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Gary Mills hails his hard-to-beat Minstermen
YORK City manager Gary Mills hailed his side’s character after bouncing back from their midweek debacle against Coventry to draw 1-1 at npower League Two big guns Bradford City.
The Minstermen, beaten 4-0 by the Sky Blues in their last outing in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, led the hosts at half-time courtesy of Ashley Chambers’ 44th-minute strike in front of a near 12,000 crowd at Valley Parade, swelled by more than 1,400 visiting fans.
Bradford substitute Zavon Hines levelled the scores after the break but Mills was still pleased with his team’s sixth draw a dozen games into the club’s first campaign back in the Football League for eight years.
He said: “We gave the game to Coventry last Tuesday but the response at Bradford proved that it didn’t bother the players. We’ve shown in this League that, if we don’t win, we are certainly a tough team to beat.
“Any team that has played us knows we are a decent side and we have done incredibly well this season. Our fans were also superb again and it was a great atmosphere.”
Mills added that his players had coped admirably against a big side in front of a big crowd, saying: “We more than deserved our point.
“We played well and it’s not easy to come to Bradford as every team will find out this season and those that have already played them will testify. It’s always difficult against a team with a big man who they play the ball up to and you have to concentrate for 93 minutes, which we did.
“They’ve got a lot of tall players and I don’t know what they feed them on around there.
“Maybe they grow them in greenhouses but we dealt with that because, when we did not win the headers, we got to the second balls.
“I’m just disappointed that their lad ran as far as he did to get the equaliser but I’m more than pleased to get a well-earned, valuable point.”
Mills also enthused about Chambers’ 20-yard first-half volley that saw the former Leicester striker claim his first goal in nine games.
“It was a superb strike and he’s capable of that,” the City chief pointed out. “He does it in training and he’s scored some cracking goals since being with us.”
Mills plumped for Clarke Carlisle in his starting line-up at Valley Parade to give centre-back Chris Doig more time to recover from a tight calf muscle with fit-again David McGurk making the bench.
Carlisle had been culpable for the first goal against Coventry but Mills said: “Clarke knows he gave away a silly goal the other night, but he was big and brave enough to come back from that and put his head on the block. It takes a big man and character to do that and I was pleased with him on Saturday.”
On-loan Peterborough midfielder Danny Kearns, meanwhile, was given his full League debut by Mills, who was impressed by the Irish 21-year-old’s performance, saying: “I thought he did well against Coventry and he did well again on Saturday.
“I’m delighted with him. He’s not afraid to have the ball, and he keeps it and passes it.
“He will only get better the more games he plays with us. I only took him off (against Bradford) because I thought Matty Blair could relieve some pressure by getting down the sides more than he could because he would rather have the ball to feet.
“Other than that, I wouldn’t have brought him off because I thought he was excellent. Blairy did well too though. He’s relishing playing in that midfield position now and growing into it.”
Jamie Reed was also given his first start of the season on the right flank of City’s three-pronged strike force before being replaced by Michael Coulson just past the hour.
On the former Wrexham striker’s recall to the first XI, Mills added: “I decided to go with Reedy because he’s been scoring an abundance of goals for the reserves so I thought it only fair to give him a go. He tired a bit in the second half but he did okay.”
Dan Parslow was named as a substitute for the second successive game, however, as Scott Kerr filled the midfield anchorman role and completed his first 90 minutes since suffering knee ligament damage at Luton back in March.
On that selection choice, Mills added: “Not many people could come back from a cruciate injury and play three games in a week like Kerry has done but he has a big heart and that desire gets him through the games. Pars has done very well for me but Kerry needs games because, once we get him fully fit, he will be even better and so will the team.
“He did excellently and got through another game. He gets us playing and is a totally different player to Pars but whoever plays in that position is important to me. Kerry can do it better but Pars has been excellent for us as well. He will be disappointed not to start again but that’s no reflection on what I think about him.”