NEW boss Martin Foyle will come head-to-head with an old friend when he takes his York City team to home-town Salisbury tomorrow.
Foyle will be pitting his wits against former Southampton team-mate Nick Holmes, who will be in the home dugout at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.
The City chief broke into the top-flight Saints team in the early 1980s when 1976 FA Cup final winner Holmes was captain at the Dell.
Salisbury boss Holmes has had a tough time recently, having been asked to trim his playing staff but Foyle, who watched the Whites’ 1-1 home draw against Northwich last Saturday, is taking nothing for granted ahead of his first game in charge of the Minstermen.
He said: “I used to sit next to Nick at Southampton and he’s a lovely person. I also know his assistant Barry Blankley and coach Tommy Widdrington, who I played with at Port Vale.
“I’ve seen them a few times this season and they are going through some off-field problems, which is a shame.
“Their money man has pulled out and four or five players have had to leave but, like ourselves, they have thrown some younger players into the equation and I thought they did all right last Saturday so I’ve told the players what to expect.”
Foyle, whose Salisbury-based sister and wife’s family are expected to be in tomorrow’s crowd, has two doubts ahead of the game in teenage winger Liam Shepherd and experienced frontman Bruce Dyer.
He added: “Liam Shepherd has had a couple of days off ill but he trained yesterday and wasn’t too bad. Bruce also missed a day and looked a bit stiff so I’m not sure whether he’s 100 per cent right, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Former Port Vale boss Foyle also pointed out that every player in City’s squad will be given their chance to stake a claim for a starting place during the coming weeks.
That could mean possible reprieves for the likes of Niall Henderson, Ben Wilkinson, Simon Russell, Richard Brodie and Daniel McBreen, who had fallen out of favour under previous manager Colin Walker.
Foyle said: “The atmosphere has been spot-on in training this week, which didn’t surprise me because they are a decent bunch of lads, who I’ve done my homework on.
“I’m not discarding anybody. We had three 20-minute practice matches in training where we swapped everybody about and tried different pairings together. There’s a month left until the January window, but I am giving everybody a chance to get used to the way I want to play.
“I’m not even thinking about the window yet because it’s important I concentrate on the 22 or 23 players here before we consider whether we need to move anybody on.
“I can only pick 11 players to start with but I’m one of those who, if players don’t perform, then the next man is in.
“It’s up to players to keep the shirt but the ones out of the side, like the younger ones, will be sticking behind with us after training and we will be looking to improve their games.”
Salisbury (probable): Bittner, Clohessy, Cook, Sangare, Bass, Herring, Dutton, Sinclair, Hill, Griffin, Adameno. Subs: Davies, Maher, Turk, Darrell Clarke, Ruddick.
City (probable): Ingham, Purkiss, Parslow, McGurk, Robinson, Rusk, Greaves, Hogg, Shepherd, Dyer, Sodje. Subs: Mimms, Kelly, Russell, Brodie, Farrell.
Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey).