City can put heat on Cook
There has been something utterly unflustered about York’s progress this term. Not always as showy and slick as during their Blue Square Bet Premier promotion charge, the Minstermen have nevertheless taken the step back up in their stride. But we shouldn’t have expected any different.
Boss Gary Mills has been champing at the bit for another crack at Football League management since an unhappy, brief spell in charge at Notts County eight years ago and he’s been busy chiselling City into a thoroughly effective unit.
The priority has been to build a platform and a record of four victories and six draws from 13 outings bears that out. This is a manager determined not to make old mistakes. If you’ll forgive the cliché, to earn the right to play.
But when they’ve seen the opening, sensed weakness, they’ve made their superiority count. Barnet were seen off in August and it was the Minstermen who inflicted the first of Oxford’s six successive defeats a week later. After battling to draws with Chesterfield, Exeter and Cheltenham, struggling Aldershot were their next victims.
They haven’t been picking their battles, rather subtly adapting their approach. And we fancy pragmatism to give way to a touch more flair when they travel to ailing Accrington on Tuesday night.
Stanley made encouraging early strides at the start of the campaign winning three from four but they’ve now lost three on the bounce, conceding 11 times along the way, including five at Oxford on Saturday.
After taking time to find his feet last term, manager Paul Cook is facing a new set of challenges in his first full season in charge. We don’t yet know how the former Sligo Rovers chief will respond to such a rut or indeed whether he can. He didn’t give much away in his post-match interview at the Kassam on Saturday. In fact, it was terrifically guarded.
He ended with: “Sometimes I think (supporters) want an explanation. I think the explanation wouldn’t be fair and wouldn’t do them justice.” Raw though the thrashing may have been, there was no talk of a response, only of hurt. And we can’t trust Stanley to sufficiently right the weekend’s wrongs in the space of three days – Cook still has too much to prove.
By contrast, we regard Mills as a man with a clear vision, burned and formed by experience which his opposite number cannot match. So take his charges – with their mobile front six, including six-goal Ashley Chambers, Matty Blair, Jason Walker and Michael Coulson – to inflict more pain on stuttering Stanley.
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