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York City midfielder Scott Kerr gets back into swing
FIT-AGAIN York City midfielder Scott Kerr will travel to Exeter City today in preparation for his return to first-team action.
Kerr is set to resume full training next week after being sidelined since mid-March with knee ligament damage.
He is targeting a Football League outing next month and City boss Gary Mills is delighted to have him in the travelling party for tomorrow’s Devon clash.
Mills said: “It’s great to have him back. He’s been joining in with us for passing drills over the last ten days and he’s wanted to do more but we’ve had to keep him in check and send him back to the physio.
“We will be taking him down to Exeter because I think it’s important for him to get a taste of things again. We are also looking to arrange a game for him to play in the week after next.”
Chris Doig and Oli Johnson are also set to resume training next week after their respective hamstring and groin problems, while striker Jamie Reed is expected to be absent this weekend.
The City chief added: “Jamie Reed dropped out of training yesterday feeling his hamstring again so I’m not sure he will be travelling with us.”
Paddy McLaughlin will be available again after returning from international duty following Northern Ireland Under-21s’ 3-0 defeat in Denmark.
The former Newcastle United reserve is expected to reclaim his midfield berth after Matty Blair occupied the role for the first half of last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Chesterfield.
Mills said: “Paddy has been away for a week and it’s not ideal to lose a player, especially when he was coming into some form, so it’s decision time for me now. Do I put him back in or stick with what I started with last Saturday?”
If the Minstermen boss plumps for McLaughlin, as expected, then Mills is likely to choose two from in-form wingers Blair, Ashley Chambers and Michael Coulson in his three-pronged strikeforce alongside Jason Walker .
On that potential dilemma, Mills said: “They are all doing well. I read Blairy saying that he could not complain about being out of the team because Ash Chambers and Michael Coulson had been doing so well but I thought he did well at Rotherham and has made it difficult for me to leave him out.”
Mills is also hoping his players will be refreshed, having had a break from training earlier this week following the exertions of three games in eight days.
He said: “We’ve had a couple of days’ rest because we felt we needed that after a tough week physically and mentally.
“We’ve also got a long journey today so we needed to ensure the players will be firing on all cylinders at 3pm tomorrow.
“We will train in Gloucester this afternoon at their college and then go on to the hotel.”
Commenting on the challenge presented by second-placed Exeter, Mills added: “They’re another side who have been doing well so it’s another big test for us.
“They lost their first game after conceding three goals like us but both of us have done well since.
“They’ve won their last four and beat Oxford 4-2 in their last game so they will be full of themselves.”
New striker Scott Dobie is unlikely to feature on the bench at St James’ Park but Mills revealed that he has been encouraged by the former Scotland international’s progress after a year out of the game.
“I’m really pleased with him,” Mills said.
“He had a little niggle with his thigh for a couple of days but he’s coming along nicely now.
“He says he’s feeling sharper with the hard work he’s put in over the last couple of weeks and we are starting to see a change in him physically and mentally so he’s getting close to being involved.”