WITH the credit crunch showing no signs of relenting, any “two for the price of one” bargains should not be sniffed at.

York City manager Martin Foyle’s nose for a good deal has taken him to former club Wrexham in recent times with Christian Smith and Simon Brown joining Dragons’ team-mate Kyle Critchell at KitKat Crescent this week.

The loan agreements for Critchell and Brown mean the Minstermen are only paying half their wages with Wrexham footing the difference, effectively meaning Foyle benefits from two new bodies for the average cost of one Blue Square Premier loan signing.

In the light of today’s financial figures released by City, exploiting his Welsh contacts would seem to represent shrewd business by Foyle, while also helping the KitKat Crescent club compete with a budget that Foyle claimed is among the “lowest eight in the division” at Thursday night’s York Minstermen fans’ forum.

On the pitch, former Mansfield striker Brown believes that familiar faces will also hasten the customary bedding-in process for Foyle’s latest additions.

He said: “It’s great having Kyle and Christian here and I also know Scholesy (Simon Russell) from Kidderminster. It helps you settle in.”

Brown spent six months of 2004 playing alongside Russell, whose comparisons to Manchester United and former England international Paul have been largely limited to the colour of his hair this season.

The 25-year-old forward believes that City’s “Scholesy”, contracted to the club until the summer of 2010, can still prove his worth to the Minstermen, however, after a difficult start to his KitKat Crescent career.

Brown is also just as complimentary about his Wrexham pals, saying: “Kyle is very versatile. He can play at right-back or in midfield and is good on the ball.

“Christian’s a tough-tackling midfielder who breaks play up and also likes to get in the box and get his headers in. Having played with Scholesy in the past, he’s a very good player technically and I’ve already seen flashes of his quality again in training this week.

“He has two good feet and can score a goal. I felt he did well when he played for York at Wrexham earlier this season and could have had a couple of goals.”

Brown added that working under former Wrexham coach Foyle again makes his move to KitKat Crescent even more appealing.

He said: “The manager likes to play football and gives you confidence. He wants you to express yourself on the ball and is a really nice person who you want to give your best for.”

The former West Brom trainee, whose contract at the Racecourse Ground runs until the end of next season, has joined City after a loan spell at Rushden where he was disappointed to only make two appearances.

While capable of playing on the wing, Brown scored 12 goals for Mansfield during the 2005/6 season and considers himself a striker primarily.

His opportunities in attack have been limited in Wales, though, due to the free-scoring form of Jefferson Lewis (12 league goals) and Marc Williams (11).

About his lack of game action since Dean Saunders’ arrival as manager in October, Brown reasoned: “I haven’t really figured but Marc and Jeff have been scoring and playing very well so I couldn’t really argue with being out of the team.

“I’ve just had to keep my head down and I haven’t talked to the manager about next season. For now, I’m buzzing at getting the opportunity of some game time at York.”

Ahead of this afternoon’s home match with Lewes, Brown has already played at KitKat Crescent this season as a member of the Wrexham side that lost 1-0 to Colin Walker’s Minstermen back in August.

That result meant City had started their campaign with back-to-back wins but that momentum was subsequently lost and the club’s latest signing confessed he has been taken aback by the team’s slide since, but feels victories in the next two league games – against Lewes and Eastbourne – could quickly paint a rosier picture.

He told the Diary: “York looked a solid team when they beat us 1-0 and I’m a bit surprised at where they are in the table but that can soon change.

“In this division, you can win two games and be looking at the play-offs or lose two and be heading for trouble.”

City cash boost

York Minstermen have presented City manager Martin Foyle with a cheque for £1,000, raised by the supporters’ group selling programmes and raffle tickets at reserve and youth-team games this season.

Third degree for hot-shot Brodie

RICHARD Brodie has moved up to third in the Press Player of the Year standings.

Top scorer Brodie was our second-highest rated player during the 2-1 FA Trophy victory at Oxford on Tuesday night, bagging himself two points towards the standings to leave him only trailing top two David McGurk and Danny Parslow.

Other points towards the contest were collected by man-of-the-match Daniel McBreen (three) and Darren Kelly (one).

Brodie also received the two bonus points of offer towards the Player of the Month award, having polled the most Oxford man-of-the-match votes from visitors to our website.

Press Player of the Year latest standings: McGurk 26 points, Parslow 22, Brodie 18, Purkiss 18, Greaves 15, Robinson 13, McBreen 10, Rusk 10, Ingham 9, Sodje 9, Smith 7, Hogg 5, Holmes 5, Kelly 5, Farrell 4, McWilliams 4, Dyer 3, Russell 3.

Press Player of the Month for January latest standings: McGurk 5, Brodie 4, Kelly 3, McBreen 3, Smith 1.

Goals: Brodie 11, Sodje 6, McBreen 5, Farrell 3, Greaves 3, own goal 2, Smith 2, Wilkinson 2, Holmes 1, Purkiss 1, Robinson 1.

Assists: Purkiss 6, McBreen 5, Farrell 4, Rusk 4, Sodje 4, Brodie 2, Hogg 2, McGurk 2, McWilliams 2, Bore 1, Dyer 1, Greaves 1, Ingham 1, Parslow 1, Smith 1.

Bad boys: Brodie 1 red card, 7 yellows; Rusk 5 yellows; Greaves, Robinson both 4 yellows; McBreen 3 yellows; Hogg, Holmes, Kelly, McGurk all 2 yellows; Farrell, McWilliams, Parslow, Wilkinson all 1 yellow.