MANAGER Gary Mills insisted he had “no regrets” about making seven changes to his side following York City’s FA Cup exit at Wrexham.

City went down 2-1 to their Blue Square Bet Premier promotion rivals with Paddy McLaughlin’s sixth goal of the season cancelling out Nat Knight-Percival’s header for the home team before David McGurk put through his own net to settle the fourth qualifying round tie in the 81st minute.

Centre-back McGurk was recalled to the visitors’ starting line-up at the Racecourse Ground along with Lanre Oyebanjo, Daniel Parslow, Michael Potts, Jamie Reed, Liam Henderson and Adriano Moké.

Top scorer Jason Walker sat out the match due to his Achilles injury, while rotated trio Ashley Chambers, Matty Blair and Jon Challinor were introduced from the bench in the second half.

Skipper Chris Smith, fellow centre-back Jamal Fyfield and midfielder Andre Boucaud, however, played no part despite starting each of the previous six matches.

On his selection policy, Mills said: “I’ve got absolutely no regrets at all because I picked a team to win the match. I don’t just pick sides to keep players happy – we have a good squad and those that came in were there to get us through to the next round.

“I work with these players every day so I’ve not learned anything I didn’t know before and I won’t criticise any of the lads that came in because they did okay and, even though our quality on the ball could have been better, they gave 100 per cent for the team and I thought we deserved a draw.

“That’s not happened, we’ve lost and I have to take that on the chin. We’re out of the Cup and that’s always disappointing both financially and for everybody at the club, especially having reached the third round for two years running.”

Mills added that his main frustration of the afternoon came from the number of free-kicks his side conceded in dangerous areas.

A poor challenge by Moké led to Knight-Percival’s 50th-minute deadlock breaker and the City boss added: “The biggest disappointment was that we gave away too many free-kicks and, ultimately, we conceded a silly one that cost us the first goal.

“They put the ball in with quality and you’re then asking your defenders to defend every one of them and that didn’t happen. Whether it’s Wrexham or anybody else, you can’t keep giving teams opportunities to put balls into your penalty box.”

Mills went on to lament his team’s uncharacteristic sloppiness in possession, saying: “Wrexham deserve credit for closing us down so quickly and they played well but we did not string three passes together in the first half.

“We got ourselves back in the game and then played how we can for about ten minutes, keeping the ball well. But, when we had to dig in, we’ve ended up going out due to an own goal.”

Mills reserved his highest praise for Northern Ireland under-21 international McLaughlin, who scored from a free-kick for the second time in City colours, enhancing his status as one of the club’s dead-ball specialists with Walker and Chambers also netting direct from set-pieces this term.

The Minstermen chief said: “I thought Paddy McLaughlin was excellent. We keep saying his left foot is getting better and better and his understanding of the game is as well.

“It’s nice that the players are scoring from free-kicks because they take confidence from every one that goes in.”

Walker will now be given every chance to regain fitness before Saturday’s rematch with Wrexham in the league at Bootham Crescent, where City will be hoping to close the gap on their top-of-the-table visitors to two points.

About Walker’s prospects of featuring, Mills said: “He was not fit enough to play on Saturday and we will be concentrating on getting him ready for the next game by building up his training schedule throughout the week. Then, we’ll have to see.

“We were hoping he would be fit for Saturday but that extra week should help him recover.”

Mills added that Saturday’s defeat would carry no significance going into this weekend’s match, saying: “It will have no bearing at all. There will be three points at stake rather than going into the hat for the next round and that makes things totally different.”

City’s Cup exit currently leaves the club without a game on Saturday, November 12 – the date set aside for first round proper ties.

But Bootham Crescent officials could be keeping an eye on the results of Lincoln City and Kidderminster’s replays this week.

The Imps and the Harriers are due to play the Minstermen in midweek matches on November 29 and January 24 respectively.

Either of those games might be brought forward to a week on Saturday, however, should Alfreton win at Sincil Bank on Tuesday night or Kiddy go out at Corby on the following evening.