YORK City manager Gary Mills believes Wembley fever has given his side “a big boost” ahead of tomorrow’s home match with future FA Trophy final opponents Newport.
City players have been greeted this week by the sight of fans queueing up for tickets at Bootham Crescent for the May 12 showpiece and Mills feels that will inspire his players rather than prove a distraction as the club looks to secure a Blue Square Bet Premier play-off place with four fixtures to go.
Tomorrow’s game is also important for Newport, who know a victory will stave off the threat of relegation should Hayes & Yeading United fail to win against Mansfield at the same time.
On the Wembley effect, Mills said: “You can’t stop people talking about Wembley and it gives everybody a big boost to see the ground busy as we enter a very important last two weeks of the season. Everybody is here because we are going to Wembley and it’s all exciting.”
Mills has warned Newport to expect a better display from City following last week’s 2-1 defeat at Spytty Park in this season’s first league meeting between the clubs.
• From Back Page He added: “It was a difficult night there. The pitch wasn’t great and we did not play how we can.
“I want them to see a different side here tomorrow. I saw how capable my side are at Alfreton and we need to bring that to this game.
“Both teams need three points and I’m glad we need them for a different reason to Newport.
“If we win, we stay fourth and nobody else can do anything about that, so it’s important that we get the three points.”
Jason Walker (hamstring) and Ben Gibson (illness) have both returned to training after missing Monday’s 2-0 victory at Alfreton.
But one player who will not play a part tomorrow or, for the rest of the season, is Ben Swallow. He has been released prematurely by the club.
The City boss did not want to divulge the reasons for Swallow’s departure but The Press understands the issue with the former Bristol Rovers winger was related to training ground punctuality.
Mills said: “He won’t be taking any part in the rest of the season even though he’s still contracted to us.
“I’ve got a great set of players here and we have a great spirit and belief in the dressing room and I don’t want anybody upsetting that.
“We are planning to go to Wembley twice and either you want to be a part of that or you don’t.
“It disappoints me because, if he learns things, he could have a good future in the game.
If he doesn’t, there won’t be any managers who will put up with certain antics.”