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Match preview: York City v AFC Wimbledon
ESTONIAN international Sander Puri has insisted it is “no big deal” that he will be missing out on playing against Holland tonight.
Instead of squaring up to the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder in Tallinn this evening, Puri is likely to be pitting his wits against AFC Wimbledon pair Callum Kennedy and Luke Moore down the right flank at Bootham Crescent tomorrow.
The 25-year-old winger has recovered from a hamstring injury in time for a return to action after missing City’s last four matches and club manager Nigel Worthington has reached a compromise with international boss Tarmo Ruutli over the former St Mirren schemer’s Estonian commitments.
Puri is set to join up with his compatriots after the Wimbledon game and could feature in a second World Cup qualifier on Tuesday against Hungary, where he once plied his trade for Lombard-Papa.
The agreement over his club and country duties is one that Puri is happy with and, on missing the Netherlands match, he claimed: “It’s no big deal and I am honestly not thinking about tonight’s game.
“If I can watch the Holland match this evening at home then I will, but I am just thinking about tomorrow’s game.
“The Holland match came around a bit too soon for me and I am focussed on the Wimbledon game, then I can look forward to Hungary afterwards.
“I have been back in training for a week-and-a-half now and my hamstring is okay so I think I am fit enough now.”
Estonia are currently second-bottom in their qualifying group with their only points coming after two victories over minnows Andorra.
A defeat against the Dutch would mean the former Soviet Union state requiring a result against second-placed Hungary to keep their remote hopes alive of snatching a play-off place and Puri is under no illusion as to how difficult tonight’s match will be against the 2010 World Cup runners-up.
He said: “It is a home game but Holland are Holland.”
Puri is also satisfied with the understanding ex-Northern Ireland chief Worthington has shown him as he looks to balance his club responsibilities with helping out his country.
“I spoke with the manager about the international games and he’s happy for me to go to Hungary,” he added. “He does not have any problems with that, so that’s good.”
In Puri’s absence, meanwhile, City have switched from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-3-3 and the Tartu-born winger is comfortable with that switch, adding: “I can play in both systems so it does not matter. I am a right winger mostly and in Hungary I played 4-3-3 with me on the right side so I am used to that.”
The London club won the coresponding fixture last term when on November 10, 2012 they beat City 3-0 at Bootham Crescent. City’s line-up was: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Smith, Carlisle, Fyfield, Kerr, Kearns, Blair, Rodman (Challinor), Walker (Johnson), Chambers (Reed).
City won the two Conference fixtures here between the two clubs – 5-0 in 2009/10 when Richard Brodie notched a hat-trick and Michael Rankine scored twice and 4-1 the following season with Rankine, Daniel Parslow, James Meredith and Ashley Chambers on target.
The old Wimbledon club made four Division Four visits in the late 1970s/early 1980s winning three times and drawing once.
It happened on September 7
1946: A 1-0 win at Rochdale in Division Three North – City’s first post-Second World War away victory – and goalkeeper Bob Ferguson saved two penalties.
1957: City won a Northern Section encounter 3-2 at Oldham Athletic with Norman Wilkinson (2) and Clive Colbridge on the scoresheet.
1959: Floodlights were used for the first time at Bootham Crescent when Queens Park Rangers were beaten 2-1 thanks to goals from John Edgar and Johnny Powell. The attendance for this Third Division (League One) fixture was 10,593.
1964: Derek Weddle and Paul Aimson netted in a 2-0 Fourth Division success at Barrow.
1974: Chris Jones scored both goals in a 2-0 victory at Fulham as City recorded their first away win in the Second Division (Championship). In the Cottagers’ line-up was England’s World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore.
1976: City’s first win of this Third Division (League One) campaign with Micky Cave on target in a 1-0 success over Tranmere Rovers wached by 2,608.
1982: A 4-0 reverse in the Fourth Division at Hull City, where player-manager Denis Smith was sent off.
1985: City and Cardiff City drew 1-1 at Bootham Crescent in the Third (League One). Chris Evans was the marksman and the attendance was 3,760.
Compiled by David Batters
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