YORK City’s summer signing Craig Nelthorpe is already plotting revenge on Blue Square Premier promotion favourites Oxford United.

Nelthorpe was surprised by his release from the U’s at the end of last season and the games against his old club will be the first he looks for when City’s fixtures are revealed on Friday, July 3.

The 22-year-old left-winger scored two goals in 16 appearances for Oxford after asking to leave home-town Championship club Doncaster in January.

Now, he is determined to show Kassam Stadium chief Chris Wilder what he has missed out on, saying: “I would have liked to have stayed at Oxford and I don’t know why I was released so I can’t wait to get my own back and play well against them.”

Despite Oxford, who only lie behind Luton in the Blue Square Premier pre-season title odds, passing up an opportunity to retain Nelthorpe’s services, there were no shortage of willing prospective employers when he became available last month.

On his decision to plump for City, Nelthorpe added: “Crawley and Mansfield were interested and I went to Cambridge for talks with them. Their manager was going to ring me, but York came in with a good offer straight away.

“The club’s local for me which is important because my girlfriend is pregnant with our second child.

“Martin Foyle is also a decent, experienced manager who has worked in the Football League and is attracting good players.

“I’m sure we can bond in pre-season and take that into the league and the club will have a better campaign.”

Nelthorpe saw his chances limited to three starts in 14 appearances at Doncaster, being farmed out on loan to Hucknall Town, Kidderminster, Gateshead, Halifax and Darlington after making his debut as a 17-year-old on the final day of the 2004/5 season.

Manager Sean O’Driscoll’s preference of playing without wingers did not further his cause for greater first-team opportunities, nor did the South Yorkshire club’s rapid rise through the divisions.

But an ambitious Nelthorpe still hopes to return to the game’s second tier in the future and is also targeting international honours with City.

He said: “I want to get regular first-team experience and to try and get back in the Football League. I only got on the bench in the Championship, but I’ve proven I can play in League One and scored against Northampton on the last day of the 2006/7 season.

“The Premier League is a million miles away but, eventually, I want to be playing week in, week out in the Championship because I didn’t get much of a chance under Sean O’Driscoll. He played me left-wing back a bit, but I’m not really the best defensively – I’d sooner go at people.

“I also want to get in the England ‘C’ squad. I was on standby for Oxford and, hopefully, if I do well with York, I’ll be able to play for my country regularly as well.”