Play-off tilt savoured by York City skipper Russell Penn

York Press: York City's Russell Penn shoots during the match at Bootham Cresent. York City's Russell Penn shoots during the match at Bootham Cresent.

RUSSELL Penn reckons nobody will want to face York City in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.

City go into tomorrow's final day of the regular season at title hopefuls Scunthorpe knowing they could still face Fleetwood, Burton or Southend in a two-legged semi-final.

For personal reasons, Minstermen skipper Penn would like to tackle old team Burton but he also believes fourth-placed Fleetwood could be suffering from an hangover having missed out on an automatic promotion spot.

The 28-year-old midfielder declared, however, that a City team unbeaten in 16 matches need not fear anybody in their bid to make a Wembley final on Monday, May 26.

He said: "We started this run off at Fleetwood and they will be a bit disappointed not to have made the top three, so it could be good to play them. Burton are on a bit of a dodgy run at the moment and have been in the play-offs for the last month without really pushing to get into the top three or looking like they would drop out, so you don't know where their heads are.

"Playing Burton at some point would be nice for me as they are my old club and it would be fairly local for a lot of my family and mates. Southend are a bit like us.

"They are a team in form but I will take anyone because does anybody want to play us? I don't think so."

Penn is also hoping to upset another former club tomorrow when he visits Glanford Park, where he cut his teeth as a professional before moving to Kidderminster without making a senior appearance for the Iron.

"I had a good three years there doing my apprenticeship and that made me who I am today, but I want to go there now and get all three points," he revealed. "They can still finish top but it's a big game for us as well.

"We want to keep our run going because that would put us in good stead for the play-offs. Every game is competitive and tomorrow will be no different."

The City captain, meanwhile, is pleased that manager Nigel Worthington has vowed not to rotate his squad for the match even though the visitors have already secured their top-seven spot.

"I want to play in every game," Penn explained. "Fortunately, this year, the play-offs start a full week, if not eight days, after the end of the season, so there are no worries about recovery time.

"Obviously, you don't want to do something stupid, like getting yourself sent off by going in for a silly challenge, so you have to look after yourself in that respect but, as a professional, you want to win every game."

City go into this weekend still capable of finishing fifth, sixth or seventh, meaning they could still claim the supposed advantage of playing their semi-final second leg at home by jumping over Burton in the standings.

Penn, who has reached the play-offs with Cheltenham during the past two seasons, believes a team's approach to the first leg, rather than its location, is the most crucial factor.

"Home advantage can be big with the crowd but, really, you need to get off to a good start wherever you are in the first leg," he reasoned. "Last season with Cheltenham, we set out a bit defensively at Northampton and lost 1-0.

"It could have been 2-0 or 3-0 and we were quite happy with the result but, in the second leg, we missed a penalty to make it 1-1. That took the wind out of our sails and we ended up losing 2-0 on aggregate.

"The season before, we beat Torquay 2-0 at home in the first leg and the tie was virtually over when we went to their place and won as well. I think you have to give everything in that first leg and see where it takes you."

Penn is also hoping for a case of third time lucky at Wembley, having only played as an 84th-minute substitute in Cheltenham's 2012 2-0 play-off final defeat to Crewe and also lost there in the FA Trophy final.

"It was a big disappointment not to start the play-off final as I had played every league game that season but I don't really want to talk about that," Penn said. "In the Trophy final against Stevenage, we were 2-0 up but ended up losing so it's not been a happy hunting ground for me but it's the home of English football and a great place to play."

Match facts

YORK City’s last visit to Glanford Park was on October 25, 2003, when they drew a Third Division (League Two) encounter 0-0.

In a game which saw Jon Parkin (City) and Steve Torpey (United) sent off, the line-up was: Ovendale, Edmondson, Smith, Brass, Hope, Merris, Ward, Dunning, Bullock, Nogan (George), Parkin.

A total of 28 Football League trips have been made to Scunthorpe with City winning seven times, plus six draws.

The last victory at this venue was in 1992/93 when Jon McCarthy and Nigel Pepper netted in a 2-1 victory.

Along with Parkin, Torpey and Pepper, players who have represented both clubs include goalkeepers Graeme Crawford, Joe Neenan, Mark Samways, Tom Evans and Paul Musselwhite.

Others are Billy Allen, Jimmy Rudd, Ian Davidson, Keith Houchen, Ian Helliwell, Martyn Woolford, Paul Groves and Adam Boyes.

Dick Duckworth is the managerial link.

It happened on May 3

1947: A 2-2 draw at Lincoln City in Division Three North with Alf Patrick and Jimmy Rudd on the scoresheet.

1952: 18-year-old Dave Dunmore scored on his debut in a 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra at Bootham Crescent in the Northern Section. Billy Hughes and Billy Fenton were the other marksmen watched by 6,370.

1980: A 2-0 defeat at Crewe with future Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar scoring one of Alexandra’s goals from the penalty spot.

1986: Keith Walwyn, Tony Canham and Simon Mills were on target in a 3-1 home win over Swansea City. The attendance for this Third Division (League One) game was 3,132.

1997: A 1-1 draw against Crewe at Bootham Crescent in the Second Division (League One). Mark Tinkler, pictured below, was the scorer in front of a crowd of 4,366.

2010: City won 1-0 at Luton Town in the second leg of the BSP promotion play off semi-final to win 2-0 on aggregate and qualify to meet Oxford United at Wembley. Chris Carruthers was the marksman and the crowd at Kenilworth Road was 9,701.

Compiled by David Batters

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