York City will be looking to take advantage of a noticeable dip in recent home performances from long-time League Two leaders Gillingham this weekend. The Kent club actually surrendered top billing to closest challengers Port Vale after claiming just one point from their last available twelve at the Priesfield Stadium. Indeed the Gills will be desperate to avoid a third straight loss in front of their own supporters following both Barnet and new leaders Port Vale emerging with maximum points. York’s recent form is decidedly mixed with only one win in six games combining with commendable successive away draws at promotion hopefuls Cheltenham Town and Fleetwood Town.
“I tried to sign Jack O’Connell before when he went to Rotherham and I feel he is man enough to do a good job,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “They’ve [Gillingham] not been as consistent as they were at the start of the season. There will be long throws and set pieces and they’ll be direct so we need to cope with that.”
Gillingham Team News:
Striker Cody McDonald could earn a second ‘debut’ having arrived on loan from Coventry City. He previously scored 25 goals in 41 league games for the Gills in a similar spell during the 2010-11 campaign. However, midfielder Jack Payne is currently on the verge of joining Crystal Palace, with David Wright coming the other way, and is unlikely to be involved. Recent signing from AFC Wimbledon, Steven Gregory, could also make a first start.
Gillingham (probable): Nelson, Fish, Legg, Barrett, Martin, Whelpdale, Gregory, Allen, Weston, Kedwell, McDonald
Player to watch: Danny Kedwell
Twelve goals this season for the former AFC Wimbledon front-man but only one in his last ten games.
York City Team News:
York could hand an immediate debut to England Under-19 international centre-back Jack O’Connell, having arrived on a month’s loan from Blackburn Rovers. Striker Ben Everson also hopes for a first start following his substitute appearance last week. But another newcomer, David McDaid, won’t be involved as he still awaits international clearance. Otherwise, David McGurk (hamstring) has rejoined fellow centre-back Chris Doig (ankle) on the sidelines while striker Jamie Reed failed to travel after reporting ill. Longer-term duo Ashley Chambers and Michael Coulson are also still unavailable.
York City (from): Ingham, Parslow, Smith, O’Connell, Fyfield, Kerr, Potts, McLaughlin, Blair, Walker, Everson, Oyebanjo, Allan, Bullock, Challinor, McReady, Rodman
Player to watch: Jack O’Connell
Young defender arriving with a big reputation from Blackburn Rovers.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen have made eighteen previous visits to Gillingham, winning four times and drawing seven, with the last occasion being a 3-1 defeat in January 1999. Rodney Rowe scored their consolation goal in the following team: Mimms, McMillan, Hall, Tinkler, Jones, Barras, Connelly (Garratt), Jordan, Cresswell, Rowe, Himsworth. Their most recent win was in November 1996, with Neil Tolson grabbing the only goal as part of the following line-up: Clarke, McMillan, Stephenson, Pepper, Tutill, Barras, Murty, Bushell (Pouton), Tolson, Bull, Himsworth
D. Phillips (West Sussex)