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Match preview: Bristol Rovers v York City
RICHARD Cresswell has insisted that opposition defences must not be given any more easy games ahead of tomorrow’s away match at Bristol Rovers.
The 35-year-old forward cut an isolated and frustrated figure during last weekend’s 0-0 home draw with Hartlepool before being replaced midway through the second period.
Nigel Worthington’s men failed to muster a single shot on target in that match and all three of their off-target attempts came from outside the penalty box.
Both those factors have been scrutinised closely at City’s Wigginton Road training base this week with former Leeds and Sheffield United striker Cresswell saying: “We’ve got to create more chances and that means getting more balls in the box and more people in there too.
“That’s what the gaffer wants and we’ve got to move people about a bit more. At the moment, I think other teams’ defenders have got it too comfortable because, sometimes, there’s only one person in the box but we’ve been working on that all week at the training ground so, if we take that into games, the chances will start coming.”
Cresswell has started each of City’s three League games this term but, in addition to concentrating on his own game, is still taking his mentoring role at Bootham Crescent seriously.
Asked about any personal goal tally he might have in mind for this season, the 6ft 1in frontman said: “I’ve not really looked at a target for myself.
“I just want to contribute to the squad and help to bring the young lads on whether I am playing or not. There are some great young strikers here like Ryan Bowman and Wes Fletcher who are champing at the bit to succeed and have a great career.
“They’ve just got to get themselves going and I will be trying to help them do that by backing them all the way and being supportive.
“They are both hungry and are looking to improve as well, which is a big thing.
“They ask a lot of questions and can both go on to have really good careers.
“They are both vying for a starting spot and, when they get their chance, I am sure they will take it.”
Bowman rattled in a hat-trick during a 5-3 practice match win against Middlesbrough under-21s this week and, while his efforts were away from the public gaze, Cresswell reckons the former Hereford marksman will benefit from that experience.
“Any goals as a young striker help your confidence,” he reasoned.
City visit a Rovers team tomorrow still searching for their first triumph of 2013/14 but Cresswell has warned his team-mates to beware of a backlash.
He said: “They are struggling a bit and their manager had a bit to say after they lost 1-0 at Newport last weekend so they will be looking to respond to that.
“We will need to start brightly and quieten them down by putting on a good performance.”
For Cresswell, the game will also represent an opportunity to renew acquaintances with the man that gave him his first break in football as a teenage schoolboy – former City chief John Ward, who is currently enjoying his second spell in charge of the Pirates.
On his regard for the 62-year-old boss, the City striker said: “He signed me when I was 14 and I still know and speak to him now.
“He’s been around the block and has got vast experience. He’s also one of football’s good guys.
“I was very young when he was at York but he did a fantastic job here. He’s been everywhere since but he’s still in the game, which goes to show what a good manager he is.
“He built the team that got into League One here and we had a good side at that level.
“That’s where the club is striving to be and the gaffer now is trying to improve things on and off the pitch and, as long as he stays here, he has the motivation to succeed.”
Ward hit for six ahead of home clash
INJURY-STRUCK Bristol Rovers will continue to be without the services of six players for their home match with York City tomorrow, writes Dave Flett.
The Pirates currently have three players crocked with cruciate knee ligament damage in defender Danny Woodards and midfield pair Seanan Clucas and Fabien Broghammer.
Striker Matt Harrold has recovered from the cruciate injury that saw him sidelined from September to the final day of last season but has since picked up a groin problem.
Jim Paterson has a broken leg and midfielder Ollie Clarke is out with a torn hamstring.
Broghammer, Clarke and Paterson were all pre-season victims while Clucas and Woodards’ injuries were carried over from last term.
Pirates boss and former City chief John Ward, pictured, was, however, able to call upon the services of striker Ryan Brunt as a substitute during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Newport.
Brunt, 20, had missed the beginning of the campaign with a knee problem and, having also scored against Hereford for the reserves in midweek, is expected to be recalled to the starting line-up.
If selected, he will provide attacking support for 21-year-old forward Eliot Richards who has scored both of Rovers’ goals in 2013/14 with ’keeper Steve Mildenhall reportedly going the closest to finding the net at Newport when he was sent forward for a late Lee Brown corner.
Midfielder Matt Gill and centre-back Garry Kenneth are also in contention, having featured against Hereford after being unused substitutes in Newport following further lengthy stints on the injury list.
Rovers’ availability problems have contributed to a run of eight games without a win, which incorporates the final four fixtures of last season.
In four games this term, Ward’s men have earned a home point following a 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe but lost to Newport and Exeter (2-1) in the League, as well as to Watford (3-1) in the Capital One Cup at the Memorial Stadium.
Rovers (probable): Mildenhall, Smith, Parkes, McChrystal, Brown, Harrison, Lockyer, Norburn, O’Toole, Brunt, Richards.
In 20 previous Football League trips to Bristol Rovers, the Minstermen have won six times with six draws.
Their last success at the Memorial Ground was 1-0 in 2002/3, when Darren Edmondson was the marksman.
The corresponding fixture last term finished goalless on March 30, 2013, and the line-up was: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Smith, McGurk, O’Connell, Carson, Reed, Parslow, Platt, Chambers (Coulson), Cresswell.
Making their full debuts that day were Tom Platt and Adam Reed.
It happened on August 24
1949: A 1-0 defeat at Lincoln City in front of 11,881 at Sincil Bank in Division Three North.
1955: A 2-1 win at Crewe with Arthur Bottom and an opponent on the scoresheet in Division Three North.
1957: City opened the last season of regionalised football with a 1-0 win at Hull City. Billy Hughes was the scorer and the attendance at Boothferry Park was 17,761.
1963: Rochdale won 3-0 at Bootham Crescent on the first day of this Fourth Division campaign in front of 5,446.
1964: Dennis Walker scored both goals in a 2-2 draw at Hartlepools in the Fourth Division.
1968: A 1-1 draw at Chesterfield with Andy Provan in his last game for the club on the scoresheet.
1974: City lost their first away game in the Second Division (Championship) 3-1 at Oxford United. Chris Jones netted the consolation goal.
1985: A 4-2 defeat at Bury in the Third (League One) and on target were John MacPhail (pen) and Keith Walwyn.
1991: A 1-1 draw at home to Gillingham with Glenn Naylor the marksman. The attendance for this Fourth Division encounter was 2,328.
1996: City lost their first home game of this Second Division (League One) campaign 2-1 to Bournemouth. Nigel Pepper was on target in front of 2,804.
Compiled by David Batters
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