City boss plays squad game for Shield tie
YORK City will give midfield trio Manny Panther, Nicky Wroe and Stuart Elliott a rest for tonight's Setanta Shield home match with Northwich Victoria (7.45pm).
As a result, Colin Walker will hand Phil Turnbull his full debut and Russell Fry will also be given a chance in his preferred midfield position after making his first start at right-wing back against Farsley Celtic on Sunday.
But Onome Sodje will not be recalled for the northern area quarter-final because of a minor medial ligament problem, meaning Craig Farrell is likely to partner Richard Brodie in attack with Martyn Woolford expected to revert to his floating role behind the front two.
Darren Craddock will return from suspension to join Danny Parslow and David McGurk in a three-man defence with Ben Purkiss returning to right-wing back and Walker is also contemplating a debut for former Liverpool youth-team 'keeper Josh Mimms in place of Tom Evans.
That is unlikely, however, with Setanta Shield rules stating that all clubs must field ten players in their squad of 16 who have featured in the last two Blue Square Premier matches.
With Paul Brayson leaving the club and Simon Rusk unavailable after a gentleman's agreement following his transfer window switch between the two clubs, only ten players fulfil that criteria should City rest Panther, Elliott and Wroe.
The City boss said: "I will be juggling things because I've told the players we are firing on three fronts now and, for us to do that, the squad has to come into play. Hopefully, I will get the chance to throw in one or two young players.
"I will be leaving Manny, Stuart and Nicky out. We have had some good performances from them but Manny and Nicky, in particular, looked a bit tired at Farsley and we have got to give them a couple of days' rest. That will give other players a chance to show me that they want to play and be around next season. The three players I've said won't be playing are gutted but I've had to explain it's not as high priority as other games and we've got to look after them for the big push ahead."
Despite admitting the competition is his "third" priority behind improving the team's position in the league and attempting to reach the Wembley final of the FA Trophy, Walker is determined to win tomorrow's tie and extend the club's unbeaten record to a 15th game.
He said: "The Setanta Shield is bottom of our priority list but I don't want this run to end, especially not at home. I'm begging all York fans to come to the game and cheer us on to victory even though it might not be high on their priority list either."
Should City defeat Northwich, their northern-area semi-final will be played during the week beginning February 25 and not February 18 as originally planned because of a clash with England C's international against Wales.
City (probable): Evans, Parslow, McGurk, Craddock, Purkiss, Turnbull, Fry, Woolford, Lloyd, Brodie, Farrell.
Subs: Mimms, Beadle, Shepherd, McWilliams, Wroe.
Northwich (probable): Edge, Meadowcroft, Belle, Welch, Brown, Maylett, Crowell, Wilson, Byrne, Burns, Barker.
Subs: Akins, Horrocks, Connett, Steele, Carr.
Referee: Richard West (Beverley).