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James Meredith does not merit boo treatment – York City boss, Gary Mills
YORK City boss Gary Mills is hoping his team’s fans give former left-back James Meredith a good reception during this afternoon’s League Two clash at Bradford City.
Meredith joined the Bantams in the summer on a free transfer after rejecting a new deal at Bootham Crescent.
But Mills has asked City supporters to recognise the part he played in last season’s historic double Wembley-winning campaign rather than berate him for switching allegiance.
Initially, the Minstermen chief had expressed a desire to finish above today’s hosts in this season’s standings because of Meredith’s move but, even though he still harbours the same ambition, he has stressed he was joking about the motive.
“When I said I wanted to finish above Bradford this season because my left-back had gone there, it was said tongue in cheek with a smile on my face,” Mills explained. “I’ve got nothing personal against him because he’s a cracking lad who did really well for me and this football club.
“I have a lot of time for him and think he’s an excellent player. I believe he’s doing well for them this season and, while he made the decision to go there, he deserves a good reception from our fans at the match because he played a major part in getting our club back into the Football League.
“Football’s football and he has to look after himself and, if he moved for financial reasons, he’s also gone to a good club. But, yes, I still want to finish above them because they are a big club from just down the road and, if we do that, we will be there or thereabouts and it would represent fantastic progression for us.”
Meredith’s departure, coupled with the end of Ben Gibson’s loan spell from Middlesbrough, meant City’s left-back role was up for grabs at the start of this season with Jamal Fyfield, Danny Blanchett and Charlie Taylor all given early chances to stake their claims.
All had mixed fortunes but Mills has started Fyfield in the last six fixtures and has been encouraged by his displays, adding: “I’ve had many a chat with Jamal in the past and he knows exactly what I think he’s capable of.
“I’ve just always wanted him to be more consistent and, at the moment, he seems to be growing in confidence. It’s always been about getting the best out of him and we are doing now so I’m very pleased with him.
“I had a left-back issue at the start of the season but he’s kept his place on merit. He’s got to maintain that form now and continue telling me he’s the only man for the job.
“I did not know whether he would ever get that consistency into his game but he has done over the last few games and I know he can get better, which can only be a good thing for this club.”