It’s fair to say that 2017 will be a year to forget for most York City fans.

York City vs North Ferriby United

Bootham Crescent

Monday Jan 1, KO 3pm

Winning the FA Trophy will always be a shimmer of light on the dark days of sixth division football, brought to Bootham Crescent in 2017.

A poor Christmas period has left City clinging on to the playoffs when most would have expected the club to be challenging for top spot.

Martin Gray’s side will now be looking to change the club’s fortunes in 2018, starting with a victory over bottom side North Ferriby United on New Year’s Day.

After sweeping the Villagers away with a 1-4 away victory last Monday, you would think City will be full of confidence going into the return fixture.

A win could send York, who currently sit in 10th, into the play-off zone should Kidderminster lose their game at home to Telford.

York City team news

Defender departs

A fair challenge from the now former City defender. Photography © Ian Parker
York City defender Alex Whittle has departed for League 2 side Forest Green Rovers, as the Minstermen prepare for their first game of 2018.

The 24-year-old left back has been allowed to leave on a free-transfer to the Gloucestershire side, having fallen out of favour in City’s defensive options.

This may come as no surprise to City fans, after the former Liverpool man handed a transfer request in following the club’s relegation.

After deciding to stay in the summer, Whittle was a regular at left-back under former boss Gary Mills. However, after the 1-1 home draw with Kidderminster back in November, Whittle was dropped for young David Ferguson and hasn’t played since under new boss Martin Gray.

Whittle made a total of 59 appearances for the club and leaves City short of defensive reinforcements ahead of the New Year’s Day fixture.

Parkin power

Jon Parkin celebrating his hatrick at North Ferriby. Photography © Ian Parker

Jon Parkin scored his first hat-trick in eight years, after playing with North Ferriby’s defence last Monday.

The 36-year-old has now racked up 21 goals only half way through the season and will be odds on to add to this on New Year’s Day.

City have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game. It is likely that manager Martin Gray will stick with the side that thrashed Ferriby last Monday.

The consistent creative interplay between Parkin, Pattison, Connolly and Morgan-Smith was some of the best attacking football City fans will have witnessed this season.

However, impressive performances in attack were matched with questionable one’s in defence. A catalogue of errors from City’s centre backs Burn and Bencherif should have seen City concede more if it wasn’t for some poor finishing from Ferriby.

City are desperate for a clean sheet having gone a whopping 16 matches without one. If changes are to be made, Gray may look to switch things up in his back line once more, with Dan Parslow and Dan Rowe being the only real alternative options for City.

North Ferriby Preview

Jon Parkin giving North Ferriby defender Jack Walters a hard time. Photography © Ian Parker
It’s backs against the wall in the New Year for lowly part-timers North Ferriby. They travel to Bootham Crescent on New Year’s Day rooted at the bottom of the National League North table.

The Villagers have only managed to pick up 7 points from 23 games this season. Ferriby striker Carl Stewart’s gifted goal against City last Monday was only the Hull side’s 10th of the whole campaign.

Ferriby manager Chris Bolder has found life difficult since joining in November, having lost all of his four matches in charge of the club so far.

He spoke to the club’s website about the difficulties of competing with full-time clubs after Ferriby’s defeat to City last Monday.

The frailties we’ve shown in the few games I’ve been in charge with the goals we’re conceding are a recurring theme in and it is something we need to put right and put right quickly.

Both Harrogate and York are full-time and that makes a difference in fitness level especially where we’re going to be defending for long periods and towards the end of a game.

Working full-time with players also means you can implement your tactics and philosophy. You get to know players inside out. We have to try to do that in a couple of sessions a week.

Chris Bolder

Ferriby will be without former City striker Callum Rzonca after he came off with a hamstring injury in the first half of last week’s match.

However, United will have an extra attacking option on the day, as former striker Alex Davidson returned to the club on Friday (Dec 29th).

Villagers striker Brett Agnew will be pushing for a start after receiving high praise from the manager. Bolder believes the Scotsman – who has a day job as a van driver – can step up to the league’s level after being a prolific scorer in the lower leagues.

New Year throwback

Former York City striker Richard Brodie was a New Year hero 10 years ago. Photography © Ian Parker

North Ferriby ran out 0-1 winners in this fixture last New Year’s Day. Unpopular former City striker Reece Thompson grabbed the winner to send City bottom of the National League.

The last time City won on New Year’s Day was back in 2014. Ryan Jarvis grabbed the winner in a 1-0 home win over Morecambe to send the Minstermen clear of the League 2 drop zone.

10 years ago, City were on the winning end of a New Year’s Day cracker away at Droylsden in the Conference. City came from 2-0 down to win 4-3, with two goals in the 90th and 91st minutes from Richard Brodie sealing victory for the Minstermen.

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/9kEKH57IWTU” title=”York City 0-1 North Ferriby United 01.01.2017″ /]

Higgs predicts

In the away fixture, York had too much quality for North Ferriby and the Hull side could not deal with City’s prolific talisman Jon Parkin, on and off the ball.

Ferriby had a number of clear cut chances on the back of a series of calamitous errors from the City back line on the day. York were lucky not to concede more because of this, but in the return fixture, i’m banking on City to finally end their abysmal run of no clean sheets in sixteen matches.

Higgs predicts: York City 2-0 North Ferriby United