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Season preview: Cup of cheers
6:00pm Wednesday 8th August 2012 in Video
Skipper Chris Smith tells DAVE FLETT there will be no let up from York City this season.
YORK City captain Chris Smith is targeting a good Capital One Cup run after falling at the first hurdle three times in the competition during his first spell at Bootham Crescent.
Smith was on the Minstermen’s books when the club were dumped out of the League Cup at the first stage by Rotherham, Sheffield United and Crewe in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively.
In fact, City failed to win a match in the tournament during their last six seasons as a Football League outfit, dating back to a two-legged aggregate win over Port Vale in August 1997 when future Bootham Crescent chief Martin Foyle was on the losing side.
Smith, though, believes the Minstermen can reverse that trend and upset the odds by defeating a Doncaster Rovers team relegated from the Championship last term when the new season kicks off at the Keepmoat on Saturday.
The 31-year-old skipper said: “I enjoyed the League Cup during my last three seasons at the club even though we did better in the FA Cup back then but, hopefully, we can do well this season. We’ve had four weeks of hard work building up to the Doncaster game and everybody is excited now.
“It’s a bit strange having a cup game to start off with but there’s no question about us going there with no other thoughts than winning the match. We won’t be treating it as another pre-season game.
“It’s a tough start but we want to get off to a good one. They are a footballing side and will give us space on the ball when we have it, so that should suit us.”
Smith’s first spell with City ended after relegation to the Conference was confirmed by a 3-1 defeat at Doncaster back in April 2004.
But the Derby-born defender is in no mood to reflect on the past ahead of this weekend’s return to the South Yorkshire town, saying: “People have been saying that’s it’s ironic and a coincidence but it isn’t.
“You can always go back through history but that’s all forgotten now. They were bad memories but we’ve created good ones since and what better way to start the season than at a big club like Donny in a nice stadium?
“I’ve heard we are taking quite a few fans as well so it’s a good day for them too.”
Seven days later, City will kick off their League Two campaign against another newly-relegated club in Wycombe Wanderers with Smith relishing the opportunity to lead out his team-mates for the historic occasion and fancying the side’s chances of making a winning start.
He added: “It will be a packed house against probably one of the favourites for promotion and it should be a very proud memory to lead the team out.
“I think we will be underdogs, as we will be a lot of times this season, but, if teams under-estimate us, that will play into our hands because we are a good side.
“That was the case when I came back here and the team were 18th in the Conference. We kept turning teams over and we want to do the same next season.
“We want to push towards the top of the table and not just consolidate, so bring it on!”
Manager Gary Mills’ six summer signings include two players familiar to City fans and Smith alike with namesake Jonathan Smith and Lee Bullock having both lined up alongside the current captain in their first spells with the club.
Smith is glad to have the potent pair back in the fold, saying: “Bully’s so good on the ball and can get goals as well. I remember him from the first time we were here together and you don’t get a big move to Cardiff if you’re an average player. We all know Jonathan Smith gives you non-stop running and closes people down but he’s also good on the ball and will get you goals as he did in his first spell at the club. They’re both good lads too.”
The City centre-back is taking nothing for granted, however, ahead of the new campaign and does not subscribe to the view that there is very little difference between League Two and Blue Square Bet Premier football, pointing out that the team must not allow last season’s feelgood factor to give way to complacency.
He said: “I think the standard (in League Two) is higher and you would be a fool to think otherwise. There are some big teams in the division, including those who have just been relegated from League One.
“But we are only concerned about bringing our form from last season into the new one and kicking on. Those scenes at Wembley and in the city centre will live with all of us for a long time and will never be forgotten but we have to for now because they will mean nothing if we have a bad season now. Those memories would then be replaced by bad ones, so we’ve just got to enjoy this season and do our jobs.”