NEW signing Jon Challinor believes joining York City can end his nine-year wait for a Conference championship winners’ medal.

Challinor, 30, has been a beaten play-off finalist three times – with Aldershot (2004), Exeter (2007) and Cambridge United (2009).

He was also a member of the Aldershot side that reached the play-off semi-finals in 2005 and, since leaving St Albans in August 2003, Challinor has plied his trade at eight different sides in the highest echelon of non-League football with Rushden, Forest Green, Mansfield, Newport and last club Kettering also former employers.

But the Northampton-born midfielder reckons the Minstermen have presented him with his greatest chance of playing in the Football League for the first time in his career.

“I’m optimistic that this is a step forward for me,” Challinor told The Press.

“I’ve spoken to the gaffer and told him I’ve floated in and around play-off finals and semi-finals in my career, but I see this move as my chance to push forward and actually get the winners’ medal that’s eluded me so far.

“That’s what I’m looking for at my age and at this stage in my career so, when I knew York were interested in signing me, I was straight down the next day to train with the boys and sign the deal.

“This is a massive club in the Conference and I believe we have the squad and fan base to go and win the league.”

Challinor made his second substitute outing for the Minstermen in Monday’s disappointing 1-0 home defeat to lowly Alfreton.

But, having witnessed City thrash Kettering 5-1 in his last match as a Poppies player and then hold promotion favourites Fleetwood to a 0-0 draw last Friday, Challinor is confident the Alfreton game was an anomaly.

He added: “If you are going to be champions, you have to win games like Monday when teams come and sit behind the ball.

“We needed to use the ball a bit better and get runners in behind them to open them up but I think that match was just a blip.

“We’ve got the strength to push on and be up there and, if I can help by bringing my experience into the team, I will do.”

Challinor kicked off this campaign at Kettering on non-contract terms following a summer of upheaval at the Northamptonshire club, including a change of manager with Morrell Maison replacing Marcus Law and a move to Rushden and Diamonds’ former Nene Park stadium.

With City his seventh club during a nomadic two years, Challinor, pictured, is also looking to regain stability after agreeing terms at Bootham Crescent until the New Year.

He said: “I ended the season at Kettering and wanted to go back there in pre-season but they were going through a transitional period with moving to Rushden and the new gaffer didn’t really know too much about me. I went back to prove myself and I was always confident in my ability to get something, which ended up being the case.

“But, because finances were tight, I was there on a non- contract basis and was hoping to get a deal further down the line. When you’re not under contract, you also never know what’s around the corner and anything can happen because you’re in the shop window.

“Everything was down to me and, having faith in my ability, I knew that, once I did a pre- season and played some games, people would take notice. I jumped at the chance to sign for York because the standard of the squad is unreal. That was evident for everybody to see at Kettering after going 4-0 up in just over half an hour.

“I’m just taking things on a game-by-game, week-by-week basis because the last year or two have been so up and down for me and I want to get some consistency back into my career. I’m here until January so that gives me a footing to build on.”

Having played three games in less than a week – one against City and two for his new team – Challinor will now need to wait 11 days for his next match.

This weekend’s international break means the Minstermen are next in action at Tamworth on Saturday, September 10, and Challinor said: “It means I can settle in better and it gives me a chance to look around and decide what I will do about living up here.”

Having netted an impressive 50 times in 293 league matches, including reaching double figures in separate seasons for Aldershot and Exeter, Challinor is also hoping to bolster City’s firepower from midfield, adding: “I like to push forward and run past the strikers to hopefully create chances and I’ve always said throughout my career that I love scoring goals so I’d be more than happy to contribute.”