Its the war of the roses this weekend, as York City travel over the Pennines to take on Stockport County.
Stockport County vs York City, Edgeley Park
27th Jan 2018, 3pm KO
Once upon a time, this was a regular Football League fixture, before both sides experienced a mortifying downward spiral to regional football in recent years.
It’s never been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Minstermen, but they will be looking to continue their six match unbeaten run with victory at Edgeley Park this Saturday.
York lost their five match winning run with a 2-2 home draw with playoff rivals Spennymoor Town last week, but a victory could see City go nine points clear in the playoffs.
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|8||Bradford P A||26||11||6||9||43||33||10||39|
|14||FC United of Manchester||27||9||6||12||43||53||-10||33|
|20||AFC Telford United||24||8||3||13||32||44||-12||27|
|22||North Ferriby Utd||26||1||4||21||11||68||-57||7|
York City preview
Gray backed by the Chairman
Off-field issues have surrounded Bootham Crescent this week, with sparks flying between Jason McGill and the York City Supporters Trust over funding of the club.
The Supporters Trust, who own a 25% share of the club, have shown a lack of trust for McGill’s future plans as City chairman this week.
That lead the chairman to release an angry statement showing his discontent for the lack of funds shown by the trust and rumours have circulated that McGill may pull the plug on City if things don’t go his way.
The ownership tensions have not transferred onto the playing field though, according to sporting director Dave Penney.
Penney told the media on Thursday (Jan 25th) that there has been no talk in the playing camp about the off-field troubles and manager Martin Gray still has the chairman’s full support.
I’ve not heard the players talking about it. We can only influence what happens on the pitch.
The chairman backs the manager with everything he wants to do. I don’t think it really effects players in terms of their performances.
I think a lot of them live away from York so they don’t get to see what goes on in the press anyway.
Whether it effects them subconsciously? I’m not sure.
– Dave Penney
Trio fit and ready
Top scoring giant Jon Parkin will be fit for Saturday’s game, along with Hamza Bencherif and Simon Heslop, who were all monitored for fitness this week.
Both Heslop and Bencherif picked up knocks on Saturday, while Parkin ‘hasn’t been 100%’ after struggling with a slight hamstring injury.
But Dave Penney is confident all three will be fit for the game. He and Martin Gray attended Stockport’s 4-1 defeat to Harrogate on Tuesday and Penney has warned that the Greater Manchester side will be looking for a reaction against York on Saturday.
“Heslop has trained today, and certainly, he’s okay. Hamza’s been fine, he received a kick that got quite sore but there is no ligament damage so he will play,” said Penney.
“You would think off the back of a 4-1 defeat that Jim (County’s manager) will be looking for a reaction. They’ve got plenty of players who can step in and do a job.
“It’s a big game for the home clubs when we come calling, they have a big support so it all makes up for a really nice game.”
Stockport County preview
Stadium: Edgeley Park
Nickname: The Hatters
Manager: Jim Gannon
League Position: 10th
Top Scorer: Jason Oswell (21)
If there is one thing people notice about teams in this league, it’s a fall from grace. That is certainly the case with arguably the biggest of the bunch, Stockport County.
Before they were struck with financial troubles, leading to administration and relegation from the football league in 2010, they had not been lower than division four since 1905.
Current manager Jim Gannon has seen it all with the Hatters, having made 383 appearances for them as a player, and is now in his third management spell at the club.
An avid Hatters fan, Gannon is a loved character around Edgeley Park, especially after leading them to promotion to League 1 in his first stint as manager.
Seven years later, and Gannon is contesting for promotion once more, but in the 6th tier of English football. County, who currently sit in 10th, have only lost one game at home all season, but have experienced a dip in recent weeks.
Despite two consecutive away losses, including a 4-1 defeat at Harrogate on Tuesday night, Gannon is confident that County will be back to winning ways come 5 o’clock on Saturday.
York have probably got one of the biggest budget full time, they’ve struggled to adapt to this level, but their on the rise now.
I think the run of fixtures they’ve had recently have been winnable, but they haven’t blew away teams. Our player’s will have to be on their toes, but if we get our defensive game right, we should win the game.
I think people shouldn’t judge us on our last two games, but we are a force at home at Edgeley Park and I’m sure York and Martin won’t take our team and our massive support for granted.
– Jim Gannon
Man to watch: Jason Oswell
Oswell joined County in the summer of 2017 after winning the Golden Boot in the Welsh Premier League, scoring 22 goals for Newtown.
He was Player of the Year for the Welsh outfit and also has European experience from his time in the principality, scoring twice in the Europa League.
This season, he is the second top scorer in the National League North with 19 league goals, only one behind City’s own Jon Parkin.
Head to head record
Last time out: Goals from Simon Heslop and Amari Morgan-Smith secured a 2-0 win for York City back in September.
Stockport are well ahead on overall wins in this fixture. In 90 recorded meetings, Stockport have 42 victories to York’s 30, with 18 matches finishing a draw.
City have only met Stockport three times since 1997 (including this season), winning all three of those games. City did the double over County in their 2011/2012 promotion winning season, with 2-1 victory’s both at home and away.
I was bang on the money once more in the Spennymoor game. Higgs Predicts is becoming more of a Mystic Meg!
Since the new year, City have found each game harder and harder (minus the crazy Telford game) and I get the feeling this Saturday will be possibly the trickiest task of the year for City so far.
County have not lost a game at home since October and have only failed to score once at home all season.
City and Stockport share a high goals scored to goals conceded ratio, so you would expect another high scoring game on Saturday… sorry Martin, I don’t see a clean sheet for you this week!
I think it could be a difficult occasion for City, who will be faced by a Stockport team in desperate need of a moral boosting win to get thier playoff hopes back on track.
If City don’t improve their defensive game, I can see a loss coming, but I hope I’m wrong and it will be a great atmosphere at Edgeley Park either way!
Higgs Predicts: Stockport County 3-1 York City