For the second consecutive year, York City travel to bottom-of-the-table North Ferriby United on Boxing Day desperately requiring a positive outcome from their all-ticket clash (kick-off 12.30pm).
Three successive defeats for the visitors have followed an all-to-brief mini-revival that brought them a trio of victories during an unbeaten four-game sequence.
Even more concerning, though, has been the manner of those latest setbacks, which culminated in a truly shambolic weekend performance against Blyth Spartans discovering yet another torrid low before an absolutely bewildered home audience
However, if faltering York’s response to relegation at the end of last season has been distinctly mediocre, their latest opponents have fared even worse, with just a single victory in twenty-two attempts being accompanied by an alarming seventeen defeats.
That finds them already trailing the club directly above them in the table by a massive thirteen points, with the midpoint of their campaign having only just been reached.
“There’s no easy games, I don’t care whether you’re playing Salford or North Ferriby,” manager Martin Gray told BBC Radio York. “Everybody raises their game and we’ve got to make sure that we handle the pressure, stick together and show real, real understanding of what this is about. There’s only one way we can get through this is by making sure that we close the door and all come through this together – and give these fans something that they deserve.”
North Ferriby United Team News:
The Villagers could include a trio of former York midfielders in Callum Rzonca, Simon Russell and Craig Nelthorpe. Meanwhile, another couple of one-time Minstermen, defender Ben Clappison and midfielder Russell Fry, weren’t involved in their weekend defeat to Harrogate Town.
North Ferriby United (possible): Durrant, Cooke, Walters, Johnson, Picton, Skelton, Rzonca, Russell, Stewart, Nelthorpe, Slew
subs: Keyi, Lofts, Forrester, Exall, Harrison
Player to watch: Craig Nelthorpe
Well-travelled former City winger who made eight appearances during the 2009-10 season.
York City Team News:
Skipper Sean Newton [ankle] has already been ruled out for around a month and therefore joins Louis Almond [shoulder], Michael Rankine [high blood pressure] and Clovis Kamdjo [knee] on the sidelines.
York City (probable): Bartlett, Law, Burn, Bencherif, Ferguson, McAllister, Moke, Pattison, Connolly, Parkin, Morgan-Smith
subs (from): Parslow, Rowe, Gray, Simpson, Whittle, Smith, Muggleton, Walton
Player to watch: Jon Parkin
Eighteen goals already in a team that continues to struggle going into the second-half of the season.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen have made a single previous visit to Grange Lane, winning 1-0 exactly twelve months ago courtesy of on loan defender Aarran Racine’s first-half header. Team: Letheren, Rooney, Klukowski (Whittle), Racine, Heslop, Holmes, Moke, Lappin, Newton, Murphy, Parkin
Link: Red Rewind – City finally end long wait
North Ferriby – York (A); York – North Ferriby (H)
Boxing Day Fixtures: AFC Telford v Kidderminster; Blyth v Spennymoor; Boston v Gainsborough; Bradford PA v Curzon Ashton (1.30pm); Chorley v Southport; Darlington v Harrogate; FC United of Manchester v Salford; Leamington v Brackley; North Ferriby v York City (12.30pm); Nuneaton v Tamworth (12.00pm); Stockport v Alfreton