YORK City are on the look-out for a new centre back to replace departing loan defender Aarran Racine.

But Minstermen chief Gary Mills has suggested that returning striker Vadaine Oliver will be given the chance to prove he can fill the void left by Rhys Murphy who, like Racine, is on his way back to parent club Forest Green.

Both Racine and Murphy featured from the start in farewell appearances during a 2-2 draw at promotion hopefuls Dover, where Jon Parkin and Shaun Rooney equalisers earned a point.

Mills could now make a move in the transfer market ahead of next weekend’s FA Trophy trip to Harlow Town, as he considers potential targets at Football League clubs, who would be eligible to play in the competition, having plied their trade outside the National League this term.

“Aarran has got to go back unfortunately and Rhys is going back as well, so we’ll have to start again and look for somebody else to come in at centre back,” Mills pointed out. “You’re always wary of loan players and whether they will be committed to the club, but Aarran proved he was and has been excellent for us.

“You don’t need little things like losing him, but we have to keep battling on. We got ourselves in this situation and we’ve got to get ourselves out of it.

“There are a lot of League players available at the moment and they’re not cup-tied and we’ve spoken about different players, but it’s massively important that they are the right ones, who understand what everything’s all about and will come in with the same mindset we have built up now.”

Mills confirmed that he is not reconsidering a recall for Jack Higgins from his loan spell at Southport as a possible solution to Racine’s departure, but that he might return to Bootham Crescent due to injury.

The Minstermen chief is set to run the rule over Oliver, meanwhile, during Tuesday night’s North Riding Cup tie at Whitby, following the end of the 25-year-old striker’s half-season loan spell at Notts County and Mills ventured: “He is coming back in and he might be the one who comes in and scores the goals.”

Mills went on to argue his team’s performance against Dover merited maximum points, which he felt would have been secured had Sean Newton and Daniel Nti finished one-one-one opportunities in the first and final minutes respectively.

“We were good from start to finish and the fight and aggression was there for all to see,” Mills enthused. “I thought we deserved to win the game.

“We had chances in the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds that had to hit the back of the net, but we didn’t quite pull it off. I’ve got nothing but praise for my players, though, because we were the better side on the day and we can take a lot of heart from that.

“I don’t think Dover are a better team than us. Unfortunately, because of where we are, mentality comes into play, but we’ve just got to concentrate on whatever game is in front of us and going and winning it.

“There’s still lots to play for when you look at the league table and, if we show that same spirit for the last 18 games, we’ve got a chance. I don’t think it would ever have been realistic to win all of our remaining 19 and there might need to be about four draws for us to get where we want to be.

“They will be massive points as well and complement the wins.”

The City boss also forgave rookie defender Shaun Rooney for the blunders that gifted home pair Jamie Grimes and Ricky Miller their goals after his 77th-minute header secured a share of the spoils.

“Shaun’s got a bright future if he wants it,” Mills reasoned. “Somebody like Aarran Racine obviously has experience but, unfortunately, things happen in games that show you Shaun is still learning.

“We’re not really in a position for him to learn and he got the wrong side of his man for their first goal and then gave away a penalty for the second, but he redeemed himself with a great header to get us a point. He will get better if he wants to and I will make sure he will.

“He gives us a bit of pace and I’m pleased with him, even though the first goal sent me mad because it was virtually the first time the ball had gone into our box.”

Parkin had earlier cancelled out Grimes’ sixth-minute opener and Mills again sang the 35-year-old forward’s praises, saying: “I thought Jon was magnificent.

“It’s great for everybody that we have a striker who you know you can play off or who will play you in.”

Mills added that Richard Brodie has suggested he would rather seek pastures new if he is not to be considered for first-team duty – a decision that out-of-favour keeper Scott Flinders made after losing his place to Kyle Letheren prior to joining National League rivals Macclesfield.

Explaining their situations, the Bootham Crescent manager said: “You can’t really have players around who are frustrated and want to play.

“It’s difficult for them. There’s not a lot between all three keepers and I wish Scott well.

“Kyle’s come in and he’s not really had a lot to do during the last half-a-dozen games, which is testament to those in front of him. Richard Brodie has told me he wants to move on and play, so it’s best for all that he finds another club.

“He probably won’t play in the Whitby game for us but, if he doesn’t go somewhere else, there’s nothing personal and, if he’s still here, he might play a part and even score the goal that keeps us up, because you have to be professional and that’s exactly what we will be.”