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Oli Johnson in line for first York City start
SUMMER signing Oli Johnson looks set to be given his full York City debut in tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round home clash with Coventry.
Having missed the start of the campaign due to injury, Johnson has only made one substitute appearance – during last week’s 2-0 midweek defeat to Fleetwood at Bootham Crescent – since completing a close-season switch from Oxford.
But, as manager Gary Mills looks to end a run of three home matches without a goal, former Norwich attacker Johnson is poised to make his first starting line-up against the League One Sky Blues.
The City boss said: “Oli’s been doing particularly well of late in training and bits of matches.
“Maybe it’s time for him to show me and all the York City fans what he’s capable of.”
Mills, who had a spell as first-team coach at Coventry under Gary McAllister in 2002/3, added that he did not intend to field a weakened side as many of his contemporaries might at this stage of the competition but, along with Johnson, others might be given a chance to stake their claim for regular league action.
On-loan Peterborough United midfielder Danny Kearns will also come into contention for a first City start after his substitute role during Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Rotherham.
Scott Kerr, meanwhile, is another option after returning as a second-half replacement at the weekend following seven months on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage.
The Minstermen could also turn to the likes of striker Jamie Reed and centre-back Clarke Carlisle, although Mills is only permitted to make a maximum of five changes under competition rules aimed at safeguarding its integrity.
With only one victory from the last six matches, Mills is also, as ever, keen to secure a positive outcome tonight, saying: “We’ve not had too many wins of late and need to get back to winning ways.
“You could put out a couple of young players in a weaker side because you want to have a look at them in that environment but then you can end up losing and that’s dangerous because you always want a winning mentality at your club.”
Right-back Lanre Oyebanjo remains doubtful with a thigh injury but long-term casualty John McReady (dislocated shoulder) is the only definite absentee.