SKIPPER Chris Smith IS available for York City’s home clash with Bristol Rovers in npower League Two on Saturday.

Smith was cautioned during last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle – but the booking was not his fifth of the season, despite most published records suggesting otherwise.

He, therefore, avoids a one-match suspension and has until the December 31 cut-off point to escape a ban for reaching a nap hand of yellow cards.

Smith had his name taken for a strong challenge on Plymouth’s Paris Cowan-Hall during stoppage time in Devon as his team trailed 2-0 and it was an incident that annoyed manager Gary Mills.

“The gaffer wasn’t pleased with the yellow card but it was just instinct,” the City skipper reasoned. “I won the first ball but their winger then got it and was on a run.

“I felt I had to either bring him down or let him go through on goal in the hope that somebody might catch him. Maybe I made the wrong decision but it was a difficult one and I had a split-second to make my mind up.

“I’ve been pretty pleased with my discipline for a defender otherwise. Suspensions are always there of course and I want to play every game if I am fit and the manager chooses me. If I’m suspended, it will also mean I have to fight to win my place back.”

Should Smith get booked again before the end of the year, it could result in a recall for David McGurk, who has not made a senior appearance since January 1.

If that was to happen despite his lengthy lay-off, Smith believes McGurk would be ready to return, saying: “It’s a year since he last played and he’s had his problems with his knees, which has meant he’s struggled on hard surfaces a bit.

“But, in training, he’s fine and looks sharp. If the gaffer chooses TY (McGurk), everyone knows what sort of defender he is – a very good one.

“When I was playing with him, we had a good partnership so I don’t think it would be a problem if it was Pars back there, TY or whoever the manager chooses.”