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Thrilling prospect of return to League for York City
YORK City assistant manager Darron Gee is thrilled by the “new set of challenges” that await the Bootham Crescent club next season.
After the Capital One Cup trip to Doncaster Rovers during the week starting August 13, the Minstermen will open their League Two campaign with a home clash against Wycombe Wanderers.
That August 18 fixture will represent the first time City have faced the Chairboys since the 1998/99 campaign.
The North Yorkshire club completed the double over their Buckinghamshire opponents that season but it was Wycombe who went on to survive relegation from League One at the Minstermen’s expense on a fateful final day.
City striker Ashley Chambers will also be renewing old acquaintances, having scored his first senior goal during a loan spell from Leicester with the Wanderers back in 2009.
After a first-ever visit to Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, Gary Mills’ men will also be making their maiden trips to Morecambe’s Globe Arena, Chesterfield’s B2net Stadium and Rotherham’s New York Stadium on August 21, December 26 and February 26 respectively.
Bradford City, meanwhile, appear on City’s fixture list for the first time since 1995/96 but even the Bantams, who have plied their trade in the Premier League in between times, are behind Port Vale as the side City have waited longest to meet again in league action.
The Valiants were last opponents in 1993/94 when former Bootham Crescent managerial duo Martin Foyle and Andy Porter played for the Burslem boys, alongside veteran current City goalkeeping understudy Paul Musselwhite.
City will travel to Bradford on Saturday, October 13 before hosting their West Yorkshire neighbours on Saturday, March 2.
Port Vale are at Bootham Crescent on Saturday, November 17 with the return fixture scheduled for Saturday, March 16.
Admitting that the announcement of the 2012/13 fixtures had whetted his appetite, Gee said: “Wherever we go, it’s going to be tough but, instead of looking at the same old names in the Conference as we were 12 months ago, it’s a new set of challenges and there are some fantastic places to visit.
“It’s always nice to start at home though, especially for the fans and, hopefully, we can take the momentum of last season into the new one and start on a high.
“While we have been promoted, Wycombe have been relegated and will be having to rebuild.
“You never know how teams that come down will react but I am sure they will want to bounce straight back up.”
Having previously been sent to Droylsden on Boxing Day during the club’s Conference days, Gee is relishing the Christmas clash at Chesterfield – not just because the Spireites’ new arena lies just 20 minutes away from his family base.
Despite suffering relegation last season, Chesterfield’s average crowd was 6,530 with a highest gate of 9,279 against Sheffield Wednesday and Gee believes the team will flourish in such an environment.
He said: “We will be going to a fantastic ground, where we know there will be between eight or ten thousand fans. That should not affect the players, though, after they won two finals at Wembley in pressure-cooker circumstances.
“It certainly won’t be an excuse if we lose and they’ve just got to go out there and enjoy the challenge again. This group of players seem to rise to the occasion in intimidating surroundings.
“Like last season, we will be asking the players ‘How far can you go?’, ‘How good are you?’ and “Where can you push yourself?”
The Minstermen are due to close the campaign on April 27 at Dagenham & Redbridge – a team who flirted with relegation before ending last season sixth bottom in the final standings.
But Gee insisted that nobody at Bootham Crescent, at this stage, would be considering whether that might be a favourable fixture in which to procure vital points, preferring to concentrate on the need to get early points on board.
He said: “You don’t look that far ahead. All you want to do is to get off to a good start because you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re looking at where your first win is going to come from. Maybe, at Christmas time, you then start looking at the later fixtures depending on where you are in the table.”
Fleetwood, who City will host on Tuesday, October 2, have signed Colchester striker Steven Gillespie for an undisclosed fee.
Staines Town keeper Rhys Evans, meanwhile, has been recruited by City’s September 15 hosts Exeter, as cover for one-time Minstermen loanee Artur Krysiak.
Thunderfoot Tommo’s twosome to treasure
NEIL THOMPSON bagged a brace the last time York City played host to Wycombe Wanderers back in 1998.
The left-back, who would later that season take over from Alan Little as manager of the Minstermen, netted twice either side of a Richard Cresswell strike in a convincing 3-0 win.
In the return match, at Adams Park, Cresswell opened the scoring and Barry Jones went on to secure a 2-1 win after Keith Ryan had replied for the hosts.
Despite doing the double over the Wanderers, though, the Buckinghamshire side went on to beat relegation from what is now League One on the final day at City’s expense.