my situation, when he wants you to play you do what you can. If I’m honest, though, if I hadn’t played I don’t think I’d have a problem now.”

With City currently hovering dangerously over the relegation zone, Purkiss admitted the club are in a “mess”.

He said: “We need everybody to start taking responsibility. The strikers and midfielders have got to score and the defenders keep clean sheets.

“We’ve got to realise the mess we are in. We’ve got some good players but, as the old cliché goes, you’re never too good to go down.”