York City boss lays down forward challenge as Knowles exits

York Press: Sponsors Benenden Healthcare with the York City management team at yesterday’s official team photocall. From left, Coach Des Lyttle; Neil Barnes, Benenden media manager; Minstermen manager Gary Mills; Benenden’s Lawrence Christensen and City's Darron Sponsors Benenden Healthcare with the York City management team at yesterday’s official team photocall. From left, Coach Des Lyttle; Neil Barnes, Benenden media manager; Minstermen manager Gary Mills; Benenden’s Lawrence Christensen and City's Darron

JASON Walker and Jamie Reed must prove to York City manager Gary Mills that there is no need for him to sign another striker for the new season.

With Mills releasing trialist Dominic Knowles, the Minstermen enter tonight’s final pre-season friendly at home to Sunderland with just Walker, Reed and the transfer-listed Liam Henderson as recognised centre forwards.

The City chief has been pleased with Reed’s form during the club’s warm-up matches over the last month and, although he feels Walker could have done better, will be in no rush to recruit a new attacker if the pair perform to their full capabilities against this evening’s Premier League visitors, kick-off 7.30pm.

Mills said: “I have released Dominic Knowles. I thought long and hard about it because he did well in little spells but have decided against offering him a contract.

“We might look to bring somebody else in now but it’s down to the players who are here really to tell me if I need to. Jason can play better than he has done in pre- season and he’s had a few months where he’s not been at his best.

“He knows that and everybody does because he’s a good player. I am sure that will come back but when Jamie Reed has come on, he’s looked sharp and done well for us.”

Ahead of the Sunderland game, Mills stressed that he has not yet settled on his side for Saturday’s Capital One Cup trip to Doncaster, providing a big incentive for everybody involved tonight.

He added: “In my mind, there’s people I want to play on Saturday but I certainly feel there’s places up for grabs – I really do. Everybody wants that shirt and their job is not to make my decision easy when it comes to the starting XI.

“We have in our minds who we are looking at but then certain things happen. Somebody might not perform for a couple of games or somebody might not look as sharp in training and somebody else who plays in that position does.

“That puts a doubt in your mind as to who you will play and that’s fantastic for me because it’s what football’s all about.”

Following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, Mills is also calling on greater concentration levels against Martin O’Neill’s Black Cats, saying: “There were a couple of things wrong on Saturday – the winning goal for them most of all.

“We did not stop the cross going in quickly enough or pick up on the edge of the box afterwards and we have to be better than that. These little things can actually be massive because it cost us the game against Middlesbrough.

“The higher you go up in football – and we’ve just been promoted – you are punished for lapses in concentration. That will certainly apply against Sunderland because they are a Premier League side.

“You have to be switched on, disciplined and a yard faster than your opposition. Hopefully, we will have learned that lesson from Saturday.”

Lanre Oyebanjo and Matty Blair remain sidelined with thigh injuries and, along with Scott Kerr and the returning David McGurk , will miss the start of the new campaign but Mills is confident the squad can contend with their absences.

He said: “You want to have everybody available but most people will be in the same boat. If you’ve got everybody fit for the start of the season then you’ve been very lucky.

“You always have to be prepared for injuries and suspensions and make sure you have cover until they come back and are fit and ready to go. It will be good to get them back but, although they are not fit to play, they are still a massive part of things because we are a big family here, working for each other and helping each other out.”

Sunderland are expected to send an under-21 development squad to Bootham Crescent with the Premier League club also having a further friendly at Derby County tomorrow.

Three players with first-team experience for the Black Cats – Ryan Noble, Craig Lynch and Louis Laing – are likely to feature, however, along with England under-19s keeper Jordan Pickford.

Blair Adams, Billy Knott and Adam Reed, who have all been loaned to Football League clubs in the past, are also poised to figure with reserve team manager Kevin Ball set to take charge for the night.

Comments (23)

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12:04pm Tue 7 Aug 12

JamesHinch says...

Should have gone for the Brodie loan deal.
Should have gone for the Brodie loan deal. JamesHinch

12:06pm Tue 7 Aug 12

harry dowker says...

Jason walker has only had two good games since the rune of form which ended in October! He looks lazy and only ever runs for balls that he know he won't get. We made a mistake when we didn't sign Shaw.
Jason walker has only had two good games since the rune of form which ended in October! He looks lazy and only ever runs for balls that he know he won't get. We made a mistake when we didn't sign Shaw. harry dowker

12:22pm Tue 7 Aug 12

Head of Bomber Command says...

