York City have now officially entered ‘must-win’ territory with their promotion hopes no longer in their own hands going into this evening’s crucial visit to Nuneaton Town (kick-off 7.45pm).
Having recently slipped into the final play-off spot of seventh after being overtaken by the heavily overworked Spennymoor Town, who are even now still with three games in hand, Chorley would similarly bypass the pre-season second-favourites for the title if winning their outstanding fixture.
There are only five games remaining for the Minstermen, and four of those are away from home, including their next three; meaning it’s now really a question of strong character and burning desire, particularly given they must also contest matters without a trio of injured strikers, most notably the talismanic Jon Parkin.
That fact witnessed York actually operating minus a recognised starting front-man against Harrogate Town at the weekend, in itself a rather strange decision and hardly a ringing endorsement of those options instead left reclining on the substitutes’ bench.
Hosts Nuneaton have certainly improved of late with just a single defeat in twelve games, and are appearing increasingly comfortable in terms of their own league placing, especially after former City striker Daniel Nti scored their weekend winner at Southport. That was his third goal in four games having managed just a solitary effort during a recent unproductive stay at Bootham Crescent.
“They [the players] are at a big club and have to stand up and be counted,” sporting director Dave Penney told BBC Radio York. “We’ve got more senior players in my opinion than most clubs, so the likes of Sean [Newton], Hamza [Bencherif], Dan Parslow, Adam Bartlett – they’re the ones that have got to come through and guide the youngsters that have perhaps not quite been in this [situation]. They have to step up and guide the youngsters through.”
Nuneaton Town Team News:
Nuneaton have no fresh injury concerns following a seventh win in their last twelve games at the weekend.
Nuneaton Town (possible): Etheridge, Wildin, Heaton, Elliott, Langmead, Johnson, Ferry, Beswick, Chambers, Green, Nti
subs: Daniels, Lyness, Dielna, Mitchell, Nabi
Player to watch: Ashley Chambers
Eighteen goals this season for the former York ‘Wembley-twice’ hero, including a couple against his old club back in August.
York City Team News:
The visitors are still without sidelined strikers Jon Parkin (knee], Louis Almond [hamstring] and Alex Kempster [hamstring], while on loan defender Jonny Burn [groin] also missed out at the weekend. However, fellow loanee, Middlesbrough midfielder Alex Pattison [ankle], could return.
York City (from): Bartlett, Brown, Parslow, Bencherif, Law, Moke, Heslop, Newton, Ferguson, Smith, Connolly, Correia, McNaughton, Kamdjo, Gray, Simpson, Pattison
Player to watch: Flynn McNaughton
Seventeen-year-old who has spent most of the season playing with either the youth-team or reserves, but due to recent absences has suddenly been thrust into the senior spotlight.
Match Facts & Stats
One previous visit in last season’s FA Trophy third round, with York comfortably winning 3-0 after Amari Morgan-Smith, Vadaine Oliver and Sean Newton each scored inside the opening twenty minutes. Team: Letheren, Bencherif, Klukowski, Parslow, Heslop, Lappin, Newton, Whittle, Fenwick, Oliver (Rooney), Morgan-Smith (Moke)
Nuneaton – Salford (H); York – Gainsborough (A)
Tuesday’s Games: Blyth P-P Southport; Kidderminster v Stockport; Leamington P-P Chorley; Nuneaton v York City; Spennymoor v Boston
Wednesday’s Game: Curzon Ashton v Gainsborough
Thursday’s Games: AFC Telford v Leamington; Spennymoor v Brackley