Following another week of distressing and all-too-familiar in-house turmoil spilling out across the wider community, play-off-chasing York City thankfully revert back to matters where it most counts, out on the pitch, as they take on neighbours Harrogate Town at Bootham Crescent this weekend.
Having seen their scheduled Easter Monday game at FC United of Manchester unfortunately washed out due to the unfavourable weather, City subsequently slipped a place to sixth in the table after Stockport County’s rapid fixture rescheduling brought them a 3-2 home victory against Tamworth just twenty-fours later.
But with Spennymoor Town then going down by the same scoreline at AFC Telford only last night, the Minstermen at least remain in that same position and with a clear five-point gap over the chasing Blyth Spartans and Chorley, although both of those clubs have a game in hand.
Free-scoring Harrogate still retain firm aspirations of automatic promotion, and are currently only a single victory behind table-topping Salford City with just a handful of games remaining.
However, York could inflict a serious dent on those hopes should they emerge with a tenth victory of the season at home, where they remain undefeated since the turn of the year, as with the leaders simultaneously hosting relegation-threatened Gainsborough Trinity, the divide could become a whole lot more significant come 5.00pm on Saturday evening.
“We’ve got to respect Harrogate being in the top three all season,” manager Martin Gray told BBC Radio York. “Simon’s [Weaver] done a great job there. They’ve gone full-time this year and adapted to that very well, and that’s probably been a big key to their success. I think their home pitch helps them ever so much and has worked to their advantage. But it’s a derby game and form goes out of the window. It’s a battle and a scrap and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for this game.”
York City Team News:
On loan midfielder Alex Pattison was expected to return from an ankle knock while former skipper Simon Heslop has completed a two-game suspension. But forward trio Alex Kempster [hamstring], Louis Almond [hamstring] and Jon Parkin [knee] remain sidelined. Clovis Kamdjo [cruciate ligament] is continuing his recovery and getting closer to a recall following well over a year out.
York City (probable): Bartlett, Burn, Parslow, Bencherif, Law, Heslop, Newton, Ferguson, Pattison, Connolly, Correia
subs (from): Moke, Brown, Smith, Simpson, McNaughton, Gray
Player to watch: Aidan Connolly
Significantly light in attack, the hosts really need the smallest player in their squad to be their biggest attribute this weekend.
Harrogate Town Team News:
On loan Leeds United defender Liam Kitching begins a three-match suspension in an otherwise full-strength squad. That includes ex-City duo John McCombe and Jake Wright, their former trialist Dominic Knowles, and a recent transfer target in one-time Darlington marksman Mark Beck.
Harrogate Town (probable): Belshaw, Fallowfield, Parker, Falkingham, Burrell, McCombe, Thomson, Emmett, Wright, Knowles, Leesley
subs: Cracknell, Beck, Kennedy, Thewlis, Agnew
Player to watch: John McCombe
Former City favourite who scored his first goal in the recent 5-1 victory against Blyth Spartans.
Match Facts & Stats
No previous meetings of the sides at league level at Bootham Crescent.
York – Nuneaton (A); Harrogate – Southport (H)
Weekend Games: AFC Telford v Chorley; Alfreton v Spennymoor; Blyth v Kidderminster; Bradford PA v Leamington; Curzon Ashton v Brackley; Darlington v Boston; North Ferriby v Stockport; Salford v Gainsborough; Southport v Nuneaton; Tamworth v FC United of Manchester; York City v Harrogate