YORK City boss Gary Mills is challenging his team to kick off 2013 by completing the club’s first back-to-back home wins since February.
The Minstermen have not managed two consecutive victories during their last 22 fixtures at Bootham Crescent but, having beaten Bristol Rovers 4-1 in their last home outing, can end that sequence by toppling Burton Albion today.
Mills would then be targeting a hat-trick of home triumphs – for the first time since October 2011 – with Exeter City the next visitors on Saturday.
The City boss said: “We’re not a million miles off where we want to be, but we’ve talked about consistency and, hopefully, we can start the new year with six points from two home games. That’s something we’ve not done for a long time and it would be great to put that right.”
Despite his team lying 16th in the table going into 2013, Mills is refusing to rule out a top-seven challenge during the new year with today’s match an ideal opportunity to make ground. Burton are currently eight points ahead of the Minstermen in the final play-off position.
The City boss said: “We just want to keep building, developing players and working as a team in 2013 to be successful and move up the League as much as we can. We’ve come a long way in the last couple of years and I want to keep that going.
“That does not always happen quickly but we still want to progress whether that comes this season or in the next couple of years. We must keep believing in ourselves and establish ourselves as much as we can this season.
“If we can make that top seven then great, if not then we must look and learn for next season.”
While looking forward, Mills also toasted 2012 last night following the club’s momentous Wembley double in May and the end of eight years as a non-League outfit. He said: “I poured myself a drink to celebrate 2012 because it has been a fantastic and incredible year to remember for everybody connected with the club. We did the double at Wembley and got back into the Football League and that is something to look back on with fond memories.”
Mills, meanwhile, is calling on his players to contend with Burton’s direct approach, spearheaded by 11-goal target man Calvin Zola, in a better manner than they managed during September’s 3-1 defeat at the Pirelli Stadium.
He added: “They are going well and beat the division’s form team in Southend on Saturday. They’re in a play-off position at this moment, as Fleetwood were on Saturday, and we want to make sure they do not pull away from us.
“We will be coming up against a side who like to get the ball forward quickly to their big striker and play from there. We know that we have to deal with that and then play our game.”
BURTON Albion made five Conference trips to Bootham Crescent, winning three times and drawing once.
City’s only home victory over the Brewers was 3-2 in 2006/7, when Clayton Donaldson, Mark Convery and Nathan Peat were the marksmen.
The clubs last met here exactly four years ago when Albion won 3-1 in front of 2,703, with Richard Brodie scoring the consolation goal.
City lined up on New Year’s Day 2009 as follows: Ingham, Parslow, Kelly, McGurk, Robinson, Smith, Hogg (Wilkinson), Rusk, Russell (Farrell), Brodie, McBreen (Sodje).
It happened on New Year’s Day
1938: City crashed 5-0 at home to Rochdale in Division Three North.
1954: A 3-1 victory at Darlington with Dave Dunmore (2) and Campbell Burgess on target. It was the first away win of the season.
1955: City beat Northern Section leaders Scunthorpe United 2-1 at the Old Show Ground in front of 10,583 thanks to goals from Norman Wilkinson and Billy Fenton.
1966: A 7-2 defeat at Queens Park Rangers and City were in the relegation zone of the Third Division (League One). Paul Aimson scored both goals.
1983: Denis Smith (2), Viv Busby and John Byrne (2) were on the scoresheet in a 5-2 home win over Darlington. The crowd for this Fourth Division fixture was 3,679.
1987: A Bootham Crescent attendance of 8,611 saw Third Division (League One) leaders Middlesbrough beaten 3-1 with Keith Walwyn (2) and Martin Butler the marksmen.
1994: Port Vale were beaten 1-0 at Bootham Crescent in the Second Division (League One). Paul Barnes, pictured, was the scorer watched by 5,903.
2007: A 3-1 win at Morecambe in the Conference with Clayton Donaldson, Craig Farrell and Steve Bowey on the scoresheet.
2008: Substitute Richard Brodie scored two stoppage time goals as City won 4-3 at Droylsden in the Conference. Manny Panther and Craig Farrell were the other men on target.
Compiled by David Batters