Serious test for Minstermen
Sat 17th Nov
York City return to league action with a difficult trip to high-flying Port Vale this weekend. A series of recent games against AFC Wimbledon has rather put the buffers on their season of late with two defeats and a draw against the West London outfit. York's response in their FA Cup first round replay was certainly a decent one following on immediately from their shocking 3-0 home reversal to the Dons a couple of days earlier. But it again highlighted an ongoing problem for the visitors this season as they somehow conspired not to win a game they should in fact have comfortably settled by half-time. Port Vale are likely to be a completely different proposition as they have already proved one of the division's real surprise packages this season, whilst defying severe financial troubles, winding up petitions and recent administration to remain hot-on-the-heels of current leaders Gillingham. They have though failed to win any of their last four league games and include a recent defeat at Northampton Town.
"We are three points off the play-offs in League Two," York boss Gary Mills told The Press. "Everybody is now saying, 'What's going wrong?' It's incredible. We have progressed unbelievably with the same set of players. Now if we continue to play like we did last Saturday, with poor performances, then it becomes an issue. But I think my players showed, along with myself, how we pulled together on Monday."
Port Vale Team News:
Port Vale are without suspended winger Ashley Vincent while midfielder Sam Morsy is also still banned. But centre-back John McCombe returns from a three-match suspension and skipper Doug Loft hopes to shake-off a calf strain in time to feature.
Port Vale (probable): Neal, Yates, McCombe, McDonald, Taylor, Myrie- Williams, Dodds, Burge, Lloyd, Williamson, Pope
Player to watch: Tom Pope
Top scorer who is proving something of a sensation this season with 17 goals in 21 games from the former Crewe Alexandra and Rotherham United striker.
York City Team News:
Midfielder Scott Kerr is suspended after being sent-off during the FA Cup defeat at AFC Wimbledon. Daniel Parslow is likely to replace him with Lanre Oyebanjo switching to his usual right-back role. Striker Oli Johnson is doubtful with a stomach problem but on loan Alex Rodman is available after being cup-tied in midweek. Jamie Reed scored twice last time out but will probably again be restricted to the bench.
York City (probable): Ingham, Oyebanjo, Carlisle, C. Smith, Fyfield, Parslow, Kearns, Blair, Chambers, Walker, Rodman
subs: Musselwhite, McGurk, Doig, Potts, Challinor, McLaughlin, Reed
Player to watch: Daniel Parslow
Expected to replace the suspended Scott Kerr in the key midfield holding role and always a trusted figure by his manager.
Match Facts & Stats
The Minstermen have made a total of 23 previous league visits to Port Vale, winning three of them and drawing seven. Their last league trip came in April 1994 when suffering a 2-1 defeat - with the late Steve Cooper their goalscorer. However, they were more succcessful on their most recent visit with a 2-1 League Cup first round first-leg win in August 1997. Goals arrived from Gary Bull and Steve Bushell in the following side: Samways, McMillan, Tutill, Barras, Hall, Campbell (Stephenson), Bushell. Tinkler, Pouton, Rowe (Tolson), Bull