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York City's Matty Blair primed for return to midfield
12:00pm Friday 9th November 2012 in Sport
MATTY Blair is likely to return to his attacking midfield role following the loan arrival of Alex Rodman at York City.
Former Kidderminster winger Blair has played on the right flank for City’s last three games – all draws – following Michael Coulson’s cruciate knee ligament injury.
But, with Aldershot forward Rodman expected to make his debut in tomorrow’s League Two home match against AFC Wimbledon, Blair could be restored to his previous position.
City boss Gary Mills believes Blair – last season’s leading marksman with 20 goals who also has four to his name this term – can be just as potent in the slightly deeper role.
Paddy McLaughlin looks the likely candidate to drop out of the team should Mills settle on the reshuffle although the City boss is also carefully monitoring Scott Kerr eight appearances into his comeback after seven months sidelined with cruciate knee ligament damage.
Minstermen chief Mills said: “We brought Alex in because he gives us a good attacking option and it could also give us the opportunity to move Matty Blair into midfield, where he did superbly well for us.
“He can still score goals and be a big threat from there and his goal on Tuesday was superb, running from a deep central position.
“We all know how difficult one-on-one chances can be but he took his goal superbly well.”
Rodman, 25, will be ineligible for Monday’s FA Cup replay at AFC Wimbledon having been signed after the original date for the first round tie.
But that will not dissuade Mills from handing him his debut in tomorrow’s contest with the City boss pointing out that the pair’s experiences working together for two full seasons at Tamworth should prove beneficial, adding: “He’s an exciting player with a great work ethic who can go past a defender, cross a good ball and score goals. He also knows me and how my teams play.
“He knows the system, as Chris Smith did when he came here from Tamworth.
“I’ve told him we play exactly the same and that he will have the same job in the same position, which he knows all about so that’s a bonus.”
Only long-term injury casualties Coulson and John McReady will be unavailable for the latest meeting with the Wombles, and Danny Kearns is likely to be fit despite missing training yesterday with a minor groin problem.
Mills believes that a win tomorrow should see City, currently a point adrift of the play-off places, climb into that top seven.
Torquay, Rochdale and Burton – the three teams directly above tenth-placed City – are all playing away fixtures this weekend and Mills said: “I thought before Tuesday’s game that we would go into the top seven with a win and I was right.
“I think that will be the case again tomorrow so that’s a big incentive for three points.”
The City boss insists his team’s task will be made no easier, however, by a punishing schedule for Wimbledon that has seen Neil Ardley’s men make a midweek trip to Exeter following last weekend’s first trek to North Yorkshire.
He said: “I hope it will be a factor but I don’t think so.
“Travelling and getting your mindset right are part and parcel of your job as a professional footballer.
“I’m sure their coaching staff will have been getting the right balance between travelling, playing and resting as we are doing.”