Former winners York City continue their quest for another Wembley appearance when visiting National League North opponents Nuneaton Town in the FA Trophy third round.
Whisper it quietly but the inspirational Gary Mills is certainly turning things around at Bootham Crescent. Having taken ten games to open his winning account following an emotional and much-needed return to the club in October, his revamped charges have since lost just one of their last eight while triumphing in four of those. They’ve also maintained three clean-sheets after previously not managing a single-one since September.
Already legendary for completing the most high-profile double in the club’s history back in May 2012, Mills is now targeting another one, with this time another glorious Wembley final triumph being partnered by a dramatic escape from relegation. Such an idyllic conclusion to yet another deeply-troubled campaign would definitely seriously rival that previous achievement.
First York must get past the tricky challenge of a Nuneaton side who had been in great form up until their last couple of games, although having already fought past their divisional rivals Worcester City before then winning at the even lower-ranked Harlow Town, confidence is reportedly soaring amongst the visitors’ squad.
In truth it’s hard to see anything other than that kind of mindset with the always positive Mills now firmly calling the shots; and he will doubtless also be contemplating an even more significant contest just seven days later, when relegation rivals Maidstone United arrive for undoubtedly one of the most significant games in recent times at Bootham Crescent.
“They beat Guiseley in the last round 6-1,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “And if you’re not switched on somewhere like Nuneaton, then that sort of thing happens. I want to get to Wembley and the players know that. So they know what their job and what their task is on Saturday.
“Every challenge is a different one,” he continued. “We’re away at Nuneaton, who were doing well up until the last couple of games, where they’ve lost by a considerable amount of goals. They’ll want to put that right and get to Wembley.
“But I’m going to repeat, and you’ll get sick of me saying it, it’s about us. And we’re in a good place and I can promise the fans and everybody that, as you’ve seen in the last few games, the players will be giving absolutely everything. And hopefully with the quality that we’ve got and working as hard as we are, then it’s enough to go and beat Nuneaton.”
Nuneaton Town Team News:
Nuneaton feature a whole clutch of former Football League players, but their form has rather hit the buffers of late after a very impressive sequence of eight straight victories were followed by successive 4-0 defeats to Kidderminster Harriers and Salford City.
Nuneaton Town (probable): Dibble, Penny, O`Hanlon, Morgan, Langmead, Tempest, Clifton, Elliott, Ironside, Mills, Nicholson
Player to watch: Al Bangura
Sierra Leone international and former Watford midfielder who has been a recent acquisition.
York City Team News:
The Minstermen have a doubt over full-back Shaun Rooney [ankle] while fellow defender Lanre Oyebanjo still remains sidelined alongside longer-term casualties Matt Fry and Clovis Kamdjo. Striker Jon Parkin serves a one-match suspension but Aidan Connolly is recently available.
York City (probable): Letheren, Bencherif, Klukowski, Parslow, Heslop, Lappin, Newton, Whittle, Connolly, Oliver, Morgan-Smith
subs: Fenwick, Moke, Holmes, Woodland
Player to watch: Vadaine Oliver
Back in favour and seemingly keen to make a big impression following his recent loan spell at Notts County.
Match Facts & Stats
No previous meetings between these sides.
Nuneaton – FC Halifax (A); York – Maidstone (H)
FA Trophy Third Round:
Barrow v Kidderminster; Braintree v Dulwich Hamlet; Macclesfield v Forest Green; Nuneaton v York City; Sutton v Boreham Wood; Tranmere v Chelmsford; Wealdstone v Brackley; Welling v Lincoln