YORK City's FA Cup preparations clicked in to gear today with manager Terry Dolan and his squad enjoying their now traditional pre-cup build-up with a difference.

Ahead of Saturday's FA Cup third round clash at Grimsby Town, the Minstermen were spending the afternoon at Aldwark Manor Hotel and golf complex, near Easingwold.

There the players, as they did prior to their second round triumph over Reading, were to make use of the hotel's leisure facilities before enjoying a meal.

The unusual pre-match build-up has become a staple part of City FA Cup preparations in recent times. Last season the club trained on the beach at Filey before enjoying a fish and chip supper.

During this year's match to the third round, City have also spent time at the North of England Multi Activity Centre at Rufforth.

The big freeze that virtually wiped out City's festive programme had also struck at the club's Wigginton Road training ground today.

With the training pitches frozen the squad was having to train in the gym at Bootham Crescent prior to heading to Aldwark Manor.

"We are just doing the best that we can," said Dolan, who yesterday made good use of City's match against Halifax being off by watching Grimsby.

Dolan travelled to Barnsley to watch the Mariners draw 0-0 at Oakwell.

"I have seen them twice now and they haven't conceded a goal," said the City boss.

"They work hard and are very organised."

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Blundell Park, the City squad has been boosted by the news that defender Chris Smith and striker Peter Duffield have both shaken off the viruses that laid them low over Christmas.

Updated: 11:32 Wednesday, January 02, 2002