York City chase a third straight away victory when visiting fellow recently-relegated outfit Southport this weekend.
The Minstermen have already accounted for both Blyth Spartans and Bradford Park Avenue on their travels during the earliest weeks of the season, but should expect a much tougher proposition against unbeaten opponents who have previously won four of their opening five games.
However, Gary Mills’ charges also triumphed in their latest encounter, although certainly making hard work of it when suddenly threatening to throw away a comfortable 4-1 advantage as visitors Nuneaton Town scored two more during the final ten minutes at Bootham Crescent.
For their part, Southport’s only dropped points thus far have perhaps rather surprisingly arrived when hosting current bottom club (and City’s next opponents) FC United of Manchester; and they actually required a very late equaliser to finally escape with a 3-3 on that occasion.
In view of the hosts’ certainly impressive start to the campaign, and the fact that both clubs were operating in the National League last term, it would probably be fair enough to consider this as the pair’s biggest test to date; while also perhaps a particularly useful indication of which of them may offer the stronger challenge in making a desperately needed instant return to the higher division.
“We’ve played a lot of games and obviously we’ve got a couple of important games over the weekend – two games in three days,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “So we’re not overtraining, we’re doing what we need to do. We’re having discussions about certain things – how we’re going to play and how we’ve been playing. So for different reasons it’s nice to have a break, but we’re soon back on it. We’ve got four games coming up in ten days after a week off, so it’s relentless to be honest with you – the amount of games you play early on. That’s why it’s important we pick up as many points as we can.”
Southport Team News:
Southport are without long-term injury victims John-Paul Kissock (fractured ankle) and Liam Martin (fractured patella), with Steven Schumacher (swollen ankle), Jack Sampson (hip) and on loan Dominic Smith also doubts for the weekend.
Southport (from): Turner, Dugdale, C. Jones, Smith, Jackson, Roberts, Jennings, Schumacher, White, Sampson, E Jones, Roache, Zama, Kpohomouh, Fletcher, Garner
Player to watch: Steve Jennings
Industrious midfielder previously having three separate spells at Tranmere Rovers while accumulating almost three-hundred senior games in Birkenhead.
York City Team News:
Defender Hamza Bencherif returns from suspension while striker Jon Parkin was also expected back following three games sidelined with a calf injury. However, Michael Rankine scored twice last weekend and could well retain his starting position.
York City (probable): Worsnop, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Whittle, Heslop, Moke, Newton, Almond, Rankine, Morgan-Smith
subs (from): Sukar, Smith, Connolly, Felix, Parkin, Muggleton, Wharton
Player to watch: Louis Almond
Still looking for his first City goal having scored twice against them last season while on loan to Southport.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen have an impressive enough record at Southport, winning twelve and drawing fourteen of their forty previous visits. However, the most recent of those was a 2-0 defeat back in October 2016, when Jamie Allen’s brace signalled an eleventh game without a victory for the visitors. Team: Letheren (Flinders), Clappison, Higgins (Rzonca), Fry, Whittle, Kamdjo, Heslop, Klukowski (Clarke), Felix, Fenwick, Galbraith. City’s last win at Haig Avenue was as far back as April 2007, when striker Clayton Donaldson scored the only goal from the penalty spot.
Link: Red Rewind – Port in a storm as City triumph
Link: Red Rewind – Clayton keeps his nerve
Link: Red Rewind – Hat-trick debutant boosts York
Southport – Salford (A); York – FC United of Manchester (H)
Weekend Games: AFC Telford v Bradford PA; Chorley v Brackley; Curzon Ashton v Blyth; FC United of Manchester v Boston; Harrogate v Tamworth; Kidderminster v Alfreton; North Ferriby v Darlington; Nuneaton v Leamington; Southport v York City; Spennymoor v Salford; Stockport v Gainsborough
League Table (Top):
1. Brackley 5 – 15 (+11)
2. Harrogate 5 – 13 (+10)
3. Southport 5 – 13 (+7)
4. Spennymoor 5 – 12 (+6)
5. Salford 5 – 12 (+5)
6. YORK CITY 5 – 10 (+7)
7. Darlington 5 – 10 (+5)