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City braced for Avenue test

By Ian Appleyard | 10th August 2017

Gary Mills believes York City's trip to Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday afternoon will be another test of his side's mentality.

Although the two clubs played each other regularly in the Football League during the 1950s and 1960s, this will be City's first visit to the Horsfall Stadium and a first meeting between the clubs in 48 years.

City manager Mills, whose side secured a 2-0 win at Blyth Spartans on Tuesday night, was in the stands on Monday night when Park Avenue lost 2-1 at home to Southport.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash, Mills said: "I went to watch them. We know what they are about. There are a few players there who have played under me before so I know about them. But it's about how we go into the game.

"We will go to a ground where a lot of players won't have been before - with a running track around the pitch," he said. "It's another mental test, going to a different environment.

"We go there with a win and want to back that up with another win," he said. "I have said from Day One, we are going to be tested at a lot of different grounds. There will be a lack of atmosphere at certain grounds and we have got to show what we are about.

"It's an old cliche but good players can play anywhere. My players have to show that they are good players whatever the environment."

Southport manager Alan Lewer - a friend of City manager Mills - has pointed out that the dressing rooms may come as a surprise.

"My mate is the manager of Southport," said Mills. "He was telling me about the dressing rooms. He says they are like bunkers from the war. They are underground - so make sure your players are prepared for that!

"There's no point moaning about everything. We have got ourselves into this league. We have to go and handle it and get out of it. We have to stay in there by winning on Saturday. We have to make sure that, after the first half dozen games, we are not too far off the pace, if not up there ourselves.

"We have got to back up a win with another win. It's massive. Good teams keep winning. It's easy to lose. Like Chelsea last year. That's why they won the league. Because they are mentally strong enough to keep winning," he said.

Mills, meanwhile, hopes that striker Michael Rankine will be fit to return to action after missing the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury. Striker Jon Parkin is rated only 50-50 due to a calf injury suffered against Blyth.

Asked about Parkin, Mills said: "His calf is a little bit sore so he's going to be touch and go on Saturday. But Michael is with the physio today working to, hopefully, train with us tomorrow (Friday).

"Parky is sort of 50-50 at the moment," he added. "If he's not right, we won't risk him. If Ranks is back, obviously it's one for one there. But Kaine (Felix) did well when he came on at Blyth and Connor (Smith) did too - so we have got options."

Watch the video interview with the Gaffer below:

 

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