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York City: Duane Courtney interview

Don't look back in anger! That's the defiant message of new recruit Duane Courtney who insists York City have to push memories of the play-off final defeat to one side and concentrate on getting promoted this time around.

A 3-1 defeat to Oxford United at Wembley Stadium in mid-May condemned the Minstermen to a seventh consecutive season in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

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Apart from Ben Purkiss – who upped sticks for League football with Oxford – there have been no other major departures from Bootham Crescent and boss Martin Foyle has simply added quality to his squad.

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Courtney and former Altrincham centre-half Greg Young become the first purchases of the summer – with Courtney joining from Kidderminster Harriers.

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The 25-year-old is a right-back and he watched the play-off final defeat and insists the expectations this season are to better the previous campaign.

"I'm delighted to have the chance to join York," he said.

"There is a strong team here and I hope we are going to do well.

"We want to do better than last season which had a disappointing end.

"I did watch the play-off final and it was disappointing because it wasn't a fair representation of York's season.

"With Kidderminster last season, we played them twice and they were both tough games.

"But, we can't dwell on it, we have to move on and hopefully improve on last season and the only way we can do that is by going up.

"That is my intention – going up.

"I'm sure that's the outlook of the other players.

"It's my intention at the minute but I'm not going to say we'll definitely do it because there is long way to go.

"It's a tough league and it's hard to get out of. We have a good team with experience and a little bit of everything.

"I'm raring to go."

Birmingham-born Courtney began his football career at AFC Telford United in the UniBond First Division in 2004 and after scooping all the main prizes at the end of season awards, he attracted attention from league clubs.

And it was Championship outfit Burnley who stumped up 25,000 for his signature.

His stay at Turf Moor lasted a year as after a handful of appearances, he was transfer listed. Eventually he was released and decided to cross the Welsh border and join Welsh Premier League side TNS and during three years there, he appeared in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stage.

Last summer he left TNS and moved back to Birmingham with Kidderminster and after some impressive displays, Courtney caught the eye of Foyle.

It's now been four years since he last appeared in the Football League and he admits playing in the league again is one of his future aims.

"The league is something I have always wanted to return to," he said.

"I've had a few blips in my career, but I don't talk about them now.

"It's my decision-making that has put me in the predicament of playing in the Conference.

"I've not taken the right advice.

"But, it's all in the past and I'm now looking forward to playing for York.

"My objectives are to get in the team and also do well in the league."

Courtney has also gone on record to praise Foyle.

He's been impressed by what the York boss has achieved at Bootham Crescent in his 18 months in charge.

Before signing his contract, Courtney spoke to his contacts in the footballing world to discover more about him and was pleased with the responses he received.

He was also witnessed the togetherness of the York squad last season during the games against Kidderminster along with the play-off final and believes he is joining a team ripe for promotion.

He said: "I met Martin Foyle a couple of times before signing and he's a nice guy.

"I've researched him and been told good things about him.

"He's a top bloke and I'm glad to be working with him.

"One of the reasons is because of the character and spirit he has created within the side.

"The way he has bonded the players as a collective is fantastic."

Courtney is set to fill the void vacated by Purkiss and is looking forward to next week when the players turn up for the start of pre-season training.

The defender has three weeks to stake his initial claim before the first friendly on July 17 against Hull City at Bootham Crescent.

Hull is the first of six fixtures scheduled as warm-up matches ahead of the big kick-off in August.

Courtney, who is Birmingham-based, will move up to York and live in one of houses the club began renting last July.

He joins three other players in the digs and does not expect to be seeing the sights of York via long distance running which Foyle had his troops doing last summer.

But, Courtney is anticipating plenty of training ground work and will be looking to impress as quickly as possible.

"I'm here to do a job, but I'm not going to take anything for granted," he added.

"I hope I get straight into the team but I will have to earn the right.

"Pre-season is to come first and anything can happen. Currently I'm enjoying the break, doing a little bit of gym work and also some running.

"Luckily I'm not one to put on weight. When we go back, I don't expect take part in all running sessions as the game has changed. It is the old school that do pure running.

"There will be a lot more ball work which will be game related. "

And Courtney does not envisage any problems arising from house sharing.

"It's going to be difficult having to move up from Birmingham," he said.

"I've not done it before, but I'm not one to fall out with fellow players, I always get on well with them."

 
 
 

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