A RECOMMENDATION from former England manager Steve McClaren played a role in convincing York City to offer Martin Gray the chance to become Minstermen boss.

Gray, 46, quit Quakers today to take charge at York, replacing Gary Mills who was sacked last night, with Dave Penney taking a sporting director role.

McClaren is a friend of Gray’s and took Darlington's training for a session during pre-season.

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York chairman and owner Jason McGill has now revealed that York-born former Middlesbrough manager McClaren recommended Gray to him.

He explained to York’s website: “Before appointing Martin, we spoke to a number of leading figures in the game who have the best interests of York City at heart.

“One of those was Steve McClaren who felt York City should give serious consideration to appointing Martin Gray - if and when they were ever looking for a new manager.

“After speaking to Martin, I was immediately impressed with his views on football management. He is ambitious and talented and I feel he deserves an opportunity at a full-time club that has serious ambitions to return to the EFL.”

Penney was Darlington boss 2006-09 with Gray as No. 2.

McGill added: “We need a new approach at the football club.

“We need to work hard, entertain our supporters, be professional and, most importantly, win games.

“In Martin Gray, we have identified a manager who has consistently achieved impressive results without the benefit of the resources and infrastructure that he will have at his disposal here.”

After leaving Darlington Penney went to Oldham for a year and has since managed at Bristol Rovers and worked as assistant to Phil Brown at Southend United.

His most recent role was as director of football at Guiseley.

Dave is someone with an abundance of experience at various levels of the game, who understands scouting and recruitment, and who has excellent contacts in the game,” added McGill.

“He will be responsible for the overall performance of the various sporting departments at the football club.

“For clarity, I can confirm that the sporting director will not pick the team,” McGill said. “He will ‘assist’ but not lead training or determine tactics. The manager will also have the final say on all signings.”