Updated: GOALKEEPER Michael Ingham’s decision to sign a new extended contract at York City has “delighted” Bootham Crescent boss Gary Mills.

Ingham’s current deal would have expired next summer but he has now agreed terms with the Minstermen until the end of the 2012/13 campaign.

The former Northern Ireland international will begin the fourth season of his second spell with City next month and will be 33 at the end of his new contract.

About Ingham’s decision to commit his future to the club, Mills said: “I think goalkeeping is the most important position to get right in a team and I’ve never hidden how much I rate him. We have been talking about a contract extension for quite a few weeks and he’s agreed to it now, so I’m delighted with that.

“He’s an important part of what I want to do at York City and it’s good for me to know that he will be my goalkeeper for the next two years.”

Putting pen to paper should also ward off any potential suitors for Ingham during the coming season but Mills insisted the contract offer had not been prompted by any inquiries for the former Sunderland stopper.

The City chief added: “Nobody has approached me about him. I just wanted to show Michael how much I want him here.”

Ingham returned to training yesterday along with the rest of the City squad with Mills pleased with his players’ conditioning, especially a more streamline George Purcell.

He said: “Everybody reported back fit and ready and special mention must go to George Purcell who has come back a stone lighter. I hardly recognised him because he looks like a new player.

“He’s obviously worked hard over the summer and realised how important his career is to him. He needed to lose his puppy fat to be a good athlete and, hopefully, he can now show me what he’s about.”

The squad headed out for a run with youth-team coach Steve Torpey on their return yesterday.

Mills was looking forward to his nine new signings bonding with their team-mates.

The City boss said: “This first week back will involve a lot of running and is mainly about fitness. I need them all to be fit enough to play with the work ethic I require from my teams.

“We might have a few new faces but I’m sure that the banter will be flying about very quickly and it is my job to make sure they all settle in.”

Mills will kick off the 2011/12 campaign with a squad of 20 players – Matty Blair, Andre Boucaud, Ashley Chambers, Jamal Fyfield, Liam Henderson, Michael Ingham, Scott Kerr, David McDermott, David McGurk, Patrick McLaughlin, James Meredith, Adriano Moké, Paul Musselwhite, Lanre Oyebanjo, Daniel Parslow, Michael Potts, George Purcell, Jamie Reed, Chris Smith and Jason Walker.

The Minstermen’s first friendly is at Northern Counties East League neighbours Tadcaster Albion on Friday night.

City will travel to Grantham for a pre-season friendly on Tuesday, July 19 (7.30pm).

York Press: The Press - Comment

Long wait ending?

COULD York City’s long wait for promotion finally be coming to an end? As manager Gary Mills and his squad returned to pre-season training yesterday, we can’t help but be optimistic about the coming campaign ahead.

The City boss has certainly been busy in the transfer market, with former Newcastle United midfielder Patrick McLaughlin and full-back Lanre Oyebanjo the latest in a flurry of new recruits to be swayed by the charms of Bootham Crescent.

They are signatures that have left fans hoping for great things this year and yearning that their now eight-season stay in non-league football might soon be over.

Let’s hope dreams can come true.

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