After last Saturday's excellent win at Bromley, Phil Parkinson will be hoping that Sam Dalby has recovered from the bout of illness which restricted his role at Hayes Lane, although new man Billy Waters has bolstered the manager's striking options. He certainly won't be able to call upon Rob Lainton after his unbelievable injury jinx in the fixture continued. Remarkbly, he suffered an injury at Bromley for the third season in a row, and the knee ligament damage he picked up will rule him out for six weeks.
However, Parkinson is able to call upon an experienced replacement as Mark Howard has been between the sticks for most of our tilt at the title. Having kept 11 clean sheets in 32 league games this season, he is a major contributor to our elevated league position, and another shut-out would match his career-best total of 12 in a season.
Also strengthening the goalkeeping ranks, Ben Foster returned to the Club on Thursday - some 18 years after his loan spell in 2005, when he helped Wrexham to LDV Vans Trophy success at the Millennium Stadium.
There'll be a terrific atmosphere for this game, as City are bringing nearly a thousand fans, which has earned them the admiration of Ryan Reynolds. They'll contribute to another bumper crowd at The Racecourse in a fixture which last attracted a 5-figure attendance in 1961.
“In case it goes unsaid, I have a ton of respect for the YCFC fans travelling to Wrexham this weekend, so I’m happy to welcome them all to the Racecourse.
“Should be a great match Saturday.”
-Ryan Reynolds, Wrexham AFC co-owner.
The Minstermen comeinto the game in 18th position, but they eased their relegation worrie at the weekend with a massive win over Dorking Wanderers. With a comfortable 2-0 lead under their belts, it looked like City were coasting to victory in a relegation 6-pointer, but Wanderers pulled a late goal back to make the end of the match an uncomfortable one.
Interim manager Michael Morton was delighted with his players, but frustrated that they didn't kill the game off. He told BBC Radio York: "I literally just said to the lads that they're going to give me a heart attack here. Why can't we just put these games to bed and just enjoy the last 20 minutes."
"It's one of those things, even if you look at our last few games we have created so many chances. We could have been two or three up in the first ten minutes. But god, we made it hard there didn't we?
“But it was a great effort from the lads, we talked about it being a cup final before and you can see that they came out and they gave absolutely everything. It's just a shame we didn't put them to bed early doors, but it's a massive win for us and we've now got to make sure that we rest up going into next week now.
"We just have to keep creating them chances and I've been critical, but it's all about the win today. I said to the lads that we wanted that gap to be bigger from the teams that are below us, and that's why it was a cup final."
"The [Wrexham] game we can go into and have no pressure on us and have a real go next week."
-Michael Morton, York CIty interim manager.
Morton arrived at the club in December as assistant to new manager David Webb, who replaced John Askey. Askey had steered the club to promotion from the National League North, and City started this campaign terrifically well, peaking after 9 games when they stood just 1 point off the play-offs. Results deteriorated, but his dismissal in mid-November was a surprise to many and led to a public disagreement between City and their ex-manager.
Further turmoil would follow. Webb's tenure got off to a perfect start with a fine win at play-off contenders Woking, followed by a 5-0 FA Trophy win against Blyth Spartans, who we know from experience are tricky opponents. Things went wrong spectacularly quickly from there though: the next 8 games featured just 1 win and 2 draws - one of which was a home FA Trophy tie against Chelmsford which was won on penalties.
Webb was relieved of his duties after a defeat to Solihull Moors - a 4th loss in a row - , and Morton stepped up to be interim boss. His time in charge has already stretched to 10 games, but 3 wins and a draw in 8 league matches has opened up an 8-point gap between The Minstermen and the relegation zone.
LAST TIME WE MET
3/12/22 York City 1 (Duku 90) Wrexham 1 (O'Connor 89)
York City: Ross, Crookes, Kouogon, Kerr, Dyson, Whittle, John-Lewis, Hancox, Pybus, Mafuta, Duckworth
Subs: Burgess, Whitley, Greaves, James, Duku
Wrexham: Howard, Hayden, Tozer, Tunnicliffe, Forde, Young, J.Jones, McFadzean, Lee, Mullin, Palmer
Subs: Lainton, O’Connor, McAlinden, Mendy, Dalby
Referee: Jacob Miles
HEAD TO HEAD
York City are ancient rivals, having first faced us in a goalless draw in 1929.
We have a good record at home to them, having won 30 and lost 9 of 56 encounters. They last visited The Racecourse in August 2016, when a John Rooney penalty gave us an early lead which was cancelled out by one of our favourite pantomime villains of the National League years, Richard Brodie. However, a Sean Newton strike half way through the second half secured victory.
The previous time they came to North Wales, in October 2011, The Minstermen also suffered a 2-1 defeat. This time we were playing in the FA Cup, and the decisive strike was an own goal after Nat Knight-Percival’s opener had been cancelled out.
York’s goal that day was scored by Paddy McLaughlin who, like Brodie, has often impressed against us. He remains in the York team today, as well as operating as a sports scientist for the club, and he scored a sensational 4th minute goal at The Racecourse five weeks earlier to tee City up for an impressive 3-0 win at the start of a season which ended in promotion to the Football League. That’s not their biggest win in Wrexham though. In August 1954 the gloriously-named Arthur Bottom scored a hat trick as City ran out 6-2 winners despite goals from Tommy Bannan and Johnny Tapscott.
The following season Andy Morrell gave us an 8th minute lead, but within 11 minutes City were level and the scoring was complete.
Our biggest winning margin against York is 4-0, a scoreline we have managed twice. In October 1960, we overwhelmed The Minstermen in the first half hour, by which time Arfon Griffiths, Ron Roberts and Wyn Davies had all scored. Mickey Metcalf rounded off the scoring in the second half.
The second occasion we enjoyed a 4-0 victory in this fixture was 9 years later, and Griffiths was still in our starting line-up. However, it was Albert Kinsey (below) who took centre-stage on this occasion, hitting a hat trick, with Ray Smith scoring too.
That remains the only hat trick scored by a Wrexham player against York, and Kinsey’s 7 goals mean he’s equal top scorer in this fixture, alongside Smith and Ron Hewitt.
Wrexham's 3-1 win over City in October 2008 was the first home game as manager for Dean Saunders, and offered a taltalising glimpse of what might have been. Saunders had acted swiftly to loan Swansea City youngster Joe Allen until the end of the season, and he bossed the game in a sparkling debut. He opened the scoring in the 65th minute, and Neil Taylor and Marc Williams also chipped in with late goals. However, his season was ended at half time in the next match as he suffered a knee injury, leaving us to wonder about what might have been. Ironically, the 3-0 defeat mentioned earlier was Saunders' final home match as Wrexham boss.
Elliot Lee's 225th league appearance.
Max Cleworth's 50th Wrexham league match.