JamesHinch wrote:
Should have gone for the Brodie loan deal.
Brodie couldn't hold up a Post Office never mind a ball.
[quote][p][bold]JamesHinch[/bold] wrote: Should have gone for the Brodie loan deal.[/p][/quote]Brodie couldn't hold up a Post Office never mind a ball. Head of Bomber Command

12:33pm Tue 7 Aug 12

PhilTopping says...

Doesn't matter how Gary phrases it, we're at least one forward down. Henderson is "transfer listed" and has barely played during the pre-season period. Reed isn't a good fit for Mills' 4-3-3 formation. That leaves Walker, in splendid isolation, as Mills' only option.

We need somebody in rapidly. Knowles was given a lot of pitch time but to a declining standard. Walker has now publicly been told that he needs to buck up his ideas. He's had a very poor 2012 thus far.

We need another striker who will actually make Walker move his gear stick out of neutral.
Doesn't matter how Gary phrases it, we're at least one forward down. Henderson is "transfer listed" and has barely played during the pre-season period. Reed isn't a good fit for Mills' 4-3-3 formation. That leaves Walker, in splendid isolation, as Mills' only option. We need somebody in rapidly. Knowles was given a lot of pitch time but to a declining standard. Walker has now publicly been told that he needs to buck up his ideas. He's had a very poor 2012 thus far. We need another striker who will actually make Walker move his gear stick out of neutral. PhilTopping

12:37pm Tue 7 Aug 12

nomadic85 says...

Bit harsh on Walker that, though it is true he was woefully off form for many games after he came back from injury. He has class, he just needs to find it more consistantly again. Reed's good form may help in threataning Walker's place in the team, which hasn't really happened since he arrived. Walker set the bar for himself very high in his first few months of the season, he shouldn't be punished for that!
Bit harsh on Walker that, though it is true he was woefully off form for many games after he came back from injury. He has class, he just needs to find it more consistantly again. Reed's good form may help in threataning Walker's place in the team, which hasn't really happened since he arrived. Walker set the bar for himself very high in his first few months of the season, he shouldn't be punished for that! nomadic85

12:40pm Tue 7 Aug 12

Fergie says...

Very much a concern that an out form walker who has not played that well since october and a fringe player in reed are the only recognised strikers we have going into the new season as a returning league club. Mills has missed out on a couple of targets he wanted to be fair to him but for me, we defo need a quality centre forward who can find the net regularly, worth spending a bit to sort this out seen as we aint spent any money this summer. Would love to see Andy Bishop back. Also noticed Billy Paynter is surplus at Leeds and ironicaly wanted by Donny. Would be pretty prolific in league two if we could afford him.
Very much a concern that an out form walker who has not played that well since october and a fringe player in reed are the only recognised strikers we have going into the new season as a returning league club. Mills has missed out on a couple of targets he wanted to be fair to him but for me, we defo need a quality centre forward who can find the net regularly, worth spending a bit to sort this out seen as we aint spent any money this summer. Would love to see Andy Bishop back. Also noticed Billy Paynter is surplus at Leeds and ironicaly wanted by Donny. Would be pretty prolific in league two if we could afford him. Fergie

12:40pm Tue 7 Aug 12

TerryYork says...

Remember, we score goals from all over the pitch. The way this article reads is that we can only get goals via Walker and Reedy, which is not true.

We're more than capable of getting 40+ goals from those who are not designated a centre forward.

But yes, we are going into next season light on strikers. A bit strange considering the money we must have available for new additions.

Still, you don't spend for the sake of it, and maybe there's a cracking reserve striker at Sunderland who we can loan?
Remember, we score goals from all over the pitch. The way this article reads is that we can only get goals via Walker and Reedy, which is not true. We're more than capable of getting 40+ goals from those who are not designated a centre forward. But yes, we are going into next season light on strikers. A bit strange considering the money we must have available for new additions. Still, you don't spend for the sake of it, and maybe there's a cracking reserve striker at Sunderland who we can loan? TerryYork

12:49pm Tue 7 Aug 12

joejamestom says...

I liked the look of Knowles however GM looked at him a lot more than us so its his call. We have fair squad with goals available from 5 of the 11 positions. Given the large number of corners & set pieces won from getting down the sides we looked weak all last season getting little return so a midfielder or CB who scores from these opportunities would seem to be required.
I liked the look of Knowles however GM looked at him a lot more than us so its his call. We have fair squad with goals available from 5 of the 11 positions. Given the large number of corners & set pieces won from getting down the sides we looked weak all last season getting little return so a midfielder or CB who scores from these opportunities would seem to be required. joejamestom

1:58pm Tue 7 Aug 12

RooBeck says...

