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York City's Matty Blair hungry to strike for goals
YORK City manager Gary Mills has warned his forward line that last season’s top scorer Matty Blair is “hungry” to win back his place in the team.
Blair bagged both goals in yesterday’s 2-1 behind-closed-doors victory against Doncaster reserves to further stake his claim for a recall.
The former Kidderminster winger has only made one League Two start this season – in a midfield role against Chesterfield – having missed the latter part of pre-season through injury.
But he has featured from the bench in every other league match and also scored the only goal in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy triumph at Rotherham, where he played the full 90 minutes.
Michael Coulson, Jason Walker and Ashley Chambers have kicked off as Mills’ three-pronged strike-force in all eight of City’s league matches this season, but last term’s 20-goal marksman Blair continues to give Mills food for thought.
On his Doncaster display, the City boss said: “He showed us what he’s about and came up with two goals. The players have got to work hard now to keep him sitting on the bench because he’s hungry to get in that starting XI.”
Along with Blair, Paul Musselwhite , Tom Platt, David McGurk , Danny Blanchett, Charlie Taylor, Lee Bullock, Michael Potts , Jon Challinor, Scott Dobie, Oli Johnson, Jamie Reed and Liam Henderson were all given game time in South Yorkshire.
Mills also added that ex-Norwich striker Johnson, still waiting for his debut for City following his summer move from Oxford, is now pressing his case for selection following a niggling groin problem.
“He’s back fit now so it’s his time to show us what he’s got and what he’s capable of,” Mills said of Johnson. “He looked sharp against Doncaster and he’s just getting used to playing again.
“He’s a good player who can play anywhere along the front three but it can take a couple of games to get back into the rhythm again after injury.”
Scott Kerr did not play any part yesterday as he begins his second week of full training on the comeback trail from cruciate knee ligament damage.
On his condition, the Minstermen boss added: “It will be another week to ten days before he can feature in a game.
“I’m hoping we will have a game against Newcastle’s reserves next Wednesday and he may or may not feature in that.
“We’ve just got to be careful with him.”
McGurk, pictured, who has not figured for the first team since New Year’s Day due to a series of throat, knee and calf problems, did complete 90 minutes, however, with Mills adding: “He looked OK and it was a good workout for him.”
Short-term signing Dobie, like fellow strikers Jamie Reed and Liam Henderson, played a half with Mills also suggesting that he is now close to deciding whether to retain the former Scotland international on a more permanent basis.
He said: “We might have a decision on him in the next week.”
Injured centre-backs Chris Smith and Clarke Carlisle are both currently receiving treatment at Bootham Crescent, while midfielder John McReady is seeing a specialist to discover whether his dislocated shoulder requires surgery.
Elsewhere, League One outfit Colchester have parted company with former City manager John Ward.