FORMER York City striker Jon Parkin will not be fit to face his old team at Fleetwood Town tomorrow.
Parkin, who remained on the bench during Fleetwood’s 2-0 win at Bootham Crescent back in October, has been dogged by injury since becoming the Cod Army’s big summer signing from Cardiff.
The 30-year-old forward, affectionately known as the ‘Beast’, has still netted six times despite being restricted to ten starts this term but has played no part since scoring in a 1-1 draw against Rotherham on November 6, having been sidelined by hamstring problems.
Former Stoke and Hull striker Parkin is not the only high-profile absentee for Fleetwood with ex- Scotland captain Barry Ferguson, capped by his country 45 times, out due to a groin strain.
One-time Rangers and Blackburn midfielder Ferguson, 34, is currently on loan at Highbury from Blackpool.
Others that new boss Graham Alexander will be without include ex- Wrexham striker Andy Mangan (torn cartilage), former Preston defender Youl Mawene (broken foot) and midfielder Anthony Barry, whose knee injury has kept him out since August 2011.
On-loan Swansea defender Curtis Obeng, meanwhile, will not feature having returned to the Liberty Stadium and 34-year-old veteran midfielder Barry Nicholson is doubtful after lasting just 26 minutes of the 1-0 Boxing Day victory against Morecambe due to a back problem.
That is unlikely to mean a recall, however, for ex-Wrexham midfielder Lee Fowler, who has been out of favour at Highbury since making his last appearance at the beginning of November.
Jamie McGuire is expected to get the nod instead, in what could be the only change to Alexander’s starting line-up.
The victory against Morecambe, secured by David Ball’s second-half header, represented the first during former Preston rightback Alexander’s three-game unbeaten reign at the Fleetwood helm, following the dismissal of Blue Square Bet Premier title winner Micky Mellon.
It also ended a run of five matches without a win for the coastal club but was only their second home triumph in seven League fixtures.
Fleetwood have won just five League Two games at Highbury and, aside from September’s 1-0 defeat of 11th-placed Northampton, all those triumphs have come against bottom-eight teams.
In fact, the Cod Army – currently occupying the final play-off spot – are yet to beat anybody above them, home or away.
But Fleetwood remain difficult to beat.
Only leaders Gillingham can boast a better defensive record in the division, conceding one less goal than the 22 shipped by the Cod Army, whose centre-back Steve McNulty – the cornerstone of his side’s success in recent times – has surprisingly lost his place in the starting XI.
Top-two Gillingham and Port Vale, with four defeats apiece, are also the only two teams to have lost fewer times than Fleetwood, who have endured just one more reverse.
Goals have been difficult to come by. Torquay are the only top-half team to net fewer times than Fleetwood, who have managed 31, while midfielder Junior Brown is the leading marksman on ten goals.
A draw, it seems, should not be ruled out tomorrow with the Minstermen and Fleetwood having shared the spoils nine times this term – a division high that can only be matched by Devon pair Plymouth and Torquay.
Fleetwood (probable): Davies, Beeley, Atkinson, Goodall, Howell, McGuire, Milligan, Marrow, Brown, Gillespie, Ball.