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Burton Albion’s John McGrath: York City loan move is a chance for me to get fit

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 12, 2013

Burton Albion vs Rotherham United at the Pirelli Stadium
John McGrath

Burton Albion vs Rotherham United at the Pirelli Stadium John McGrath

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BURTON Albion captain John McGrath is keen to get back playing football after joining York City on loan for a month.

The 32-year-old was torn between staying with the Brewers and moving to Bootham Crescent, but chose to go out on loan on Monday night.

The Brewers stalwart, who has made more than 200 appearances for the club and was part of the Conference-winning side, has struggled to win his place back this season after a serious foot injury.

“I chatted to the gaffer (Gary Rowett) and he said York were interested and would I like to go there,” said the Irishman. “He said he didn’t really want me to go because he needed me around.

“But because I’ve been here for six years he left it to me.

“We had a good, long chat and I feel it would be best for all parties if I went to get some games.”

McGrath, who formed a title-winning central midfield partnership with Michael Simpson, damaged a ligament in his foot against Swindon Town almost a year ago.

He needed an operation which ruled him out for eight months.

“This move will help me get fit,” he said. “Initially, the excitement of coming back and training with the lads got me through the first few weeks.

“Then I sat on the bench for five or six weeks.

“Every player wants to play and I think I’ve shown in my time here that I’m not one to be happy sat on the sidelines.

“It was frustrating for me, but I couldn’t go and knock on the door and say ‘why aren’t I playing?’

“I understand why, and I’m a pro.

“I always want Burton to do well, whether I’m playing or not.”

Now, McGrath is looking to impress, with the Brewers set to keep a close eye on his progress during the run-in.

“I’m really excited to be playing in front of a crowd again,” he said. “I’ve come to play games for York and want to do well for the club.

“I want to play as many as I can in a month and we’ll take it from there after that.”

Rowett was reluctant to let McGrath go out on loan, but agreed to the move with the excellent form of midfield duo Robbie Weir and Lee Bell in mind.

“We had a couple of enquiries from League Two clubs,” he said. “I’ve done this reluctantly, in a way, because characters like Macca are the sort of people I want around the club.

“I had hoped a chance would present itself for John to come back in, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

“He’s been out a long time and he needs some competitive football.

“I want competition for places, but don’t want people sat on the sidelines not getting any football at all.”

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