GM has always looked at the attacking midfielders and wide-men to provide goals and he doesn't seem to get too hung-up about the lack of out and out strikers and his formations have tended to show this. Mattie Blair could certainly be developed as a striker/targetman, he is the right size and has pace in abundance and he is pretty nifty with his head, esp. when cutting across the six-yard box and dragging defenders out of position. eg. Luton( FATSF2) and Mansfield(POSF2), so could he be developed into a central role, as we now have a new wideman in Oli Johnson? Still think that Jason Walker has the class and ability to succeed in League2 but he is not the fastest and his hold-up abilities and final passes(forget extra-time at Mansfield!!), might be more his role than the out and out, pacy striker??
GM has always looked at the attacking midfielders and wide-men to provide goals and he doesn't seem to get too hung-up about the lack of out and out strikers and his formations have tended to show this. Mattie Blair could certainly be developed as a striker/targetman, he is the right size and has pace in abundance and he is pretty nifty with his head, esp. when cutting across the six-yard box and dragging defenders out of position. eg. Luton( FATSF2) and Mansfield(POSF2), so could he be developed into a central role, as we now have a new wideman in Oli Johnson? Still think that Jason Walker has the class and ability to succeed in League2 but he is not the fastest and his hold-up abilities and final passes(forget extra-time at Mansfield!!), might be more his role than the out and out, pacy striker?? RooBeck

2:10pm Tue 7 Aug 12

Head of Bomber Command says...

RooBeck wrote:
GM has always looked at the attacking midfielders and wide-men to provide goals and he doesn't seem to get too hung-up about the lack of out and out strikers and his formations have tended to show this. Mattie Blair could certainly be developed as a striker/targetman, he is the right size and has pace in abundance and he is pretty nifty with his head, esp. when cutting across the six-yard box and dragging defenders out of position. eg. Luton( FATSF2) and Mansfield(POSF2), so could he be developed into a central role, as we now have a new wideman in Oli Johnson? Still think that Jason Walker has the class and ability to succeed in League2 but he is not the fastest and his hold-up abilities and final passes(forget extra-time at Mansfield!!), might be more his role than the out and out, pacy striker??
Can't forget that beautiful shimmy and chip onto Matty's nut from Duracel the copper top kid.
[quote][p][bold]RooBeck[/bold] wrote: GM has always looked at the attacking midfielders and wide-men to provide goals and he doesn't seem to get too hung-up about the lack of out and out strikers and his formations have tended to show this. Mattie Blair could certainly be developed as a striker/targetman, he is the right size and has pace in abundance and he is pretty nifty with his head, esp. when cutting across the six-yard box and dragging defenders out of position. eg. Luton( FATSF2) and Mansfield(POSF2), so could he be developed into a central role, as we now have a new wideman in Oli Johnson? Still think that Jason Walker has the class and ability to succeed in League2 but he is not the fastest and his hold-up abilities and final passes(forget extra-time at Mansfield!!), might be more his role than the out and out, pacy striker??[/p][/quote]Can't forget that beautiful shimmy and chip onto Matty's nut from Duracel the copper top kid. Head of Bomber Command

2:15pm Tue 7 Aug 12

circuitous route dorset says...

Although I agree (and have asid on this site before) that we can score from all over the pitch, if Millsy thinks these two are enough why the interest in Shaw and others and why take Knowles on trial. We are short of strikers and can't understand why we haven't off-loaded Henderson if he is never in the frame. An odd one this all through the summer -is there still something up GMs sleeve?
Although I agree (and have asid on this site before) that we can score from all over the pitch, if Millsy thinks these two are enough why the interest in Shaw and others and why take Knowles on trial. We are short of strikers and can't understand why we haven't off-loaded Henderson if he is never in the frame. An odd one this all through the summer -is there still something up GMs sleeve? circuitous route dorset

2:18pm Tue 7 Aug 12

circuitous route dorset says...

PS See Eamon Holmes sidelines with Benended then!
PS See Eamon Holmes sidelines with Benended then! circuitous route dorset

2:21pm Tue 7 Aug 12

Yorkie4ever says...

Dunno what the digs on Walker are about on here, we all know that ever since he had his injury he hasn't been the same but although he wasn't scoring as frequently he still played a big part through holding the ball up and linking play together.

