Bootham Crescent, Saturday 15th November, 15:00
Form (last 8 L2 matches)
YCFC: LLDLLDDW – 6 points
OUFC: DLWLWWLL – 1o points
Last Time Out
YCFC: FA Cup First Round: York City 1-1 AFC Wimbledon
OUFC: FA Cup First Round: Grimsby Town 1-3 Oxford United
- Both sides have got off to very slow starts in League Two, perhaps suffering an extended hangover from disappointing finales to last season. York who lost in the play-offs to eventual winners Fleetwood Town and Oxford who won just two of their final ten games to drop out of the play-off positions.
- The previous meeting of these two sides saw York claim a 1-0 win, with Michael Coulson scoring an early second half penalty at the Kassam Stadium.
- A York win would see them leapfrog Oxford into 19th position whilst a victory for Oxford could potentially put more distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
York City and Oxford United come into Saturday’s League Two encounter off the back of differing results in last week’s FA Cup. York took the lead but could only draw against AFC Wimbledon and face a replay on Tuesday night whilst Oxford were comfortable 3-1 victors at Vanarama Conference side Grimsby Town. Managers Russ Wilcox and Michael Appleton will be looking to put thoughts of the FA Cup Second Round draw behind them as their teams enter Saturday’s game with just one place separating them in the League Two table.
York secured only their second win of the season in their last league game with a hard fought 1-0 victory at Cheltenham which extended their mini unbeaten run up to three games after successive draws against Morecambe and Mansfield. Oxford on the other hand have tasted two defeats in a row, going down 2-1 to leaders Wycombe and by the same result in their long trip to Carlisle. Prior to this, the U’s had won at Northampton and beaten fellow strugglers Tranmere.
Wilcox will be forced into at least one change after Deon Burton’s loan spell from Scunthorpe was curtailed by injury. The 38 year old former Jamaican international is expected to be sidelined for 2-3 months. Defender John McCombe also exited the field early against Wimbledon but is expected to be fit to challenge his replacement Stephane Zubar for a starting spot. Wes Fletcher made a return from injury as substitute against ‘The Wombles’ and could find himself back in the starting XI with Burton unavailble and Diego De Girolamo (recalled by Sheffield United) not guaranteed to be back at the club in time. Goalkeeper Alex Cisak was ineligible as part of his loan deal from Burnley for the FA Cup and was replaced by Michael Ingham. Cisak is back for Saturday and Wilcox wouldn’t reveal to Radio York whether or not the Australian will come back into the side.
Michael Appleton has admitted he has a tough task to pick his team for Saturday. Young striker James Roberts made his full debut at Grimsby and scored twice with top-scorer Danny Hylton suspended and Tyrone Barnett rested. Hylton is back for Saturday’s game and Appleton has a selection dilemma for the right reasons for perhaps the first time this season. Brian Howard returned to the side at Blundell Park after a four game absence and put in a bright performance whilst youngster Callum O’Dowda was also influential in Roberts’ second goal upon his return. Midfielder Michael Collins joined Barnett in sitting on the bench last week but could come back into the reckoning as Oxford look to put some more breathing space between them and the relegation zone.
The last three meetings between the sides have produced just one goal whilst Oxford haven’t beaten York in their last four attempts, their last win coming at Wembley in the Blue Square Premier Play-Off Final in 2010. Oxford’s last win at Bootham Crescent was in April 2008 when an Eddie Anaclet goal gave them a 1-0 victory. Most recently at Bootham Crescent was last season’s 0-0 draw and 2012/13’s 3-1 York victory.
York’s Lewis Montrose is the only member of either squad to have actually played for both although Minstermen keeper Alex Cisak did spend a loan spell at Oxford in 2007 without making an appearance. In recent times, Oli Johnson, Chris Carruthers and Craig Nelthorpe have spent spells at both clubs whilst a managerial link is provided by Dennis Smith.
Can York kick-on from their victory at Cheltenham? Or will Oxford have the momentum from their FA Cup win? York have yet to win at home this season and will surely want to put this right but an early Oxford goal could slump the Bootham Crescent into their regular feeling of discontent so far this campaign. Oxford fans face their third long trip north in a row after visits to Carlisle and Grimsby, they’ll approach the game knowing anything but a defeat will be a good result. It’s a vital game for both sides with both looking to pull away from the drop zone and begin the climb to mid-table and beyond. As York showed last season, a good run can take you places in League Two.