FA Cup Preview: Harriers v York City
Harriers take a break from Conference action this afternoon and embark on the trail to Wembley wit the visit of York City in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
Steve Burr's resources will be stretched to the limit today; FA Cup rules allow for the naming of seven substitutes which will mean that every available player will have to be in the squad whether they are fit or not. Aaron Griffiths is suspended, Kyle Hadley is out on loan and Marc Williams is unable to play at the reequest of his parent club Wrexham. The departure yesterday of John Finnigan meant that there were just 17 available players in the squad but to them has been added Robert Thompson-Brown who was part of the youth team last season and trialled with the first team squad in pre-season but has been with Redditch since then. There are a number of injuries for Burr to consider, Keith Briggs has an adductor strain, Jack Byrne has a groin injury and Mike Williams who is still carrying the hip injury that kept him out last week. Williams may be forced into action with Griffiths unavailable but Tom Shaw could come in at left back having finished the game there last weekend.
York are under new management, Gary Mills left Tamworth to take over from Martin Foyle a couple of weeks ago and began his new job with a 1-1 draw against Bath City. York haven't had the best of seasons so far, since losing at home to Harriers on Opening Day they have managed just four victories and lie in 16th place in the league. One of Mills' first tasks was to re-sign ex-Harrier David McDermott who had been released by Foyle only a couple of weeks previously; Mills has, however, released a number of fringe players in a bid to reduce the size and improve the overall quality of his squad. As well as McDermott City should also feature ex-Harrier Duane Courtney and new-signing Chris Smith who also featured for Harriers in a couple of reserve team games in 2001.
Harriers have already beaten City this season, winning 2-1 at Bootham Crescent on Opening Day with goals from Callum Gittings and Shaw. In cup competitions the teams have met on one occasion, needing two games, drawing at Aggborough in the FA Trophy in January 2009 and drawing the replay with city taking the tie 13-12 on penalties.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-4-2): Lewis, Vaughan, Mike Williams, Briscoe, Albrighton; Blair, Briggs, Shaw, Gittings; McPhee, Morris.
Subs (from): Hankin, Byrne, Wright, Sharpe, Thorne, Thompson-Brown, Stevens.
Missing (on loan): Hadley.
Missing (suspended): Griffiths.
Missing (ineligible): Marc Williams.
The weather this afternoon is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a temperature around 10°C.