YORK City will face League Two’s most-improved team when they visit Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow.
The Buckinghamshire side have climbed from 92nd in the Football League standings to 14th in the League Two table following a run of eight wins from their last 12 League matches since mid-November.
Player-manager Gareth Ainsworth, 39, has transformed the Chairboys’ fortunes since taking over from Gary Waddock and his team will play host to the Minstermen having won 1-0 at title hopefuls Gillingham on Monday night.
That result means Wycombe have taken ten points from a possible 12 and are now three closer to the play-off positions than the relegation zone they have left behind.
Ainsworth will continue to be without injured defenders Danny Foster and Grant Basey, as well as midfielder Matt Bloomfield, for the Minstermen clash.
Centre-backs Gary Doherty (back) and Leon Johnson (knee), meanwhile, have both returned to full training after lengthy lay-offs but are unlikely to be in contention this weekend.
Wanderers could, however, make one change to the side that has started the last two matches – consecutive 1-0 wins over Dagenham and Gillingham.
Nine-goal top scorer Matt McClure came off the bench to score the only goal against the Gills having missed the Dagenham match due to the birth of his baby daughter.
And, having netted four times in his last five outings, the 21-year-old forward could replace former Bristol Rovers striker Jo Kuffour in the starting line up.
Northern Ireland under-21 international McClure did not feature under Waddock at the start of the season but has flourished with Ainsworth at the helm, netting nine times in 16 matches.
Adams Park has not, however, been the venue for fans of goal-fests this season with just 30 goals from the 14 League Two contests it has hosted.
Only Southend (12), Northampton (13) and Bradford (13) have conceded fewer home goals than the 14 Wycombe have shipped.
But, equally, Aldershot (12), Accrington (13) and AFC Wimbledon (15) are the only teams to have netted fewer times than the Chairboys on their own soil.
Wycombe will, however, be targeting a third successive home win for the first time in more than two years tomorrow after their victories over Dagenham (1-0) and Chesterfield (2-1).
They can also become the first team to complete a league double over the Minstermen this season, following their 3-1 opening day victory at Bootham Crescent.
Only four players from the starting line-up in that match – Anthony Stewart, Joel Grant, Stuart Lewis and Sam Wood – made the first XI at Gillingham this week and the Wanderers have used a total of 35 players this term as Ainsworth looked for the right formula to transform the team’s fortunes.
Former QPR and Port Vale midfielder Ainsworth was an unused substitute at Priestfield but he has still enjoyed 17 outings this season with his last start coming in a 1-0 win at Plymouth on December 29.
Asked about his team’s chances against tomorrow’s visitors, Ainsworth said: “York are decent away from home. They’ve got a good away record but slipped up at home recently.
“They’ve slipped down the table so they’ll be fighting to get away from there. Jason Walker up front is a handful and a good player but I believe our midfield can get around their midfield.
“The way we attack sometimes is frightening. It must be scaring all defences in the league and, if we can keep that up, I think we have a chance.”
Wycombe (probable): Archer, Harriman, Stewart, Winfield, Dunne, Grant, Lewis, Scowen, Wood, McClure, Morgan.
CITY have made five previous Football League visits (all in Division Two/League One) to Adams Park, winning once and drawing once.
In 1994/5 the fixture ended goalless and the following three seasons City lost 2-1, 3-1 and 1-0.
Their last trip was on January 2, 1999 when Richard Cresswell and Barry Jones netted in a 2-1 success. The line-up was: Mimms, McMillan, Jones, Barras, Himsworth, Connelly, Jordan, Tinkler, Hall, Cresswell, Rowe.
The three points lifted City up to ninth in the third tier – a position they have not bettered since.
Playing links include Viv Busby and Ashley Chambers.
It happened on February 9
1957: A 4-3 win at Chesterfield with Arthur Bottom (2), Billy Hill and Billy Fenton on the scoresheet. The attendance at Saltergate for this Divison Three North encounter was 16,160.
1970: Kevin McMahon was the marksman in 1-0 home win over Workington in the Fourth Division watched by 3,343.
1985: A 4-0 win at Cambridge United with Dale Banton (2), John MacPhail (penalty) and Ricky Sbragia on target and City were in the top half of Division Three (League One).
2002: Jon Parkin scored on his debut in a 1-0 victory at Southend United in the Third Division (League Two).
2008: A 2-0 win over Grays Athletic at Bootham Crescent with Nicky Wroe (penalty ) and debutant Leo Fortune-West, pictured right, the marksmen, watched by 2,531. It was the tenth league game without defeat (seven wins and three draws) and City had moved into the top half of the Blue Square Premier.
Compiled by David Batters