Date: 21st September 2017 at 3:11pm
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York City are hopeful over experienced strikers Jon Parkin and Michael Rankine going into their hugely important weekend derby at National League North leaders Harrogate Town.

Veteran goalscorer Parkin now tops two-hundred senior career goals following his latest double against Salford City in the FA Cup. But with their next opponents currently using an artificial playing surface at the CNG Stadium, there has been consideration given as to whether his suspect knee would be able to withstand that level of challenge.

“We’re hoping that Jon’s going to be fine to start on Saturday,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “He played at Sutton last year, so we’re not really seeing a problem there. He’d rather not and we’d rather him not, but we know he’s a big plus for us.

“Jon’s the one who’s in the side to get the goals for us, and certainly coming in on the back of two goals last week, he’s going to want to play anyway. We’ll wait and see but I think everything should be fine.”

Meanwhile, fellow marksman Rankine completely missed out last weekend due to high blood pressure and has since been undergoing medical checks.

“Still waiting on results for him but again he’s seeing the doctor this afternoon [Thursday],” Mills explained. “So we’re hoping those results are positive and if they are then Ranks should be available as well.

“The alternatives are, depending on how we’re going to play, Louis [Almond], obviously, Amari Morgan-Smith and now Kaine [Felix], who’s being coming on and doing particularly well.

“We’ve got [Adriano] Moke back, who’s been training all week. Maybe the surface suits someone like Mokes as well, with his close control and ability to run with the ball. It’s perfect for him really. So he’s another option to play in behind, so we have got options.”

Mills has already stated that he is certainly not a fan of the synthetic 3G pitch and believes it does actually allow the hosts an unfair advantage. But he insists his players are simply taking that onboard as another challenge they are preparing to overcome.

“They’re a passing side and there’s no doubt playing on the 3G or astroturf every other week is an advantage,” he continued. “But we’re not going to look at it that it’s an advantage for them. We’re going to take it as a challenge and are going to train on it today and tomorrow. So we’ve got to be ready for it.

“It’s no coincidence that your Maidstones and Suttons have come through to where they have and are still playing on the 3G and doing well. So I don’t care what people say, there’s the advantage there of training on it every week.

“I’m not a fan of it because I don’t think it’s a true game of football. But it is what it is. We’ve got them and Tamworth, and I think they’re in the top six. So it’s a challenge for us again.”

The Minstermen are already eight points behind their neighbours in the table, and accept they really can’t afford to become any further adrift with already a quarter of the season completed.

“We know if we go and beat them we’re five points behind,” Mills added. “We know if we don’t then we’re eleven points behind. But we’ve got to go there and get a result. We’ve got to show what we’re about.

“Harrogate will look at it that they’re above us in the league at the moment. A couple of years ago they would only have dreamt of something like that. They’ll want to put one over us, so I’ve got to make sure as manager of York that they don’t.”

Video Link: York City FC

Audio Link: BBC Radio York