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York City boss Gary Mills revels in home hat-trick
YORK City manager Gary Mills has heralded “exciting” times at Bootham Crescent as his side prepare to host two title favourites and a former Premier League team in the space of a week.
Mills’ team kick off their hat-trick of home matches tonight (7.45pm) against third-placed Fleetwood before entertaining Rotherham on Saturday.
Both visiting sides headed most bookmakers’ League Two betting markets in pre-season and are ahead of the mid-table Minstermen in the current standings.
Following on from those matches, City then play host to fallen giants and 1987 FA Cup final winners Coventry in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy a week tonight.
On his club’s eight-day schedule, Mills said: “It’s fantastic to have those three home games on the back of a good away win and a clean sheet at Aldershot on Saturday.
“There are lots of incentives for us. We’ve put ourselves back in the top half of the table and it’s a case of progressing again.
“We will be playing two teams above us so we know that if we pull off two results we will get closer to them or above them. These are the exciting days that we got promoted for and the games you look forward to.”
With last season’s Blue Square Bet Premier champions Fleetwood targeting back-to-back titles this term, Mills added that City can showcase their own promotion credentials tonight.
He said: “Fleetwood set their stall out last season for promotion and will be doing again.
“They want to do the same as Crawley and we’ve got to show how far we have come as well.
“If you look at the League table, they are sitting third in an automatic promotion place going into the tenth game which shows that they are a good, strong side but we have got to prove that we can live with and beat the best in this League.
“Fleetwood are one of those teams but we are a fantastic football club and have the same ambitions with our resources and fan base.”
A solitary goal from former City striker Richard Brodie at Bootham Crescent proved the only difference in the two League matches between the two teams last season.
However, Mills is confident his players can breach the visitors’ back line during this latest encounter, saying: “We picked up one point from two games against them last season but should have had more and I think if we perform the same as we did in the home game last season we might make up for that.
“They defended superbly that day, which is a massive part of the game, and got the clean sheet that enabled them to get the goal and win the game.
“We will need to do the same tonight and take any chances that come our way because I know it’s a game we are capable of winning.
“If it’s Fleetwood, or anybody else that we are playing, I am always surprised if it’s a 0-0 draw, because we go out to create chances, win games and score goals.
“Micky Mellon will know how difficult last season’s two games were and will be expecting the same again tonight.
“He would have been delighted to get a 1-0 win here last season and will know how my teams play, like I know how his teams do.
“I’ve just got to make sure I am shaking his hand after winning the game this time.”
Mills is also calling on his team to improve on a home record of five points from a possible 12 – the joint-lowest return outside of the division’s bottom seven teams.
He said: “Everybody talks about winning your home games and picking up away points to be successful at any level.
“We’ve only won one so far this season so we want to make sure we improve on that.”