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Gaffer: 'Fantastic game' on cards

By Ian Appleyard | 9th February 2018

Manager Martin Gray expects loan signing Alex Pattison to rise to the challenge when leaders Salford City visit Bootham Crescent on Saturday in Vanarama National League North (kick-off 3pm).

The Middlesbrough midfielder, 20, is back at the club on loan for the rest of the season after his initial one-month deal expired on January 13.

Gray says 'big occasions' bring the best out of Pattison whose previous loan deal heralded the start of a five game winning run.

"He's with us now until the end of the season and it's another big signing," said Gray. "I must say a thankyou to Middlesbrough Football Club, especially Craig Liddle (Boro's Academy manager), who has gone over and above to make this happen for us.

“We have a very good relationship there - from our chairman through to their chief executive - and they have stood by their word that, if nobody came in for him before deadline day closes, he could come back to York. We are very thankful for that.

"He gave us a great injection of energy and desire to change a game. He was great and we have missed him, no question about that. We have also picked some good results up while he has been away.

“He came here with a carefree attitude and it was great to see somebody come out of the Academies who didn't let what was happening in the stands concern him," added Gray. "The bigger the occasion, the better he becomes - and this Saturday's game is the perfect environment for him to come back into the squad."

Leading marksman Jon Parkin is set to return to the line-up after missing the trip to Tamworth and Gray has also confirmed that he is still in the market for another striker.

Opponents Salford have a five point lead at the top of Vanarama National League North and a 15 point advantage over sixth-placed City.

Looking ahead to the game, Gray said:  "You want to challenge yourself against the top teams. Mentality and discipline will be important.

"We want to win the game, as Salford want to win the game. From a neutrals' point of view, it's set up for a fantastic game."

A bumper crowd is expected on Saturday afternoon and admission is 'pay on the turnstile'. There are no tickets on sale in advance.

Watch the full interview with Martin Gray by clicking the link below:

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