Preview: York City v Harriers
The messing about with friendlies is over and the proper action begins in earnest tomorrow as Harriers visit York.
It's a large step into the unknown for Harriers who will be giving debuts to several players; 13 new signings have been made by Steve Burr over the summer and six or seven of them are likely to be in the starting line-up. Definitely missing from the line-up are Lee Vaughan, who begins a four-game suspension for misdemeanours committed while with previous club Telford, and John Finnigan who won't be risked after picking up a knee injury in last week's friendly at Hednesford. Tom Shaw should fill in at right-back for Vaughan; Tom Sharpe should be OK to line-up alongside Marc Albrighton after shaking off the injury that he got at Hednesford. In midfield Jack Byrne is likely to start in place of Finnigan while the interesting selection will be who is chosen to start on the left. After a very shaky start to pre-season Harriers head into tomorrow's game full of confidence on the back of six-straight wins and just one goal conceded.
York have two ex-Harriers in their team looking to get one over on their former club in Duane Courtney and David McDermott. Courtney, however, added spice to the game this week with comments to the local press in York suggesting that some players have a grudge against Harriers because they feel that they have been messed around by the club, a suggestion strongly refuted by Burr. City have had a mixed set of results in their warm-up games, most recently losing to Ilkeston Town but also drawing with Hartlepool and beating North Ferriby and Market Drayton.
Previously Harriers have not had the best of times at Bootham Crescent, winning just once in ten previous visits - a 1-0 victory through a Colin Larkin goal in March 2002. Overall, though, Harriers have the upper-hand slightly with seven wins to six from 20 meetings. Last season's corresponding fixture ended in a 3-2 City win as Harriers played for 80 minutes with ten men after Gavin Caines was sent-off.
The referee tomorrow will be Jake Collin from Liverpool. This will be his fifth time in charge of a Harriers game. The previous four ended in one draw - last season's home game with Tamworth - and three Harriers wins including last season's home game with Wrexham and previous games at Guisely and Morecambe.
I expect Harriers to line up as follows (4-4-2): Lewis; Shaw, Williams, Albrighton, Sharpe; Hankin, Briggs, Byrne, Gittings; McPhee, Morris.
Subs (from): Griffiths, Wright, Briscoe, Blair, Hadley, Stevens.
Missing (injured): Finnigan.
Missing (suspended): Vaughan.
The weather forecast for tomorrow suggests that York will experience light rain around kick-off time and a temperature of 18°C.