DAVID STOCKDALE relished his return to the York City first-team after keeping a clean sheet in the Emirates FA Cup goalless draw with Chester.

The York shot-stopper suffered an injury in August’s trip to Aldershot that has seen Stockdale side-lined for the last three months, working alongside physio Lewis Bulmer to be able to return to the squad.

Stockdale returned ahead of schedule and produced an impressive display away to Chester, claiming he made world-class saves after keeping the Seals at bay.

“The worst bit about it was getting up the stairs after the game!

“I’m fine, it’s great, even just getting on the bus with the lads again it’s a great feeling around it.

“The pre-match meal, those kind of anxious moments where you’re in the changing room. It’s the best feeling ever.

“I’m about two weeks early, which is a credit to Lewis and what he’s been doing.

“We’re taking everything step-by-step, the gaffer said ‘could you be back?’ and I said we’ll see this week.

“Everytime I walked in he said that I’ll either need a wheelchair or a massage, and I’ll take the massage!

“It was an absolute worldie of a save.

“I was asking for the gaffer to take me off! I actually got a touch to the last one down there, I’m glad I didn’t have much to do.

“I had a laugh with the ref at the start, he asked me if I wanted a touch of the ball and I just said that I didn’t want to see the ball at all.

“It’s a step in the right direction with results, we’re in the hat, you can see how hard the work has been and what the lads have been doing out-of-possession, they’re doing everything the gaffer asks.

“We stuck to a game plan and sometimes it’s not pretty, but you’ve got to defend your goal and do whatever you can.

“I hope it’s a bit of an incentive for the lads, it could be someone at our level or someone higher.

“It’s always an incentive that we could maybe sneak another round, but you could see how hard they worked as well.

“It’s not going to be an easy task, but we need to be confident, take the momentum of a clean sheet, the draw, we’re in the hat and should take it into Saturday.

“I was there at Chesterfield in the away stand and there were lots of questions, so be it, they have a right to ask.

“I was totally honest, we need a turnaround, we need to get the players back fit so the gaffer has a full contingency to choose from.

“You can see the fight with the lads, we might not be up to Chesterfield level yet but we have to keep churning it out and churning it out.

“We lacked a little bit of quality when we needed it, but if you keep a clean sheet then you are always in the game.

“We’re happy with that, we’ve got to take the positives because it has been tough.

“We’ve got to keep chalking it off, we can keep a clean sheet in the FA Cup so we’ve got to start doing it in the league.”

Stockdale also touched upon the arrival of goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy, and how he played a role in the shot-stopper’s arrival from Bradford (Park Avenue) last week, as well as how his job as Head of Recruitment is progressing.

“I went and watched George and said yes, the gaffer told me they were thinking about bringing in another goalkeeper and I said okay.

“That was it, there’s no ‘are you sure?’ or ‘are you okay about it?’.

“That’s what you need, I’m old enough and ugly enough to know that that is what happens in football, I’ve been in those situations.

“When George plays, I’ll support him, because when anyone plays for this football club I will support them.

“With injuries and things like that, the gaffer is doing a great job to keep turning the bodies out.

“I’ve been lucky, I’ve been doing my work and on a night when I’m not doing my extra training, I can sit and have a chat with the gaffer.

“I’ve been learning a lot, not just with recruitment, but I’ve been asking questions on management and what he thinks about certain situations.

“Who better than me and the goalkeeper coach to look at a goalkeeper.

“It’s not that I’m Head of Recruitment, it’s just a title, we’ve got a new guy starting on Monday that is Head of Data Analysis.

“He’ll be important to the club, hopefully we see the fruition in the back end of the season and in the Summer.

“I know it’s not what you want to tell fans, but honesty is the key and if they can see us trying then it’s like the chairman said on twitter.

“We may have made mistakes but it’s time to put things right.

“All we can do is be honest and keep trying.”