York City have the opportunity of putting considerable distance in the table between themselves and latest opponents Southport at Bootham Crescent this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Minstermen would move nine points clear of a side that has only recently unexpectedly forced its way into play-off contention, should they achieve their sixteenth league win of the season.
The hosts approach the contest having narrowly lost 2-1 at promotion rivals Kidderminster Harriers last time out; that after previously maintaining their unbeaten home record since the turn of the year when scrapping to a narrow 1-0 success against Boston United.
City still have eight games remaining, with three of their next four at home, but then only one of their final quartet. Those include a couple of meetings with teams now appearing certain to finish in the top three.
Meanwhile, Southport’s surprise weekend reversal to Alfreton Town shattered their recent record-equalling five straight home victories, as they now threaten to make a late challenge under former England striker Kevin Davies.
“We’ve got to make sure we come out of the blocks flying,” manager Martin Gray told BBC Radio York. “It’s a big game for Southport; they’ve still got a great chance of the play-offs. I don’t think a draw would be any good for either team, so we’ve got to be sure we’re on top of our game, respect them as you’d respect anybody else and make sure we’re at our best.”
York City Team News:
Midfielder Simon Heslop begins a two-match suspension following his recent sending-off against Boston United. Adriano Moke is likely to return in his place.
York City (probable): Bartlett, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Brown, Moke, Pattison, Ferguson, Connolly, Parkin, Almond
subs: Smith, Kempster, Burn, Simpson, Correia
Player to watch: Louis Almond
Comes up against his former club having scored twice for them in the corresponding game last season.
Southport Team News:
The visitors are set to include former York pair Jon Worsnop and on loan Alex Whittle. However, 26-goal Jason Gilchrist is their big danger-man having already scored at City for FC United of Manchester earlier this season. Another decent marksman at this level, Ross Hannah, who is on loan from Chester, is also in contention. Skipper David Lynch remains available despite his weekend sending-off, while Graham Kelly could also return. But Iain Turner [hip], Curtis Jones [back], Liam Martin [cruciate], David Morgan [hamstring], Josh Hine [ankle] and John-Paul Kissock [migraines] are sidelined.
Southport (possible): Worsnop, Marx, Howson, Priestley, Richards, Lynch, Osborne, Whittle, Charles, Gilchrist, Sampson
subs: Hannah, Cockerline, Halstead, Dawson, Smith
Player to watch: Jon Worsnop
Experienced former York goalkeeper making an early return to Bootham Crescent.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen have two victories and a couple of draws in five non-league home meetings with Southport. Their latest encounter was just over a year ago, when York triumphed 5-3 after goals from Sean Newton, Vadaine Oliver, Jon Parkin (2) and Amari Morgan-Smith. Current City striker Louis Almond was twice on target at the other end. Team: Letheren (Simpson), Rooney, Bencherif, Parslow, Heslop, Hall (Muggleton), Connolly (Moke), Newton, Morgan-Smith, Parkin, Oliver.
Meanwhile, during the two clubs’ respective more successful Football League days, the visitors won nine and drew eleven of 32 clashes; although York notably achieved their record 9-1 league victory against Southport on 2nd February 1957 in front of an 8,801 attendance.
Link: Red Rewind – City rally as Port finally stormed
Link: Red Rewind – Nine-up for rampant York
York – Chorley (H); Southport – Darlington (A)
Monday’s Results: Bradford PA 2-1 AFC Telford; Curzon Ashton P-P Nuneaton
Tonight’s Games: Alfreton v Kidderminster; Brackley v Boston; Harrogate v Spennymoor; Salford v Blyth; York City v Southport