Almost six weeks into his Bootham Crescent reign, manager Martin Gray takes York City to lower mid-table Alfreton Town this weekend.
However, the sixth-placed visitors will fully recognise that a seventh defeat of the season would be sufficient to move their latest opponents within a couple points of them in the division – and with still a game in hand.
Following particularly disappointing successive 3-2 reversals to both Tamworth and Salford City, plus a couple of late points carelessly thrown away in a 2-2 draw at Leamington, York achieved an important 2-1 triumph over Curzon Ashton last time out.
Manager Gray went on to describe the opening forty-five minutes of that display as the “best performance over the five games I’ve had in charge.”
Meanwhile, Alfreton were simultaneously experiencing late heartache when conceding a stoppage-time winner at new leaders Salford, having previously also gone down 2-1 while hosting second-placed Harrogate Town.
Prior to that the Reds’ 3-2 success at Tamworth marked their only victory in the last six games, with also recent defeats to Chorley (H 0-2), Stourbridge (FA Cup; A 1-3) and Spennymoor Town (A 1-2).
“I think the [Curzon Ashton] performance first-half was our best performance over the five games I’ve had in charge,” manager Martin Gray told BBC Radio York. “We need to get some consistency now.
“We’ve got a massive game this weekend at Alfreton,” he continued. “They lost 1-0 to Salford in the 93rd minute, so it won’t be an easy game. But we’ve got to back that up now.
“They’ve strengthened their squad since last time I came across them and it won’t be an easy fixture. They’ve got a good playing surface but we know what they’re all about.”
Alfreton Town Team News:
Alfreton currently include three former York players within their ranks in defender Tom Allen, midfielder Tom Platt and winger Adam Smith.
Alfreton Town (possible): Elliott, Topliss, Shiels, Allan, Wood, Platt, Disley, Everington, Daniels, Shariff, Robertson
subs: Marshall, Johnson, Westcarr, Hinchley, Priestley
Player to watch: Craig Disley
Very good midfielder at this level who was previously with Grimsby Town.
York City Team News:
Goalkeeper Adam Bartlett is set for an immediate debut having arrived from Darlington during the week. Midfielder Adriano Moke has recovered from a recent knock and should therefore continue, with the previously suspended David Ferguson also returned from midweek England ‘C’ international duty. However, striker Louis Almond [shoulder] is currently ruled out, while the now fully-signed James Gray is again likely to be amongst the substitutes.
York City (probable): Bartlett, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Whittle, Moke, Rowe, Newton, Connolly, Parkin, Martin
subs (from): Ferguson, Wharton, Morgan-Smith, Gray, Sukar, Simpson
Player to watch: Adam Bartlett
Match Facts & Stats
York have made a single previous visit, winning by a 2-0 scoreline in April 2012. Matty Blair and Lanre Oyebanjo were both on target after Jamie Reed had missed an early second-half penalty. Team: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Smith (Fyfield), Doig, Meredith, Parslow, Moke, McLaughlin, Blair, Reed (Blinkhorn), Pilkington (Challinor)
Link: Red Redwind – City triumph despite penalty miss
Alfreton – FC United of Manchester (A); York – Kidderminster (H)
Weekend Games: Alfreton v York City; Blyth v Leamington; Boston v Stockport; Brackley v Gainsborough; Chorley v Nuneaton; Curzon Ashton v Southport; FC United of Manchester v AFC Telford; Kidderminster v Darlington; North Ferriby v Bradford PA; Spennymoor v Harrogate; Tamworth v Salford