York City: Mills targets a festive charge

A trip to Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers awaits for York City in early January, but manager Gary Mills has the busy Christmas fixture list firmly at the top of his mind.

Although he's not forgetting the prestigious third round tie, Mills just has his eyes currently on shooting up the Blue Square Bet Premier table and sees the festive season as the perfect moment to do just that.

Gateshead at home is the first of four matches over eight days before the Minstermen go to Altrincham and then Gateshead on New Year's Day.

York end the busy schedule with the visit of big-spending Fleetwood Town to Bootham Crescent and Mills, who is not demanding a specific return of points feels the four games could help propel York into the division's top five.

"It's an important period as we have five big games where 15 points are at stake," he said.

"We will then go into the New Year and look to go up the league.

"The plan is just to keep performing well.

"I'm not setting any targets because if we keep playing well, it may take us into the play-offs."

When the final whistle blows against Fleetwood, all eyes will be then focused on the lucrative game with Bolton.

Wins over Kidderminster Harriers, Rotherham and Darlington in the

earlier rounds secured City a place in the hat for the second year running.

Some managers would ban his players from discussing the clash, but Mills openly wants his players to start thinking about the trip to the

Reebok Stadium.

"It's not a distraction at all," he said.

"We have earned the right and more than deserve to be there.

"We are yet to concede a goal in the FA Cup and we need to look at trying to do the same at Bolton.

"I'm not telling the players to not talk about it as they are all human and people are talking to them about it all the time.

"The tickets are selling and people are down at the ground all the time buying them.

"It's a great fixture and it's good for the club."

Mills gained control of the York hotseat in mid-October following a three-week pursuit to find Martin Foyle's successor.

His reign opened with a 1-1 draw with Bath City before a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Forest Green.

The result at The New Lawn sparked a resurgence as York went on a seven game unbeaten run – conceding only one goal.

And Mills admits even he is surprised by how well his side has defended.

"The defence is one area we have worked on," he said.

"We have worked on our shape when we have the ball and then we haven't got the ball.

"We've just got the hang of it quicker than I thought we would."

Within two weeks of taking over, Mills quickly swooped for defender Chris Smith from Mansfield Town on loan and he has since been followed by Ashley Chambers (Leicester) and Andre Boucard (Kettering) through the front door.

The January transfer window opens in 13 days' time, but Mills claims that although he has targets, he does envisage bringing a host of new faces to Bootham Crescent.

"I'm not particularly looking for new players, our squad is not too bad," he said.

"There are a couple of players I would like to bring in and if I can do that I will.

"It will be nothing major though as we have a good squad."

Top of previous boss Martin Foyle's shopping list before his departure was a new forward to replace Richard Brodie who left seconds before the deadline in September to join Crawley Town.

Mills is not ruling out the possibility of finding Brodie's replacement, but says he is content with strikers in the mould of Ashley Chambers and Michael Rankine.

"We played a team yesterday who are doing nothing else than bringing in strikers," he said.

"But, I've brought in Ashley Chambers and he has done well and Michael Rankine is playing well.

"Although it's not a major problem, you never stop looking and if the chance comes to sign a striker, I will do."

The first biggest decision of Mills' tenure involved defender Smith. He quickly handed handed the captaincy to Smith – a decision he firmly stands by

"Chris Smith is a leader and I've worked with him before so he understood the way I do things," he said.

"We've got him until the end of the season. I made him captain and it's my job to make those kinds of decisions."

If York can achieve a play-off spot under Mills, it could depend on the Christmas period as a good return of points will send them rocketing up the table.

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