YORK City skipper Chris Smith will take a painkilling injection to play in tomorrow’s home match with Aldershot.
Smith is currently nursing a foot injury but, like fellow centre-back David McGurk who has recovered after being stretchered off with a neck problem at Cheltenham last weekend, is expected to declare himself fit.
The 31-year-old defender is City’s only ever-present outfield player this term and is unlikely to blemish that record tomorrow.
On his condition, Minstermen chief Gary Mills said: “Chris Smith has had an x-ray on his foot because we thought he might have a little stress fracture, but we don’t think that’s the case and he should be okay with an injection if tomorrow’s game is on. David McGurk is fine as well.”
Mills pointed out that the team’s training schedule has not suffered greatly this week with the players being put through their paces at the University of York and Clifton Moor’s Roko site.
“We’ve managed to get a good sweat on, put on some good sessions and do what we can,” Mills added.
Mills will be able to call upon the services of new striker Ben Everson after the club received international clearance for the Middlesbrough-born 25-year-old yesterday.
The former West Texas A&M University and Icelandic premier division forward would be a likely candidate for the bench, with Mills insisting his first transfer window signing represents great value for money.
“We’ve been looking for players in Ben’s position and I asked people I know in the game who was available and his name was mentioned because he was out of contract at his club in Iceland,” Mills said.
“It took him a couple of weeks to get sharp but, over the last fortnight, he’s been excellent and any manager who had seen him with us over the last month would have taken him on.
“I would have been daft not to. He could have got a lot more money in Iceland, but is desperate to do well in this country.
“I wish I could get everyone on the same small contract as Ben because it keeps players hungry.
“People might be saying ‘who is he?’, but he has the potential to be an excellent player for us.”
Mills remains optimistic about bringing two more players to the club next week, but his plans to cast an eye over a clutch of League of Ireland trialists have been thwarted this week.
One of the players is out-of-contract 22-year-old Derry City striker David McDaid, but Mills said: “After the Sunderland game was postponed, we had planned for the trialists to stay on for a game against Scunthorpe on Tuesday but I don’t see much point in doing that now as that game might not get played either so we are still just monitoring them at the moment.”
A victory over Aldershot this weekend would move the Minstermen ten points clear of the fourth-bottom side, but Mills does not believe the Hampshire outfit are an easy proposition having won their last three games and lost only once on the road in eight fixtures.
The City boss added: “They’ve picked up over the last few weeks and have had some big results so it will be a tough game but one that, if we win, puts a bit of space between us and them.”
With Alex Rodman unable to play against his parent club, Ashley Chambers and Michael Coulson both still sidelined and fellow flanksters John McReady and Oli Johnson short of match fitness, Mills would also contemplate whether to retain the 4-1-3-2 formation that he employed from the start at Cheltenham.
The City manager said: “I would consider playing it again because it worked quite well. We’ve talked about going that way before because we have switched to it two or three times.
“We were forced into it a little bit last week when Alex Rodman was injured in training, but the players adapted really well.”