With their supporters growing increasingly anxious following a run of six successive games without a victory, York City tackle title-chasers Gillingham in the first of two vital home games at Bootham Crescent. The Minstermen are currently seven points clear of the relegation trapdoor, although both of the bottom two still have a game in hand on them, while another of the long-time strugglers, third-from-bottom Barnet, provide their next opposition at the weekend. York boss Gary Mills has reacted to their recent decline by turning to vast experience and extreme physical strength, with Burton Albion midfielder John McGrath and former York striker Michael Rankine both coming in on loan. Gillingham arrive knowing another away victory – which would be a club record eleventh this season – will be sufficient to return them back to the top of the table after just a solitary league defeat to Torquay United on their travels so far this term.
“We’ve lost a couple of matches but we`re not bottom of the League. We are seven points above the relegation zone,” York manager Gary Mills told The Press. “People have got to calm down a little bit. If we pick up three points tonight, we will be close to the top half of the table.”
York City Team News:
Skipper Chris Smith is a current doubt but the hosts could hand debuts to latest loan signings John McGrath and Michael Rankine after both received the necessary clearance. The likes of Alex Rodman, Ashley Chambers, David McDaid, Jon Challinor and John McReady should also come into contention following the disappointing weekend defeat at Wycombe Wanderers.
York City (probable): Ingham, Obeng, Smith, O’Connell, Parslow, Kerr, McGrath, McLaughlin, Blair, Rankine, Walker
subs (from): Musselwhite, Allan, Challinor, Fyfield, McDaid, Rodman, Chambers, Potts, McReady
Player to watch: Michael Rankine
Shock return to the club until the end of the season for the bustling Doncaster-born centre-forward.
Gillingham Team News:
Striker Danny Kedwell was expected to miss out with a hamstring problem and midfielder Charlie Allen is currently suffering with an ankle injury. Winger Myles Weston could return.
Gillingham (probable): Nelson, Fish, Legge, Barrett, Martin, Whelpdale, Robinson, Frampton, Allen, Burton, McDonald
Player to watch: Cody McDonald
Striker on loan from Coventry City with three goals in last four games.
Match Facts & Stats
Gillingham’s record at York is decent with five wins and six draws in eighteen Football League visits. But they definitely won’t care to recall a 7-1 defeat back in November 1984, when Keith Houchen scored a hat-trick alongside Alan Pearce (2), Keith Walwyn and a Keith Oakes own-goal in front of a 2,921 attendance. City lined-up: Jones, Evans, Hay, Sbragia, MacPhail, Hood, Ford, Haslegrave, Walwyn, Houchen, Pearce. The clubs last met in a 1-1 draw in August 1998. Striker Richard Cresswell netted for York before a 2,634 crowd. Their side on that occasion was: Mimms, McMillan, Hall, Tinkler, Jones, Thompson, Connelly, Pouton, Cresswell (Prendergast), Rowe (Woods), Garrett
S. Martin (Staffordshire)