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Mills: I want Edgar Davids to worry about John McGrath
GARY Mills reckons Dutch legend Edgar Davids can be upstaged by York City’s new loan signing John McGrath at Bootham Crescent tomorrow.
Former AC Milan, Juventus and Barcelona star Davids, now player/head-coach at Barnet, will line up in midfield against the Minstermen for an important League Two encounter.
But Mills will not be assigning any of his players with the task of stopping the ex-Holland international.
Instead, he believes McGrath can cause Davids, who won 74 caps for his country, one or two problems of his own.
On Davids’ North Yorkshire outing, Mills said: “He will keep the game simple and won’t want the players around him complicating things either. He’s played quite a few games for them now so he’ll be fit and he’s an excellent player.
“But tomorrow’s not about Edgar Davids and stopping him. It’s about York City v Barnet.
“I don’t want to worry about him. I want Edgar Davids to worry about John McGrath because he was excellent for us the other night.”
Mills added that he would not be comparing European Cup medals with his rival tomorrow.
The City chief remains the youngest-ever winner of the competition as an 18-year-old member of the Nottingham Forest side that conquered the continent and beat Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg in the 1980 final.
Davids, meanwhile, was a Champions League victor with Ajax against Milan in 1995 but Mills said: “I respect him big- time as a player for what he’s done in the game, but it won’t be about our medals tomorrow no matter how proud of them we are.
“I was only watching the Manchester United game the other night at the Bernabeu and that brought back great memories because that’s where we won the final with Forest. But we are both managers now and will just be concentrating on winning the game for our clubs.”
Mills confirmed, meanwhile, that on-loan striker Michael Rankine will start tomorrow following his second debut for the club during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Gillingham.
The 6ft 3in striker has seen little action for parent club Aldershot this season but the City manager believes he is capable of putting in back-to-back 90-minute shifts.
He also added that a permanent return to Bootham Crescent could not be ruled out if the Doncaster-born forward maintains the standards he displayed in midweek.
“Michael Rankine looked fitter than anybody to me the other night,” Mills reasoned. “He worked very, very hard.
“His downfall throughout his career has been that he has not worked hard enough to put in a shift every game.
“At 28, I have brought him back on the proviso that he works like he did on Tuesday night in every game and he will play in every game then.
“The goals will also come if he does that and he will be doing a lot for the team. I think I am good for him – I really do – but he can’t be putting 50 per cent effort into games and has got to be totally committed.
“If he is then, who knows, that could keep him at York City. He’s telling me that’s what he wants and has said that he wished he’d never left here.”
Mills is also hoping that Rankine can improve the team’s fortunes in front of goal.
The Minstermen have netted just twice in their last five matches and not once from open play in that time.
Mills added: “We have got to start taking chances and getting some wins under our belts.
“We’ve not got to be afraid to miss and have got to get in that box and gamble.
“If the ball goes flying over the bar and ends up in Leeds so be it but let’s be positive and then one might go in off somebody’s backside from a shot on the edge of the box.
“As much as I keep saying the points have been great for us, which they have because they are the reason we are eight clear of Barnet, three points would be absolutely fantastic and would bring a big smile to my face.
“It’s a six-pointer, I suppose, because the difference between a win and a defeat is massive. It’s the difference between an 11-point gap and a five-point one.”
Mills is currently resisting making further reinforcements, having now got five loan players on his books – the full quota that can play in any match – but he added: “If something else happens injury wise at the back, we might be forced into the loan market again.”