1 Martin Gray has taken heed of City’s strong record in the FA Trophy

Defeats at Darlington against Marine, Sutton Coldfield, St Neots and Buxton suggest that the FA Trophy was not always high on Martin Gray’s priority list during his previous managerial job. But, before this tie, the ex-Sunderland midfielder spoke of the importance of approaching the competition with respect, given the Minstermen’s recent record in it.

Despite not managing six consecutive games without a defeat since 2015, City are now unbeaten in 16 Trophy ties, having emerged winners at Wembley during the last two times they have entered the tournament – last season and in 2012. Gray’s team selection, including just two changes that might have been expected anyway had the fixture been a league contest, indicated that the new regime are ready to target a hat-trick of consecutive Trophy triumphs.

The Trophy might understandably be derided in certain sections by fans proud of the club’s Football League heritage, but the financial rewards winning the tournament brings are not to be sniffed at either for a club that traditionally racks up annual six-figured losses as a non-League outfit at Bootham Crescent.

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2 Jon Parkin can rack up as many assists as goals

Having been in such a prolific vein of form, there might be a train of thought that the need for Parkin to create chances for others has been diminished slightly this term, but new chief Gray seems just as keen to get the 35-year-old targetman acting as a foil for those around him. Gary Martin, before his hasty departure this morning, commented on Parkin’s intelligence in the build-up to his only goal for the club with the City talisman holding off Coalville defenders and using his studs to expertly roll the ball to the former Lokeren forward, who fired in from the edge of the box.

As well as finishing top of the Minstermen’s scoring charts on 16 last season, Parkin also headed the assists chart after teeing up ten goals for his team-mates – three more than any other player in the squad. Prior to the Coalville clash, though, Parkin had only set up three goals during the current campaign, intimating that his fellow attacking players have not, as yet in 2017/18, fully exploited his nous and potential to create an opening with one swing of his boot or flick of his head.

Vadaine Oliver was a big beneficiary last term of Parkin’s ability to occupy defences, as he plundered ten goals on his return to Bootham Crescent midway through the season following a loan spell at Notts County. Going forward, the likes of Amari Morgan-Smith (three goals in 22 games), James Gray (no goals in five) and Aidan Connolly (two in ten) will all need to demonstrate a better ability to read Parkin’s intentions and achieve more respectable strike-rates.

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3 The shackles need to come off Adriano Moke

The former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate appeared a little forlorn when hauled off after 55 minutes and looks like a player in need of redefining his role in the team. With Daniel Rowe sitting deep in a position of the pitch Moke used to occupy, the talented 27-year-old should, in theory, be freed up by the diamond formation to provide genuine attacking thrust from those middle areas with his pace, ability to run with the ball and technical quality.

But Moke did not quite offer his team with the tempo in the first half that was missing and he can provide. More forward passes were needed like the typically precise one he played to Parkin which led to City’s opening goal.

Moke also needs willing recipients in front of him, of course, but it would be great to see him consistently carrying the game to opposition defences in a manner that has been seen sporadically this season.

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4 City continually contrive to find a way to concede goals even when under minimal threat

Adam Bartlett was a virtual bystander in between the Minstermen’s sticks on Saturday and, other than a deflected Kyle Dixon effort that he scrambled to keep in play to avoid conceding a corner, he did not make a single save all afternoon. But City still ended the game without a clean sheet in 12 matches thanks to an unforgiveable lapse in concentration that left boss Gray furious.

Bartlett was left horribly exposed after Daniel Creaney was allowed to charge clear on the home goal straight from the restart after Parkin’s second penalty and, regardless of the situation (City were 3-0 up after 77 minutes at the time), Gray is demanding that his team defend in a more determined and aggressive manner throughout 90 minutes.

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5 David Ferguson pressed his claims for a starting place

The former Championship full-back was recalled to the first XI and gave the team a genuine outlet during a first half where few others played with the same degree of purpose. His excellent cross should have led to a far-post goal for Morgan-Smith and his ability in offensive positions is illustrated with a return of five goals already this season, including four for former team Darlington.

The dilemma for Gray will now be whether to keep Ferguson at full back or push him into a wing role and recall Alex Whittle to pair the two together on the left flank, which worked to good effect before the latter was substituted late on against Leamington last month.