Match Preview: York City v Tranmere Rovers
By Louise Formston
September 12 2016
After last week's defeat at home to Lincoln City, Rovers are thankfully back on the road on Tuesday as they travel to face York City. Once again Louise brings us her Match Preview ahead of the game....
The games are coming thick and fast again for Rovers as they travel to Bootham Cresent on Tuesday with hopes of regaining that top spot in the National League.
After an outstanding set of results (some perhaps without matching performances) in August saw Tranmere sit top of the National League table, September has seen a dramatic downturn in results as Rovers’ have suffered two losses in a row for the first time since December 2015, where they fell to defeat against Braintree and Wrexham. However, the game against Wrexham was an FA Trophy game and you would have to go back in October 2015 to find the last time Rovers lost two league games – defeats to Dover followed a week later Lincoln. Performances have been poor for Tranmere of late, a failure to capitalise on chances has meant games are won or lost by very thin margins and this is appearing to cost them dearly.
York meanwhile are back in the National League following a four year absence. They were sadly relegated from League Two at the end of last season along with Dagenham and Redbridge and are struggling to adjust to life in the fifth tier of English football. Three wins and four losses so far this season has left York sitting 16th in the table with 11 points.
After a great start to September with a 4-0 win over Solihull Motors – maintaining their unbeaten home record this season, York fell to a 2-0 defeat against away to Torquay at the weekend. Nathan Blissett the scorer of both goals for Torquay. York have been involved in some high scoring games this season, 4-0 at the start of the month, a 4-1 win against Welling as well as a 6-1 loss to Gateshead both back in August so here’s a nailed on 0-0 come Tuesday!
The two teams last met during Rovers’ brief stint in League Two. Goals from James Rowe (remember him?!) and Keith Lowe meant a draw at Prenton Park while York ran out 2-0 victors on Valentines’ Day 2015 thanks to a Wes Fletcher brace.
Prior to that, the teams hadn’t met since the early 1990s during an FA Cup tie, which Rovers eventually won in the replay.
Injuries and Suspensions:
Connor Jennings was subbed off at half time during Saturday’s game with Lincoln, with Brabin revealing after the game Jennings had twisted his knee during the first 45 minutes. He has since been confirmed as being out for around a month which is a huge blow for Rovers.
The other Jennings in Rovers’ side escaped without a fifth booking of the season against Lincoln and Steve will live to play another game.
The Minstermen will likely be without both Aidan Connolly and Yan Klukowski after both players went off injured during Saturday’s game.
The Opposition Dugout:
Jackie McNamara is the man in charge of taking York back up to the Football League this season. The former player took over at York City back in November 2015, and was unable to stop them finishing
He started in management 2011 at Partick Thistle, but moved to the vacant managers job at Dundee in 2013 where he remained until September 2015 where he was relieved of duties after a sharp decline in form. His win rate York City is down at 19.5% but that does include a relegation so its perhaps unfair to rely on it too much but the Scot needs to find a way of inspiring York soon unless they want to spend more time down in the National League.
Guess Who: York City Edition:
Scott Flinders started this season as York’s number one but it was short lived as at the end of August 2016, the FA found Flinders guilty of racial abuse following an incident with Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon) back in March 2016. Flinders was suspended for five matches, fined £1250, and required to attend an education course whilst York City ordered him to stay away from the club.
However, the Minstermen have since renaged on that and Flinders has returned to training whilst he sees out his ban. As a result, Flinders will miss the match against Tranmere – the fifth of his five game ban and in his place former Dundee keeper Kyle Letheren will be hoping to stop Rovers scoring.
Defender Matt Fry has spent time at a club in almost every county in the country during his playing career. The 25-year old has played for Gillingham, Charlton, Bradford City, Dartford, Concord Rangers, Braintree Town and now York City having joined in the summer.
Richard Brodie is another York City player who has been around the clubs a bit. His return to York in the summer means he’s now played for 11 clubs in a career that only started 9 years ago, however the striker must have learnt something along the way as he’s scored five already in his 9 appearances making him York’s top scorer.
Scott Fenwick might be familiar to Rovers fans but for all the wrong reasons. The striker was loaned to Tranmere last season from Hartlepool in the hope he’d provide some extra firepower to launch Rovers into the playoffs, but it didn’t happen and Fenwick returned to Hartlepool where he found his contract terminated. So far, Fenwick has scored one in his four appearances this year.
My Starting XI:
I used to love doing this section, a chance to play manager just for a few minutes but lately it’s losing the fun element and I can’t explain why. Probably because I know Brabin, a fully qualified and previously highly rated coach picks worse teams than I do yet gets paid for that! Anyway, my side for York would feature:
Vaughan McNulty Ihiekwe Hughes
Maynard S. Jennings
We need to play with wingers – Saturday’s game was crying out for width and whilst Hughes and Vaughan did attempt to push forwards on occasion, they found the opposition box lacking in Rovers’ personnel. Stephenson came on in the second half and I have to say he was the only part of the game I found exciting and he deserves a chance to start on Tuesday. With Cook upfront I’m hoping he can be the target man the wingers – Mekki and Stephenson – are looking for when sending their crosses towards goal. Norwood’s best play has come from him running onto the ball over the and powering towards the goal so I’ve placed him behind Cook, back in a more central position allowing him to either receive the ball from midfield or from a Cook knock down. The defence pick itself at the minute and with support from Maynard and Steve Jenno I’m hopeful of stopping any York attacks.
Probably an unconventional line up and formation for Rovers, especially away from home but if we want to win this league I think we’re going to have to be unconventional from time to time.
I’ve also chosen not to utilise Ethan Jones, Rovers’ new signing from Shrewsbury. I’m not convinced a striker is the solution to our problems, we have very good strikers in Cook and Norwood, the issue is the lack of players with the skill to provide good shots on a regular basis throughout the 90 minutes. However, knowing Brabin, Jones will probably find himself playing at Centre Back with McNulty come Tuesday.
3-1 Rovers: Apart from Aldershot our away record in this calendar year has been exceptional and surely the players recognise the need to get back to winning ways. In reality, it’ll probably be scrappy and 1-0 to York!
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Being a long distance fan, I don't get to many matches but will be on the train heading south to York tomorrow. Trying to remain upbeat about our chances but at the moment it feels more a question of better to travel in hope than to arrive. I cant imagine we will have a repeat of our last 'performance'at this ground two years ago?