York City open their season by entertaining AFC Telford United at Bootham Crescent this weekend.
The Minstermen have experienced a mixed series of results during pre-season, but confidence is high going into an absolutely vital campaign.
Disastrous back-to-back relegations currently leaves the club unthinkably in the sixth tier of the game for the first time in their proud history, despite also achieving a memorable second Wembley FA Trophy triumph in five years back in May.
However, key managerial figure Gary Mills has successfully kept hold of most of that group, with the likes of new skipper Sean Newton, Jon Parkin, Daniel Parslow, Amari Morgan-Smith and Hamza Bencherif, also being joined by highly-rated acquisitions such as Josh Law, Louis Almond and goalkeeper Jon Worsnop.
Telford finished seventeenth in the table last season but have a new manager in Rob Edwards and a fully revamped squad while seeking much better fortunes following consecutive relegation battles.
There will be a bucket collection in memory of young Sunderland supporter Bradley Lowery prior to the game.
Photo: York City FC
Back row (L-R): Daniel Parslow, Michael Rankine, Simon Heslop, Jon Parkin, Amari Morgan-Smith, Clovis Kamdjo, Matty Fry
Middle row (L-R): Mat Johnson (First team physio), Louis Almond, Jassem Sukar, Hamza Bencherif, Luke Simpson, Andy Collett (goalkeeping coach), Jon Worsnop, Theo Wharton, Kaine Felix, Adriano Moke, Matt Hawkhead (kit-manager)
Front row (L-R): Sam Muggleton, Sean Newton, Alex Whittle, Gary Mills (Manager), Darren Caskey (Assistant-manager), Aidan Connolly, Josh Law, Connor Smith
“It’s been an excellent pre-season, one of my best actually,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “I’ve really enjoyed it in the fact that I feel everything’s come together really well. We’re all ready for it. The fans have been unbelievable with the season tickets that they’ve bought and the enthusiasm of pre-season games – the crowds that we’ve been getting. So really pleased with the way everything’s gone but ready to go now.”
York City Team News:
Defenders Hamza Bencherif and Josh Law have both recovered from slight knocks while Aidan Connolly (calf) was expected to be back in action next week. However, centre-back Matt Fry (knee) and midfielder Clovis Kamdjo (cruciate knee) remain sidelined.
York City (probable): Worsnop, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Law, Heslop, Moke, Whittle, Almond, Parkin, Morgan-Smith
subs (from): Rankine, Muggleton, Wharton, Felix, Sukar, Smith, Simpson
Player to watch: Louis Almond
Already looking sharp in pre-season and is expected to fill the void left by the recent departure of Vadaine Oliver.
AFC Telford United Team News:
Telford have brought in fifteen new players over the summer and are now under the leadership of recently-appointed manager and former Wales international defender Rob Edwards.
Player to watch: Matthew Barnes-Homer
Experienced former Luton Town striker including a whole host of other clubs.
Match Facts & Stats
The clubs have twice met at Bootham Crescent, with York winning an FA Trophy semi-final second-leg tie 2-1 in March 2009, before then surprisingly losing to a late goal from former striker Craig Farrell in their last encounter six years ago.
York – Blyth (A); Telford – Brackley (H)
Weekend Games: Alfreton v Blyth; Brackley v FC United of Manchester; Curzon Ashton v North Ferriby; Gainsborough v Leamington; Harrogate v Nuneaton; Kidderminster v Chorley; Salford v Darlington; Southport v Boston; Spennymoor v Stockport; Tamworth v Bradford PA; York City v AFC Telford