York City’s attention turns towards the FA Cup with a second qualifying round visit to National League North title-favourites Salford City on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3.00pm).
It follows a costly midweek draw against Gainsborough Trinity leaving the Minstermen now eight points behind the leading clubs in the division with over a quarter of their season already completed.
Despite what manager Gary Mills may state about the relative value of the FA Cup, this weekend’s trip to Salford simply pales into total insignificance in comparison to a scheduled league fixture at the same venue just five weeks later.
In truth nothing else really matters to York supporters other than amassing sufficient league points for an immediate promotion this time, and while victory at their expected closest rivals would certainly be most welcome, the overall picture is certainly far more expansive than a simple ninety minutes of knockout cup football.
Ambitious Salford recently became a full-time operation and have suitably rallied after suffering a surprise opening day loss to Darlington. That was in fact their only home reversal in nineteen attempts and since ironically losing 3-0 to Harrogate Town in the FA Trophy back in December.
“I think the FA Cup run gives everybody a lift,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “To get a league club down at Bootham Crescent would be fantastic. We’ve not had too many lifts over the last two or three seasons. I certainly don’t want to go to Salford and be knocked out of the FA Cup because we’ll have a free weekend in two weekends. I think the FA Cup is great, that will never change for me. I want to get as far as I can.”
“Some people will probably say that you’d rather play someone from a league below, or a “lesser team” but for us I feel like we need to play against the best to get the best out of ourselves,” skipper Liam Hogan told Salford’s official website. “York is a massive club, a club that’s held on to quite a lot of experienced players to come down and play in this league.”
Salford City Team News:
Former Carlisle United centre-back Danny Livesey [ankle] and ex-Gateshead midfielder Gus Mafuta are current absentees for the hosts, who have notably defeated fellow title-challengers Harrogate Town and Brackley Town in recent weeks.
Salford City (possible): Crocombe, Nottingham, Touray, Burton, Piergianni, Maynard, Dudley, Shelton, Phenix, Redshaw, Askew
subs: Hogan, Beesley, McHale, Dieseruvwe, Aghayere
Player to watch: Jack Redshaw
Five goals for the former Morecambe striker since arriving from Blackpool in the summer.
York City Team News:
Midfielder Adriano Moke [thigh] is due back in full-time training next week, but Clovis Kamdjo [knee] and Matt Fry [knee] remain only visitors to the treatment room.
York City (probable): Worsnop, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Whittle, Heslop, Wharton, Newton, Almond, Parkin, Morgan-Smith
subs: Felix, Smith, Sukar, Muggleton, Rankine
Player to watch: Jon Parkin
Seeking his two-hundredth senior career goal, and if he continues to get into decent scoring positions as he did in midweek, then it certainly won’t be long in coming.
Match Facts & Stats
The two clubs have never previously met.
Salford – Gainsborough (A); York – Harrogate (A)