YORK City captain Chris Smith is hoping he has convinced manager Gary Mills to keep him in the team for Saturday’s home match with fellow high-fliers Braintree Town.

Smith had been an unused substitute in City’s previous five matches prior to Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Stockport, where he was recalled as centre-back as David McGurk served a one-match suspension.

The former Mansfield defender lost his place in the team after giving away two penalties in last month’s 2-1 defeat at his former club Tamworth with Jamal Fyfield taking over alongside McGurk in the heart of City’s defence.

With McGurk now available again, Mills will need to decide which of his players misses out against Braintree.

Daniel Parslow, who lost out to Smith in the contest to replace McGurk, is also still hoping to be considered for central-defensive duties after fulfilling a midfield cameo role at Edgeley Park.

Commenting on his return to the side, Smith said: “The gaffer decided to drop me and a couple of other players after the Tamworth match because I wasn’t playing particularly well.

“After that, the team started winning games and, while no footballer likes to be dropped, you have to accept the manager’s decision, train hard and get behind the boys.

“I’m not somebody who sits on the bench and doesn’t want the team to win just because I’m not playing.”

Smith added: “While I’ve not been playing, Jamal and TY (McGurk) have been different class at the back.

“Barring injury, not being in the team and having to watch from the bench or in the stands is the worst thing in football, but I’ve just had to wait for my opportunity and, while I’d never wish injury, suspension or poor form on anybody, I knew I had to be ready to play again whether that took one week or six weeks.

“You know then it’s up to you to take your chance. I was happy that the gaffer went with me instead of Pars and I knew I had to put things right for him, my team-mates and the fans and I thought I defended well and did my job.

“I want to play every game but just because I’m captain, as I said in pre-season, it doesn’t mean the gaffer will play me every week, which has clearly been proven.

“Nobody’s place is safe here and that’s how it should be because it shows our strength in depth.”

While pleased with Saturday’s win, Smith, pictured right, admitted that Stockport’s late consolation goal left him irritated at the final whistle.

He added: “Their goal was very disappointing because, if it had happened five or ten minutes earlier, they might have pushed for a second. That goal meant we were a bit deflated going back into the dressing room and it felt a bit like we’d only drawn or been beaten but that’s a sign of the high standards we want at the club.

“We want to go up as champions and, if you are going to do that, you have to keep clean sheets because we know that, if we do, we have players like Matty Blair, Ash Chambers and obviously Jason Walker who are on fire and can score us goals.”