An Easter double header for York City begins with the visit of playoff chasing Chorley this Saturday (Mar 31st).
Mar 31st 2018, 3pm KO
Bootham Crescent was rocking after witnessing a 90th minute winner in a massively important 3-2 win over Southport in midweek.
City now have seven games standing between them and a playoff place at the end of the season, including two in three days, as City travel to FC United of Manchester on Easter Monday.
But first, City face another important challenge, as they welcome a Chorley team who will be desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive – they are just four points off seventh with two games in hand over York.
The Minstermen are unbeaten at home in 2018 though, and after a moral boosting midweek victory following traumatic off field troubles, spirits will be sky high in the York dressing room for this one.
City will be without Jon Parkin this weekend as the top scorer awaits his knee operation, and midfielder Simon Heslop will serve the final game of his two-match ban for his red card against Boston earlier in the month.
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York City preview
Injury worries eased
Maybe it’s fate that Alex Kempster and Louis Almond would both come off with injuries and thus allowing James Gray to score a 90th minute winner for his first York goal.
Nevertheless, manager Martin Gray is sure that both injuries suffered by the two forwards aren’t as serious as first thought and he is confident they will both be involved against Chorley on Saturday.
Gray said that big Jon’s knee injury is nothing out of the ordinary for the striker, and is hopeful to see him back in the next couple of weeks and well in time for if City make the playoffs.
The manager said it was refreshing to see three forwards score without top scorer Jon Parkin in the team.
Gray has also not ruled out the possibility of including long term absentee Clovis Kamdjo on the bench this weekend. He said:
The two forwards (Kempster and Almond) as well as Alex Pattison are looking really good. The injuries are nowhere near as bad as we first thought and hopefully, they’ll be right for the weekend.
For Jon, it’s normal procedures. It’s just a case of getting his knee flushed out and it won’t be long before he’s back on the training ground. It’s a really quick turnaround the way they deal with these injuries now days.
There aren’t many strikers who have scored as many Jon has at this point of the season, so it was refreshing to see three goals from three different attacking players without him in the team.
Kamdjo is a powerful lad, he’s starting to come into what we’re looking at and i’ve no concerns with putting him on the bench this weekend at all. He’s a real tough character that doesn’t say a lot, but his actions speak louder than words.
It will be one of York’s toughest games of the season this Saturday. Chorley have conceded the second least amount of goals in the league, and are desperate for a victory to propel them towards the playoffs.
Martin Gray is expecting an all out attacking performance from the red rose side, and has warned his players to be respectful towards the attacking quality that Chorley possess.
The manager is happy to be going into a busy period of fixtures, as he feels a winning mentality grows with the momentum of having more games to play.
“It’s a game where they’ve got to come and win to close the gap, so they will come attacking minded and we’ve got to make sure we respect that. It will be a tough game.
“I think the busy Easter period is good, the winning mentality carries with momentum that come with more games. When we came off the pitch against Southport there was a great feeling, and we have to make sure we put in the same performance again.
“They beat us back in September, so they will be coming with a positive mindset. We watched their game against Boston and Boston were very much like they were when they came here, really physical and hard to beat, so we’ve got to make sure we are like that too.”
Law’s happy return
Martin Gray respected the performances of returning players in his team on Tuesday night… Josh Law more than anyone else.
The right back made his first appearance in the first team for 2 months on Tuesday and was one of the better performers in the team, playing in his right-wing-back role.
Law thinks the 3-5-2 system suits him well, as it allows him to get forward and help the attackers with a crossing ability that we all know the defender has.
He is delighted to be back in the fold and has his eye on taking revenge against a Chorley side who were physically and mentally better than York in the 2-0 reverse fixture defeat. He said:
When you’ve been out of the team for a while, you start to think you’re not wanted.
On Monday, I was highly involved in set piece training, and from that I knew I was going to play. It feels great to get back in the team and win at the same time.
I enjoy playing wingback. It allows you to get forward a bit more and takes away a little responsibility from sitting in as a right back. I think we were comfortable in that system for at least 60-65 minutes before the nerves kicked in.
It was a poor afternoon there earlier in the season. The pitch wasn’t great and they beat us physically, we weren’t up for it mentally, so hopefully we can get revenge on them this weekend.
Stadium: Victory Park
Capacity: 4,100 (900 seated)
Nickname: The Magpies
Colours: Black and White stripes (All red away)
Manager: Matt Jansen
League Position: 10th
Top Scorer: Josh Wilson (11)
Chorley arrive at Bootham Crescent with a remarkable set of statistics.
Sitting four points off the playoffs in 10th, the Magpies have conceded the second least goals in the league behind Brackley, but have score the third fewest goals in the league, only one goal ahead of second bottom side Gainsborough.
Matt Jansen’s side are clearly built on a solid foundation, but they have drawn more games than anyone in the league this season (12), and that could prove the difference for Chorley failing to reach the playoffs this year.
To make matters worse, the Lancashire side recently lost 13-goal top scorer Nick Haughton to Salford City, who many – including Martin Gray – rated as one of the top attacking players in the division.
After a run of only one defeat in nine, Chorley were beaten 1-0 by a dogged Boston side last week, and now find themselves desperately needing a win against City to keep their playoff hopes alive this season.
However, former Blackburn striker Jansen will still be confident on guiding the Magpies to the playoffs, having only finished two places outside of them in his first full season in football management with Chorley last season.
Man to watch: Jason Walker
Walker will receive a warm welcome to Bootham Crescent on Saturday. The 34-year-old scored 27 goals in a successful 2-year-period that saw York promoted back to the Football League and win the FA Trophy between 2011-2013.
Walker joined Chorley from Barrow in 2016 and has scored 17 goals in 55 appearances for the Magpies. This season, Walker has scored 8 goals and has been a huge part of a tough Chorley outfit this season, playing alongside 11 goal top scorer Josh Wilson in a front two.
City manager Martin Gray had previously tried to sign the striker while at Darlington, and said on Thursday that his team will need to respect his experience and quality on the day.
Last time out: In the only other recorded meeting in history between the two sides, Chorley were worthy 2-0 winners at Victory Park back in September. Two first half goals from top scorer Josh Wilson condemned York to back to back defeats for Gary Mills’ men, who were never up for the challenge on the day.
Chorley have played the most amount of games finishing 0-0 this season, which is part and parcel of their low scoring record. City have conceded 22 goals more than the Magpies despite being five places above them in the league.
Chorley have not won away since the 13th of January when they won 2-0 at Curzon Ashton. City meanwhile, have an unbeaten home record in 2018, having won 5 and drawn 2 of their 7 home games since the turn of the year.
Chorley have one of the lowest records for goals scored away from home in the league. They have managed a mere 15 compared to York’s 34, but in 18 home games, City have only managed to keep 5 clean sheets, which will give Saturday’s visitors hope.