YORK CITY boss Gary Mills might be forced to bring his players in for training on Christmas Day after their League Two clash with Gillingham on Saturday was postponed because of a waterlogged Bootham Crescent pitch.
The Minstermen chief originally intended for his squad to enjoy a festive day with their families ahead of Boxing Day’s trip to Chesterfield – arranging his training schedule around that.
But the unplayable pitch, and the similarly flooded conditions at City’s Wigginton Road training ground, have disrupted Mills’ plans, which he is now having to rejig.
“We can’t get on the training field and we are using the 3G pitch at the University of York,” Mills said.
“We went there on Saturday and had a game between ourselves and that enables us to keep ourselves sharp. Other than that we would have been struggling.”
He added: “We’ve been here before. It is all the preparation that goes in. Now I have got to get the amount of training right over Christmas for us to be ready for Boxing Day.
“Whether that means coming in on Christmas Day, it is about us being ready for Boxing Day.
“We had worked out a schedule for when we were going to train and fortunately we had the 3G pitch on Saturday.
“We will train again today but we don’t know what the weather is going to be like or whether we can get the 3G pitch and we will have to wait and see. It is all a bit disruptive.”
A pitch inspection at Bootham Crescent was conducted early on Saturday morning by match referee Stephen Martin.
After heavy rain overnight, which continued into the morning, the surface was waterlogged and quickly declared unplayable.
A rearranged date for the fixture has yet to be announced.
“The pitch definitely wasn’t playable,” Mills added. “It wasn’t particularly bad down the middle but it was on the wings and the rain wasn’t going to stop.
“I was in at 8.30am for the referee’s call and it was always going to be off.”
Ashley Chambers, with a groin niggle, had been Mills’ big doubt for the match but, in the event, it was Paddy McLaughlin who would not have recovered in time.
The Northern Ireland midfielder was stretchered off during the 4-1 win over Bristol Rovers and was subsequently found in hospital to have a bruised lung and kidney but had been expected to play a part against Gillingham.
But Mills said: “Ash was fine. It was going to work out the other way round to what I originally thought.
“Paddy was going to miss out. Ash trained on Friday and he was fine. Paddy wasn’t but it gives him a chance to get ready for Boxing Day.”
• Don’t miss The Press on Boxing Day for a full preview of York City’s trip to Chesterfield.