NEW Darlington signing David Stockdale has admitted that being released by York City has given him the kick up the backside he needed to save his career.

Former England non-league international 'keeper Stockdale has put pen to paper for the League Two outfit after impressing during a pre-season trial and admitted to letting himself go at KitKat Crescent last season.

But harsh public words from City manager Billy McEwan about his weight have acted as an incentive for the Leeds-born 20-year-old to prove the straight-talking Scotsman wrong.

Stockdale said: "I have done well in pre-season and got back into shape after letting myself go at York, which was well-documented. I accept now that was the case and agree with the manager but I would have preferred not to have been criticised in public.

"It has probably given me a kick up the backside though to get me going again and I feel a better person now. I would have loved to have stayed at York because I was there for a long time and have a great affection for the club.

"I would like to thank everybody there for all the help they have given me. The fans were always great and I learnt everything there so it was a bit of a shock to go and I wish the team all the best for next season."

Stockdale also added that the good times outweighed the bad ones during his City career having made his Football League debut at the club and earned international recognition before being limited to just three appearances last season one as a substitute and one in which he was replaced at half-time.

He added: "It's like any job you can work behind a bar and have good nights and bad nights and I have got a lot more good memories of (York) than bad ones. I will still look out for the club's results because I have still got a lot of friends here."

Stockdale is also forecasting City will have a good season. "They gave us a good workout considering we are starting our season a week before them and were treating the game very seriously.

"Our manager said afterwards that the match was as near in standard to what we will face against Macclesfield tomorrow than we could have hoped for and I'd agree."

Stockdale is also predicting that his successor as goalkeeping understudy at KitKat Crescent first-year professional Arran Reid could play a big part in the club's future.

"There are players at the club with a lot of talent like Byron Webster and Arran," he said. "Arran has great ability and I'd say that he could be the next big thing at York City if he gets his chance."

Stockdale is now concentrating on rebuilding his own career in the Football League having made his senior debut at the same level under Terry Dolan in May 2003.

That substitute appearance proved his only outing before City dropped into the Conference but he feels he is now benefiting from the full-time goalkeeping he receives at Darlington from former Quakers, Bristol Rovers and Middlesbrough number one Andy Collett.

Stockdale is currently behind another former Middlesbrough trainee Sam Russell in the pecking order for the first-team shirt but aims to push him all the way.

He said: "Andy wanted me two years ago but a move did not materialise. Luckily, as soon as I was released, he came for me again."