York City: Chris Smith interview

Upon signing for Mansfield Town, Chris Smith was asked where was the nicest placed he'd lived. It wasn't Mansfield.

Instead it was former home York to where another permanent move may be in the offing – granted the small matter of fatherhood first!

Smith is back for a second spell at the club he played 88 games for between 2001 and 2004, a period in his life where York was also his hometown.

Life began in Derby for the midfielder and despite a career that has also taken him to Reading, Stafford, Worcester, Tamworth and Mansfield, off the field it was his early days at York that the 5ft 10in ace enjoyed the best.

Now Smith is back for a second spell at Bootham Crescent – on loan until at least the new year – and with manager Gary Mills having made him captain, it's fair to say a more permanent stay could be on the cards.

And so could relocation from Staffordshire to Yorkshire, City's new skipper describing the Knavesmire city as "gorgeous" and not ruling out a permanent return.

"I had three lovely years at York," Smith told Yorkshire Sport.

"I loved York and I got asked the question when I was at Mansfield, 'where's the nicest place you've ever lived?'.

"Actually I did say York as the city itself is gorgeous and I was more than happy to come here when I found out their interest.

"Obviously I spoke to Gary Mills and I was delighted to get something

sorted out."

On a permanent move back up north, he added: "I suppose it's a bit too difficult because I am only on loan until January.

"Then we're going to see what we can do from there.

"Obviously if I do sign a longer deal then I would possibly consider moving up, but at the minute it's not really an option. I've got a baby on the way at the end of the season and I don't really want to look at moving just for the sake of it!

"Hopefully, I can carry on doing well and the club can move forward and hopefully I am part of that.

"But I'm not going to make a decision on moving just yet until I know if there's anything there in the future or not."

The prospects of Smith and York's future coming together and of that future being a success look good with the Minstermen rocketing up the table since new manager Mills' arrival.

Smith was the former Tamworth manager's first signing, the two having been together for two years with the Lambs, and York's new captain admits being back at the club and under Mills is personally an ultimate combo.

"I know him as much as you know any manager really," said Smith of

Mills, recently named Blue Square Premier's manager of the month for November.

"I wouldn't say I know him inside out but I've got a lot of respect for him.

"I like the way he does things in training and in the games, I know how passionate he is and what he wants from a player.

"Obviously he knows me and he knows my qualities and my faults as well and it's nice for one that it's him who is manager, but also with it being at York."

And matters off the field aren't bad either, Smith five months away from being a first-time father with a wedding likely to be on the horizon as well.

"The baby is due the last week of the season actually and it's the first one," said Smith.

"I'm delighted and I am at that age now, nearly 30, and now people are going on about me marrying the girl! We'll wait and see about that one but I'm delighted."

All is well in the world of Chris Smith and now all that remains is to seal a return back to the Football League, where it all began for him at Bootham Crescent back in 2001.

A tall order lies next on the agenda with Saturday's eagerly-awaited return to Luton and the Minstermen remain nearer the bottom of Blue Square Premier than the top. But Smith has a quiet confidence that a play-off berth is yet within reach.

"This is a very, very good squad and I think if you asked probably every one of the players where we should be, it would be in the top six at least," said Smith.

"I knew within about three or four days of being at this club, you can work players out and I think they know they have underachieved.

"We've obviously had a poor start but we've just got to take one game at a time really and not get over-confident.

"The gaffer with his formation ...we are nearly there. We're not perfect yet but we are getting the hang of it and you never know.

"We're eight points off the play-offs and there are loads of games left.

"We're not even at the halfway stage yet."

Smith's second spell at York you sense, too, has only just begun.

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