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Match preview: York City v Bristol Rovers
BRISTOL Rovers will arrive at Bootham Crescent to face York City hoping to avoid a sixth straight defeat on their travels.
The Pirates have suffered successive away losses to Wycombe (2-0), Port Vale (4-0), Rochdale (2-1), Accrington (1-0) and AFC Wimbledon (3-1) and have only won one of their last 19 fixtures on the road.
That one exception was a 2-1 triumph against Exeter at the end of September and only bottom team Barnet (five) have collected fewer points on the road this term with Rovers managing just six.
The Pirates’ problems are not just limited to away games either.
Mark McGhee’s second-bottom side are without a clean sheet in their last 15 matches and have won only one of their last ten fixtures – a 3-2 victory over Chesterfield at the Memorial Ground.
Rovers’ defensive record is also the worst in League Two with 40 goals having been shipped in 21 games.
Following Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge, fans stayed behind after the final whistle to chant their dissatisfaction in the direction of the boardroom and that was followed by the dreaded vote of confidence for manager McGhee from Pirates’ chairman Nick Higgs.
McGhee’s efforts have not been aided by a series of knee injuries that have dogged his squad this term with six players expected to be ruled out tomorrow.
Former Shrewsbury striker Matt Harrold, who netted 18 times for Rovers last season, has been ruled out for the whole of this campaign.
Skipper Matt Gill and vice-captain Garry Kenneth are also doubtful with knee problems.
Kenneth has been disciplined as well by the club recently, receiving a fine following an angry spat with supporters at the end of the 2-0 defeat against Wycombe.
Others missing will include Adam Virgo due to persistent knee problems and fellow defender – on-loan Leicester youngster – Cian Bolger, who has twisted his ankle after recovering from cruciate ligament damage.
Midfielder Ollie Clarke is also crocked with a knee complaint but Matt Lund is available to return after suspension.
In Harrold’s absence, the scoring baton has not really been grabbed by anybody with former Motherwell striker David Clarkson and 20-year-old on-loan Bolton forward Tom Eaves the joint-top marksmen with just six goals apiece.
Bristol Rovers (probable): Walker, Woodards, Clucas, Branston, Paterson, Clarkson, Lund, Parkes, Broghammer, Anyinsah, Eaves.
BRISTOL Rovers have made 19 previous Football League visits (1965 to 2003) in the old Second, Third and Fourth Divisions winning on six occasions and drawing five.
The first time the clubs met at Bootham Crescent was in September 1965 when the Pirates won 5-1 and another big victory for the Bristol club was 4-0 in 1987/8.
City’s biggest success was 4-0 in 1985/6 when Tony Canham (2), Marco Gabbiadini and Keith Walwyn scored.
Two memorable City victories were 2-1 in March 1974 and 1-0 in September 1984. The former was a top of the table Division Three (League One) clash with Ian Holmes netting a stoppage-time penalty. Chris Jones was the other marksman and the attendance was 11,066.
Keith Walwyn was the scorer in the other encounter and City’s victory leapfrogged them over Rovers to go top of the Third Division. The crowd that day was 7,197.
Rovers’ last visit was on September 20, 2003 when Lee Bullock and Aron Wilford scored in a 2-1 City win in the Third Division (League Two) watched by 3,968. The line-up was: Ovendale, Wood, Brass, Hope, Cooper, Ward, Dunning, Merris, Bullock, Wilford, George (Stewart).
Players to have appeared for both clubs include Maurice Dando, Bill Routledge, Jack Eyres, Ted Hathway, Peter Aitken and Scott Jones. John Ward managed both clubs in the 1990s.
It happened on December 15
1937: City beat Clapton Orient 1-0 at Bootham Crescent in an FA Cup second round replay. Jimmy Hughes was the marksman in front of 7,599.
1962: A 3-1 home win over Stockport County ended a run of seven games without a victory. City were second from bottom of the Fourth Division and on target were Wally Gould (2) and Peter Wragg watched by 2,610.
2001: City lost 3-1 at home to Cheltenham Town in the Third Division (League Two). Lee Bullock scored the consolation goal and the attendance was 2,082.
2007: In the first round of the FA Trophy, City won 3-1 at Altrincham thanks to goals from Craig Farrell, Anthony Lloyd and Nicky Wroe.
Compiled by Dave Batters