FORMER York City striker Ben Hirst is joining Northern Counties East League side Pickering Town for pre-season training.

Manager Paul Marshall is hoping to revive the fortunes of the teenager who was released by the Minstermen this summer.

Hirst, now 18, made his Football League debut two years ago and played five times at York under former manager Nigel Worthington.

He had struggled for first team opportunities in the wake of Worthington's departure and spent a period on loan at Scarborough Athletic last season.

Marshall said: "Ben is without a club after being released by York and he is coming here to see if he can get his 'mojo' back. He is still a young lad and hopefully we will get him to start enjoying his football again,"

Hirst, who is 6ft tall, first shot to attention as a member of the York and District under-13 side that won the English Schools Football Association Inter-Association Trophy in 2011.

He was only 16 when he made his senior debut for York against Tranmere Rovers and made the last of his five substitute appearances just under a month later at Barnsley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

"As a young boy, York thought he was very good. Unfortunately, it's not quite worked out for him," added Marshall. "Hopefully, we can get him to the level required for the NCE Premier League."

Former York City and Tadcaster Albion midfielder Nick Thompson, meanwhile, became the latest addition to the Pikes squad at the end of last week.

Thompson was previously Marshall's captain at Tadcaster but struggled for fitness last season after damaging ankle ligaments in pre-season.

"He is a box-to-box player who scores goals and I have always liked his attitude and commitment," said Marshall. "He was out of action for most of last season so the key thing is going to be keeping him fit - but he played games on loan for Selby at the end of last season and everything was fine."

With both Ryan Blott and Tony Hackworth also arriving in the last two weeks, there was a number of fresh faces on the pitch yesterday when Pickering returned for pre-season training.

A fifth player, who has not been named, has also expressed a desire to join the club but is still considering rival offers.

Pickering officials attended the League’s Annual General Meeting at the Royal Hotel in Scarborough last weekend.

The Pikes have landed a bye in the League Cup until the third round for the second successive season.

The club will play four new teams in the Premier Division this season - Harrogate Railway, who have been relegated, and the promoted teams AFC Mansfield, Hemsworth Miners Welfare, and Bottersford Town.