I like Reed but he is so inconsistent, he will either score a hard chance and then miss a sitter thats his problem needs to be more clinical a lot of times last season he wasted opportunities. But I rate him.

Shame we didn't get Shaw though he would of been a great signing.
Dunno what the digs on Walker are about on here, we all know that ever since he had his injury he hasn't been the same but although he wasn't scoring as frequently he still played a big part through holding the ball up and linking play together. I like Reed but he is so inconsistent, he will either score a hard chance and then miss a sitter thats his problem needs to be more clinical a lot of times last season he wasted opportunities. But I rate him. Shame we didn't get Shaw though he would of been a great signing. Yorkie4ever

2:26pm Tue 7 Aug 12

long distance depressive says...

Will be interesting to see if Johnson shows anything as the season begins..not seen much yet and Henderson is still on the books so no surprise that no new striker has been signed yet. Thought Knowles looked OK but no better than Reed. Need to get Reed playing more centrally though.
Will be interesting to see if Johnson shows anything as the season begins..not seen much yet and Henderson is still on the books so no surprise that no new striker has been signed yet. Thought Knowles looked OK but no better than Reed. Need to get Reed playing more centrally though. long distance depressive

2:41pm Tue 7 Aug 12

RooBeck says...

Head of Bomber Command wrote:
RooBeck wrote:
GM has always looked at the attacking midfielders and wide-men to provide goals and he doesn't seem to get too hung-up about the lack of out and out strikers and his formations have tended to show this. Mattie Blair could certainly be developed as a striker/targetman, he is the right size and has pace in abundance and he is pretty nifty with his head, esp. when cutting across the six-yard box and dragging defenders out of position. eg. Luton( FATSF2) and Mansfield(POSF2), so could he be developed into a central role, as we now have a new wideman in Oli Johnson? Still think that Jason Walker has the class and ability to succeed in League2 but he is not the fastest and his hold-up abilities and final passes(forget extra-time at Mansfield!!), might be more his role than the out and out, pacy striker??
Can't forget that beautiful shimmy and chip onto Matty's nut from Duracel the copper top kid.
Should have remembered JW made the all important extra-time goal!! I was thinking more of the chip when he should have squared the ball to Adriano Moke and the double-dip when Marriott saved twice and which he should really have put his foot straight through the ball from Moke's pass! He's a clever player, good on the ball and maybe he would be better at the hold-up play/teeing-up the chances, as well as contributing the odd goal!!
[quote][p][bold]Head of Bomber Command[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RooBeck[/bold] wrote: GM has always looked at the attacking midfielders and wide-men to provide goals and he doesn't seem to get too hung-up about the lack of out and out strikers and his formations have tended to show this. Mattie Blair could certainly be developed as a striker/targetman, he is the right size and has pace in abundance and he is pretty nifty with his head, esp. when cutting across the six-yard box and dragging defenders out of position. eg. Luton( FATSF2) and Mansfield(POSF2), so could he be developed into a central role, as we now have a new wideman in Oli Johnson? Still think that Jason Walker has the class and ability to succeed in League2 but he is not the fastest and his hold-up abilities and final passes(forget extra-time at Mansfield!!), might be more his role than the out and out, pacy striker??[/p][/quote]Can't forget that beautiful shimmy and chip onto Matty's nut from Duracel the copper top kid.[/p][/quote]Should have remembered JW made the all important extra-time goal!! I was thinking more of the chip when he should have squared the ball to Adriano Moke and the double-dip when Marriott saved twice and which he should really have put his foot straight through the ball from Moke's pass! He's a clever player, good on the ball and maybe he would be better at the hold-up play/teeing-up the chances, as well as contributing the odd goal!! RooBeck

6:10pm Tue 7 Aug 12

tomwillo1 says...

Don't think Shaw would have been a great signing, only started scorng goals last season! Was never good enough for the football league.
Don't think Shaw would have been a great signing, only started scorng goals last season! Was never good enough for the football league. tomwillo1

6:36pm Tue 7 Aug 12

duffy says...

We need another striker and I think that's Mills as good as saying so. I would be amazed if we don't see it happen over the next couple of weeks given we have spent so little on transfer fees, although the wages for the likes of Smith wont have been cheap.
We need another striker and I think that's Mills as good as saying so. I would be amazed if we don't see it happen over the next couple of weeks given we have spent so little on transfer fees, although the wages for the likes of Smith wont have been cheap. duffy

6:53pm Tue 7 Aug 12

johnboy2882 says...

if we are going in to league2 with only 2 strikers we will struggle you may get away with it in the conferene but not in the league just one thing the last time gary mills was in charge of a league club notts co they were relagated
if we are going in to league2 with only 2 strikers we will struggle you may get away with it in the conferene but not in the league just one thing the last time gary mills was in charge of a league club notts co they were relagated johnboy2882

7:06pm Tue 7 Aug 12

OLD - HEAD says...

Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.
Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad. OLD - HEAD

7:28pm Tue 7 Aug 12

The_Baron89 says...

OLD - HEAD wrote:
Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.
Last season we signed Walker, Blair and Chambers who were our forward line pretty much all season, so I don't think you can say we got away without strengthening.

It's a fair point going into this season though and we'll have to see how things pan out. I think a loan striker may be on the cards at some point.
[quote][p][bold]OLD - HEAD[/bold] wrote: Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.[/p][/quote]Last season we signed Walker, Blair and Chambers who were our forward line pretty much all season, so I don't think you can say we got away without strengthening. It's a fair point going into this season though and we'll have to see how things pan out. I think a loan striker may be on the cards at some point. The_Baron89

7:44pm Tue 7 Aug 12

YorkCityLuke says...

Anyone starting to feel negative about next season (already) should look back to last season, to see that Mills can produce great results - even when everyone else is saying he will fail. MOST of our goals last season didn't come from our 'official' strikers, they came from midfield... and we've kept our most prolific midfield intact (i.e. Chambers, Mclaughlin, Blair). No need to worry at all - feels like I've been repeating that mantra since this time last year.
Anyone starting to feel negative about next season (already) should look back to last season, to see that Mills can produce great results - even when everyone else is saying he will fail. MOST of our goals last season didn't come from our 'official' strikers, they came from midfield... and we've kept our most prolific midfield intact (i.e. Chambers, Mclaughlin, Blair). No need to worry at all - feels like I've been repeating that mantra since this time last year. YorkCityLuke

8:43pm Tue 7 Aug 12

duffy says...

The_Baron89 wrote:
OLD - HEAD wrote:
Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.
Last season we signed Walker, Blair and Chambers who were our forward line pretty much all season, so I don't think you can say we got away without strengthening.

It's a fair point going into this season though and we'll have to see how things pan out. I think a loan striker may be on the cards at some point.
We actually tried to strengthen by signing Ashikodi and Blinkhorne and we did miss Walker and his ability to hold the ball up. As with the others I still think we need a physical presence up front as an alternative to what we have.
[quote][p][bold]The_Baron89[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OLD - HEAD[/bold] wrote: Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.[/p][/quote]Last season we signed Walker, Blair and Chambers who were our forward line pretty much all season, so I don't think you can say we got away without strengthening. It's a fair point going into this season though and we'll have to see how things pan out. I think a loan striker may be on the cards at some point.[/p][/quote]We actually tried to strengthen by signing Ashikodi and Blinkhorne and we did miss Walker and his ability to hold the ball up. As with the others I still think we need a physical presence up front as an alternative to what we have. duffy

8:48pm Tue 7 Aug 12

OLD - HEAD says...

The_Baron89 wrote:
OLD - HEAD wrote: Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.
Last season we signed Walker, Blair and Chambers who were our forward line pretty much all season, so I don't think you can say we got away without strengthening. It's a fair point going into this season though and we'll have to see how things pan out. I think a loan striker may be on the cards at some point.
I was not refering to who we signed before last season started. I was just trying to highlight that when Walker was injured during the season a lot of people were posting on here that we needed another striker to push for promotion. As it turned out we did well with what we had, and did not need a new signing. But next season it will be more difficult in the Football League.
[quote][p][bold]The_Baron89[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OLD - HEAD[/bold] wrote: Gary Mills has obviously lost out on his main striker targets. Last season we got away without strengthening the forward line, when most people seemed to believe that we needed another striker. But it worked out well for us then, and we had a fantastic season. However Citys lightweight strike force will not find it easy to score goals in Division Two. A proven goalscorer who poses a physical threat, would certainly enhance our squad.[/p][/quote]Last season we signed Walker, Blair and Chambers who were our forward line pretty much all season, so I don't think you can say we got away without strengthening. It's a fair point going into this season though and we'll have to see how things pan out. I think a loan striker may be on the cards at some point.[/p][/quote]I was not refering to who we signed before last season started. I was just trying to highlight that when Walker was injured during the season a lot of people were posting on here that we needed another striker to push for promotion. As it turned out we did well with what we had, and did not need a new signing. But next season it will be more difficult in the Football League. OLD - HEAD

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