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Matty Blair facing a fight to win back York City shirt
Michael Coulson salutes the York City fans at Bootham Crescent after netting 16 seconds into Saturday’s npower League Two clash with Oxford
Chambers and Coulson both netted in an excellent 3-1 victory over an Oxford United side who went into Saturday’s match top of the League Two table and boasting a 100 per cent record.
The duo’s first-half efforts mean they have both netted three times already this season and, with Chambers’ goals all coming in the league, he is now the division’s joint-top scorer with six other players – Jamie Cureton, Shaun Harrad, Rene Howe, Danny Kedwell, Alex Nicholls and Ben Pringle.
Blair, who hit the target 20 times last term including twice at Wembley in the FA Trophy and Blue Square Bet Premier finals, has been restricted to substitute outings so far in 2012/13 and played through the middle after replacing Jason Walker against Oxford on 71 minutes.
While suggesting the former Kidderminster attacker is a great option to call upon from the bench, Mills was also quick to stress that he is unfortunate not to be in the starting XI after missing the latter stages of pre-season through injury.
The City boss said: “To bring on somebody like Matty when defenders’ legs might be tiring is ideal because he can run down the sides, frighten centre-halves and take a bit of pressure off. But, while Jamie Reed might be an impact player, Matty Blair isn’t – there’s no doubt about that.
“He will be disappointed not to be in the side and is unlucky not to be, but the other two are not making it easy for me. They are doing superbly well, laying on and scoring goals.
“I know there won’t be a problem with him though because he understands, doesn’t feel sorry for himself and he’s a fantastic lad. They are all good players and everybody’s trying to get everybody out of the team.”
Midfielder Paddy McLaughlin also got on the scoresheet for the first time this season, having earlier put through his own goal in an eventful opening 45 minutes, during which Michael Ingham saved a Deane Smalley penalty too.
A delighted Mills pointed out that the result, on the back of the previous weekend’s 3-1 win at Barnet, has issued a firm signal of intent in terms of his team’s potential this season.
He added: “We are here to entertain and to try to win football matches and I enjoyed Saturday’s match. We’ve taken seven points from nine and that’s a fantastic return for a team coming into the Football League after losing our first game.
“A lot of teams might not have done that. We scored all four goals on Saturday and still couldn’t get a clean sheet but a lot of people were talking about Oxford as the team to beat this season and we’ve shown we have got something. We are here to win things and want success badly.”
Mills also paid tribute to Ingham after another fine display in goal from the former Northern Ireland international.
“Inghy pulled off a couple of great saves in the first half, which enabled us to go on and win the game,” the City boss said. “We might not have done otherwise.”
The nature of Chambers’ and McLaughlin’s goals pleased Mills as well, coming at the end of swift, flowing moves involving several players.
He said: “For the second and third goals, we showed how you break at pace and score goals. That’s what we are about and I want players getting into the penalty box like that.”
Mills went on to praise new signings Clarke Carlisle and Charlie Taylor, who were both handed full debuts in City’s back four.
He said: “I thought Clarke got better and better. He needs the games – we know that – but I decided to bring him in and he was better in the second half than he was in the first.
“I thought he got a second wind and he, along with Smudger, was immense at the back, which we needed to be.
“Charlie also did very well. He’s comfortable on the ball and doesn’t panic.
“He’s brave enough to receive the ball in any area and, as a left-back, he will learn a lot playing at this level. There were a couple of times in the second half where he needed to be inside his man but, all in all, he was excellent and he’s my type of player.
“That position has been an area of concern for me so I decided to bring him in and he did not let me down.”