Mills keen for Rankine to play below his best

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GARY MILLS is hoping a striker he found “frustrating” to manage has “one of his off days” today as York City prepare to face Michael Rankine for the first time since his move last year.

Rankine spent two years at Bootham Crescent before joining Aldershot in the summer of 2011.

York followed the 27-year-old, who netted 27 goals in 103 appearances for the Minstermen, into the Football League last May to set up today’s reunion at the Recreation Ground.

Asked about the 6ft 2ins striker, Mills said: “Ranks can be a handful on his day. But he is also a frustrating player to manage because the consistency is not there for a man of his physique.

“I am not speaking out of turn there. I am sure Ranks would agree. We are just hoping he has one of his off days against us.”

York will have Chris Smith available after he was forced out of last week’s draw with Cheltenham with a hamstring strain. Clarke Carlisle is also fit after injuring his ankle against Burton 10 days ago.

Matty Blair is pushing for a recall after netting twice in midweek against Doncaster Rovers in a behind closed doors friendly. On last season’s 20-goal top scorer, Mills said: “Matty got a couple of goals and you can’t do a lot more than that when trying to give your manager a nudge.

“He is someone who I want in my team but it has been hard to leave out the front three because they have been scoring and playing well. Matty understands that. But he has done well and that gives me a decision to make.”

Scott Kerr, who has been out since March after damaging his cruciate ligament injury, ‘is coming along fine’, said Mills but is not allowed to do any competitive football until next Tuesday.