York City are targeting a second successive FA Trophy final appearance when hosting National League leaders Lincoln City in their all-ticket semi-final first-leg at Bootham Crescent this evening.
The Minstermen famously collected silverware whilst defeating Newport County 2-0 back in May 2012: one of five visits to Wembley, winning on three occasions. Lincoln, by contrast, have never been there.
However, the visitors certainly had much the better of it when comfortably victorious 4-1 in the earlier league clash back in November, although York since brought back a very creditable point from Sincil Bank just a fortnight ago.
The next week is undoubtedly going to be particularly crucial for the hosts, who could secure themselves another trip to the capital for a final scheduled three weeks after their closing league game; while there is also the matter of an even more important home league clash with currently bottom-of-the-table Southport just seven days ahead.
And should York emerge through that trio of key games with favourable outcomes, that can only help drive them through their remaining league programme with still the very enticing opportunity of a double celebration at the end of an otherwise simply agonising season.
“I’ve got the Wembley bug and the two big games against Lincoln to get our club to Wembley,” manager Gary Mills told BBC Radio York. “I think it’s a great feeling in a semi-final of a big competition that finishes off at Wembley. It’s not the stage to go out. We want to finish it off by getting ourselves to Wembley. I like the competition; maybe I just love getting to Wembley and getting myself a new suit all the time. First and foremost we’ve got to get there. We know we’re up against a tough challenge against a team that are absolutely flying this season. We’ve got to go and prove that we can get a result against anybody at the moment.”
York City Team News:
Weekend goalscorer Yan Klukowski is set to miss out with a recurrence of his recent calf injury, while another couple of unnamed players have been suffering from a sickness bug. Should that trio be unavailable, it would witness youth-team players being included on the bench.
York City (from): Letheren, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Heslop, Moke, Hall, Whittle, Oliver, Parkin, Morgan-Smith, Fenwick, Connolly, Rooney, Holmes, Simpson
Player to watch: Jon Parkin
Seven goals since returning to the club in November and eleven in total this season.
Lincoln City Team News:
On loan pair Lee Angol and Josh Ginnelly were expected to return for the visitors having been ineligible to face Arsenal at the weekend. Former York loanee midfielder Elliott Whitehouse could also be recalled, with Lee Beevers still out with a dislocated knee.
Player to watch: Lee Angol
On loan Peterborough United striker who scored a hat-trick on his recent Imps debut at Braintree Town.
Match Facts & Stats
Lincoln’s 4-1 victory in November was only their second visit to Bootham Crescent at non-league level. They’d already been defeated 2-0 five years earlier, when Danny Pilkington and Paddy McLaughlin both netted. Prior to that the Imps made 37 trips in the Football League, winning seven times and drawing eleven.
York – Lincoln FATSF2L (A); Lincoln – York FATSF2L (H)
Tonight’s National League Games: Boreham Wood v Dover; Macclesfield v Gateshead; Sutton v Forest Green; Torquay v Tranmere