SEVERE weather conditions deprived York City manager Martin Foyle of half his first-team squad at training for a crucial session ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Grays Athletic.

Overnight snow meant Foyle was without a dozen players yesterday in the build-up to the Blue Square Premier fixture.

Those able to report for duty could also only work in the gym, with the club’s Wigginton Road training complex out of action for a second day this week because of the weather.

On Monday, City were put through their paces on the all-weather surface at York College, but Foyle was hoping for a less-depleted complement at their usual base this morning.

Commenting on a week that also saw Tuesday night’s Setanta Shield trip to Barrow called off, the unconcerned City boss said: “We were able to train on grass on Tuesday and pushed the players hard.

“We then gave them Wednesday off because we saw the weather forecast and felt it was also an ideal time to rest up after a long journey to Salisbury. Yesterday, we had calls coming in left, right and centre and you can’t do much about that.

“York’s a beautiful place to live, but an expensive one as well so we have committed players making hour-long journeys here in gangs together. Some come from the North-East where the weather was worse and, while that causes a problem, players won’t miss much over one day’s training.

“I had about 12 in the gym and told the others who could not get here that the match will probably go ahead and to get themselves down to their local gyms, which I know they will do because they are decent lads.”

Foyle will have a fully-fit squad to choose from although Richard Brodie serves a one-match ban after reaching five bookings.

The fixture will represent Foyle’s first home game in charge and he is hoping for a big, supportive crowd at KitKat Crescent.

He said: “It would be nice to get off to a good start. The pitch will dry up a bit when we get the snow off and, while the weather might not be too suitable for playing football, we will certainly go with the same passion, commitment and work-rate that we had at Salisbury.

“We are one of the best-supported teams in the division and, although some people can get a bit scared of that because of the stick you can get, I thought the support was very good in the last game against Crawley. I liked big crowds as a player and it should raise your game.”

Foyle is expected to select an unchanged side with striker Craig Farrell still on the right.

The ex-Port Vale manager added: “Craig is a clever football player. I know Simon Rusk played there the week before and he can do that, but I think I prefer him more in the middle.

“Craig likes to go wandering and is also liable to pop up with a goal as well from that position.”

Foyle also offered his full support to goalkeeper Michael Ingham and his defence despite a run of seven matches without a clean sheet – the longest sequence this season.

He said: “Every time I’ve seen the two centre-halves, I think they’ve been superb.

“Michael made a big mistake at Salisbury but, other than that, I thought he had a good game.”

City (probable): Ingham, Purkiss, Parslow, McGurk, Robinson, Farrell, Greaves, Rusk, McWilliams, McBreen, Sodje.

Subs: Mimms, Kelly, Smith, Wilkinson, Boyes.

Grays (probable): Button, Gier, Stuart, Dayes, Sloma, Forrester, Thurgood, Welsh, Cogan, McCollin, Thomas.

Subs: Wilnis, Slabber, Arnold, Batt, Elliott.

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).