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Match preview: York City v Braintree Town
LEON Constantine will not be joining the legion of former York City players to score against their old club tomorrow.
The 33-year-old forward has been released by this weekend’s visitors Braintree Town after making just one appearance as a second-half substitute during the 5-0 home win over Grimsby back in August.
City supporters will be relieved by Constantine’s departure, having already witnessed Adam Boyes, Craig Farrell and Levi Mackin all net in their returns to Bootham Crescent this season, while former loan striker Jon Shaw also hit a hat-trick during the 3-2 defeat at Gateshead.
With Constantine gone and fellow frontman Chib Chilaka sidelined by a hamstring injury, Braintree boss Alan Devonshire has considered bringing in a new attacker this week but looks likely to pair Sean Marks with Ben Wright again in a two-man strikeforce.
Neither player has been prolific in recent times with Marks having scored once in his last ten matches and Wright just once in seven outings.
The form of wide men Andy Yiadom and former City trialist Jai Reason has compensated for that problem with the pair having claimed six goals apiece since the start of the season.
Their efforts mean fourth-placed Braintree’s tally of 24 goals during 2011/12 is only bettered by Wrexham and Fleetwood in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
At the other end of the pitch, no side have shipped fewer goals on their travels than the five conceded by the Iron this season.
Stability has been a key factor behind such defensive success with goalkeeper Nathan McDonald, centre-backs Matt Paine and Adam Bailey-Dennis and left-back Aswad Thomas having started every match, as have midfield trio Reason, Kenny Davis and Nicky Symons.
Paine, though, is a doubt for tomorrow’s match having suffered a groin strain during the Essex club’s 2-1 defeat at home to Fleetwood last weekend.
Should he fail a late fitness test then Patrick O’Connor or David Stevens, thrown on against Fleetwood as a makeshift striker, will deputise.
The Fleetwood reverse ended a run of six straight wins for Braintree with the infamous Manager of the Month curse claiming another victim after ex-West Ham midfielder Devonshire picked up the honours for September.
Braintree have, however, won their last three away matches, beating Southport (4-0), Hayes and Yeading (2-1) and Alfreton (1-0) on the road.
Tenth-placed Southport, though represent the highest-positioned team, based on current standings, that last season’s Blue Square Bet Premier champions have beaten during their eight victories.
Braintree (probable): McDonald, Peters, Paine, Bailey-Dennis, Thomas, Yiadom, Davis, Symons, Reason, Wright, Marks.
THIS is the first meeting between the clubs.
One playing link is George Purcell, right, who moved from City to Dover just before the start of the season.
It happened on October 8
1938: City beat Hartlepools United 2-0 in Division Three North with Bob Mortimer and Sam Earl on the scoresheet watched by a crowd of 6,208.
1955: Rochdale won 2-1 at Bootham Crescent in front of 9,742. City were mid-table in Division Three North and Gordon Brown was the scorer.
1986: City lost 3-0 at Chelsea in a second round second leg Football League (Littlewoods) Cup tie and went out of the competition 3-1 on aggregate. The attendance at Stamford Bridge was 9,927.
1994: A 1-1 draw at home to Peterborough United in Division Two (League One). Jon McCarthy, left, was the scorer and the crowd was 3,601.
2005: City were third in the Conference following a 2-2 draw at Gravesend & Northfleet United. Clayton Donaldson and Andy Bishop were on target.
Compiled by Dave Batters