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Matty Blair primed to start York City's Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash at Rotherham
YORK City’s on-fire striker Ashley Chambers could miss tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round tie at Rotherham United (7.30pm).
Chambers, who has netted in the Minstermen’s last three matches, is nursing a calf injury that meant he was absent for training yesterday and, should he be unavailable, last season’s 20-goal leading marksman Matty Blair will be handed his first start of the new campaign.
Fellow striker Jamie Reed has returned to training following his hamstring tear but will not be considered for the New York Stadium clash, while Oli Johnson, Chris Doig, David McGurk and Scott Kerr remain sidelined.
On Chambers’ chances of featuring in South Yorkshire, City boss Gary Mills said: “He is feeling his calf a bit and we will see how he is but he could be doubtful.”
New signing Clarke Carlisle will feature against the Millers following his impressive debut during Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Oxford and Mills is not expected to use the competition to rotate his squad, as opposing manager Steve Evans has suggested he will do.
“We will pick what we feel is the right team to win a game of football at Rotherham,” Mills stressed. “We have started the season well and I want to keep up that momentum of winning football matches.
“You hear people saying they are going to make changes who don’t and hear that players are injured when they are not. I don’t listen to that type of nonsense or get drawn in by mind games.
“It makes no difference to me if they make changes or not. I will just focus on my team and what we are going to do.
“It’s a tough draw but we are capable of getting a result.”
In reference to Carlisle, the City chief added: “For Clarke to come in and play a full game like he did on Saturday took some doing.
“He will be playing two games in a few days now and another 90 minutes will get him sharper so the game is well-timed in that respect too.”
Having won the FA Trophy final at Wembley last season and watched Chesterfield beat Swindon on television to win this tournament in front of just under 50,000 fans, Mills has also spoken of the appeal this competition holds for him.
“It can get you to Wembley and you could see what that meant to Swindon and Chesterfield last season,” he added.
“We had our own tastes of Wembley last season and would like a bit more.”
The tie will be settled on the night with penalties to decide the outcome should the scores be level after 90 minutes with no extra time to be played.
Should that happen, Mills is calling on his players to perform better than in last month’s 4-2 shoot-out defeat to Doncaster when Blair and Michael Coulson blazed spot-kicks over the bar.
The City manager said: “We were ready for the last penalty shoot-out. We just didn’t take them well.
“The players practice them but, at Doncaster, we had taken Jason Walker and Paddy McLaughlin off and they would normally have taken one.
“You don’t always get the five you would want but, whoever has the responsibility, has to go and stick one away.”
Goalkeeper Michael Ingham also failed to save any of Doncaster’s 12-yard efforts on that day but Mills feels his penalty stop from Oxford’s Deane Smalley at the weekend could be a psychological boost if the tie goes all the way.
“It was a great save from Oxford’s penalty,” Mills enthused.
“I’ve watched it again and there was a lot of pace on the ball but he got a strong arm to it.”