Centre-back Chris Doig is aiming to rebuild his career with York City. He tells DAVE FLETT how he ended up at the Bootham Crescent outfit.

NORTHAMPTON Town’s loss could be York City’s gain after former Nottingham Forest centre-back Chris Doig chose Bootham Crescent over the League Two strugglers.

Doig was offered a one-month deal by his old club Northampton last week after being released by Aldershot, but the 30-year-old defender was reluctant to risk being without a team for the rest of the season once his short-term contract was up.

City boss Gary Mills, therefore, swiftly jumped in to give the ex-Scotland under-21 international an opportunity to join his team until the end of the campaign.

Cobblers chief Aidy Boothroyd, whose bottom-of-the-table side are fighting relegation to the Blue Square Bet Premier, must now hope that he does not live to rue that decision.

Twelve months ago, Lincoln allowed club captain Scott Kerr to sign for the Minstermen and many at Sincil Bank still point to that transfer as a major factor in the club’s subsequent relegation from the Football League.

Kerr went on to become one of City’s most consistent performers in 2011 and Doig will now be hoping to have a similar impact.

He said: “The gaffer here tried to sign me before, but I had already given my word to Dean Holdsworth at Aldershot. I was there for a couple of months, but my contract finished and that was it.

“I was then training at Northampton last week and they offered me a contract and wanted me to play in their game last weekend. The manager wanted to throw me straight in but was only offering me a month’s deal.

“If I had played for two different league teams in the same season, I wouldn’t be able to move to a third so I could have been out of work for four months.

“I couldn’t take that gamble and I don’t think you can expect anybody to. Northampton had signed Clarke Carlisle who the manager admitted was his number one target but he was still interested in taking me for a month.

“The gaffer here then offered me a longer deal and it’s always nice when somebody shows faith in you. I had no hesitation in coming here when I spoke to him and heard what his ambitions are for the club.

“Having played for Nottingham Forest, I know all about what he has done in his career and I’m hoping to learn from him. My career’s been a bit stop-start for the last year but, hopefully, I will be back in the shop window now.

“First and foremost though, I’ve got to get in the team and then stay in it.”

Doig left Northampton in 2009 to play two seasons in Australia for Central Coast Mariners and, having seen his chances of making his City debut on Saturday wiped out by the cold snap, admitted he never missed the weather on these shores.

Since returning to this country, the 6ft 2in tall defender has also been annoyed by the dismissive attitude shown towards football down under.

“Being in Australia, people haven’t seen me for two years and, speaking to different clubs, that has gone against me,” Doig explained.

“People think it’s an easy lifestyle sunning yourself on the beach and, while it is nice to have all that on your doorstep, the football is a lot better and more serious than people give it credit for over here.

“I would compare it to the top half of League One and the standard is improving all the time. There are a lot of high-profile coaches taking jobs there now. Jim Magilton’s over there and I played under Graham Arnold who I would go as far as saying is the best coach I’ve worked for. Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton have also gone back to play there now and the stadiums and facilities are great.

“People make judgements about the Australian game without knowing anything about it. I had that when I was speaking to somebody high up on the board at Northampton.

“When I told him how I had enjoyed it over there he said ‘but I bet the football was crap’. That was his automatic reaction and I found that very disrespectful because Northampton are struggling to stay in League Two.

“If the chance came again at some point in my career, I wouldn’t think twice about going back out there.”

By his own admission, Doig’s last 12 months have been a bit of a nightmare, however.

Last January, the Dumfries-born centre-back had hoped to gain permission to leave the Mariners two months before the end of the Australian season.

But, when that request was declined, he was left without a job at the end of February and unable to join a team in this country following the closure of the transfer window.

As a consequence, he took up the offer to play in Indonesia but, by the time their campaign had finished, it was the end of June and most English clubs had their squads in place for the new campaign.

On that experience, Doig said: “Rather than sit on my backside, I went to play in Indonesia. I wasn’t too keen to go there but it served its purpose because I got paid and played games for four months.

“But, because of when the season ended, it held me back in this country and I ended up without a club for five months. The football in Indonesia was not as high a standard either and, while I really enjoyed the games, it was a long four months pretty much on my own.

“There were no other Brits and, although the lads were really good to me and spoke near-perfect English, it’s a lot different over there. The club put me up in a really nice apartment in a big shopping mall but there’s only so many times you can walk around that without buying anything and outside wasn’t too nice.

“There’s a lot of poverty over there and the local players lived at the training ground where the accommodation wasn’t the best.”

City are currently targeting play-off success and, with Doig having never played at Wembley and only enjoyed one promotion campaign during his career, he is excited by the chance of a victorious day out at the national stadium, saying: “I was promoted with Northampton from League Two to League One and those were good times.

“Promotion to the division above is the ultimate goal at any club outside the Premier League and you work hard for that all season. If I can sample that again that would be great and playing at Wembley would also be a career highlight.

“I’ve been there a few times to watch games and it would be an amazing experience to play there. I’ve seen semi-finals, cup finals and watched Spurs there and even England, although I don’t tell many people that!”

Doig is certainly no stranger to the game’s most famous arenas, having made his debut in the Premier League at Old Trafford.

Recalling that occasion, he said: “That was a fantastic experience and you couldn’t ask for a better place to make your debut at the age of 17 than in front of 60,000 people against that treble-winning team. Ryan Giggs and David Beckham were both playing and I was up against Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when I came on for the last half hour.

“I was a bit nervous to be honest because Giggs had just made it 3-0 and I didn’t want them to rack up more goals when I went on, but the score stayed the same so I can’t have done too badly. I suppose it was always going to be downhill from there really but it was a great learning experience to be on the same pitch as some of those players.”

Whether playing Manchester United or Ebbsfleet United, as he hopes to be in tomorrow’s rearranged FA Trophy third round tie, Doig’s footballing philosophy has always been the same.

“I’m just an honest guy and I pride myself on my professionalism in terms of doing things right and giving my all,” he said. “You’ll certainly hear me on the pitch and, while I will have bad games like everybody else, it won’t be for the want of trying and I’ll just move on to the next match.”