FA Trophy Preview: Harriers v York City
Harriers continue their quest for FA Trophy glory this afternoon when York City are the visitors to Aggborough.
Not only would a Harriers victory earn them £6000 and a place in the last 32 it would knock out the current holders of the Trophy, The Minstermen having beaten Macclesfield Town 3-2 in last season final. That was their second victory in the competition in six seasons and featured current Harrier Yan Klukowski in their line-up.
Dan Bradley is the only long-term injury absentee, now, with Lee Vaughan back in training; all the other minor knocks and scrapes have had ten days to recover since the last match action at Harrogate thanks to the weather. The manager could change the defence that played in the 1-1 draw at Harrogate with Joel Taylor and James Pearson now available while Manny Sonupe could return to bolster the attack after sitting out the last few games and losing his leading scorer status to Joe Ironside who now has 14, six of them in the last five games.
Since playing Harriers in the league at Bootham Crescent City have only manage to fit in two more games, knocking Coalville out of the Trophy 3-1 and losing 2-1 at Boston United in the league. Manager Martin Gray has brought in two players on loan: midfielders Sean McAllister from Grimsby and Alex Pattison from Middlesbrough. Both are available to make their debuts today. While Harriers have Klukowski who has played for City, York have Amari Morgan-Smith and Simon Heslop who have played for Harriers, although Heslop has been told that he is surplus to requirements at Bootham Crescent and is unlikely to feature.
Just last month the sides played out a 1-1 draw in the league at Bootham Crescent, the first meeting for five years.With nine wins to seven from 26 previous meetings Harriers have a slight edge although in the FA Trophy both previous games have been drawn, City made progress in the 2008-09 season after an epic penalty shootout.
I expect Harrier to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Hall; Pearson, Taylor, O'Connor, Horsfall; Weeks, McQuilkin, Croasdale; Ngwatala, Ironside, Sonupe.
Subs (from): Austin, A. Brown, Danko, Eve, Klukowski, Truslove, Williams, Wright.
Missing (injured): Bradley, Vaughan.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Clarke, Digie, Palmer.
Missing (dual-reg): Finch, Webb.
The referee this afternoon will be Martin Woods from Wigan; this will be his second Harriers game having done the 3-0 home win over Alfreton Town last season.
This afternoon's weather is forecast to be showery with a 35% chance of rain, which could make the frosty pavements treacherous again, and a temperature around 5°C.