Oxford return to Yorkshire for the second time in a week with the hope of a better outcome, as they resume their League Two campaign against York City for the first time since the Conference play-off final in 2010. York returned to the Football League via the Wembley route with victory over Luton Town, after an eight-year non-league exile.
York's return to the league has brought mixed fortunes, an opening day defeat to Wycombe being followed up by a draw away at Morecambe and an away victory at Barnet. They have gained a reputation as an attractive passing side which is dangerous in attack but defensively weak. It will be interesting to see how this compares with our strong defence (albeit one which conceded three goals in the week) and weakened attack, with Smalley and Craddock carrying knocks and Constable out of form.
York's exit from the League Cup in the first round left them without a midweek fixture, so they have had extra time to recover and prepare for the match – which could prove the difference, with the match being Oxford's sixth in two and a half weeks. They have been bolstered by three new signings during the week with PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle the most notable of the trio. Oxford, on the other hand, are down the bare bones, with youngsters Tyrone Marsh and David Lynn filling out the bench on Tuesday. Hopefully some of the notable absentees from Tuesday night were merely rested as a precaution and won't be out for too long. The only possible new face for United is 19-year-old Daniel Boateng, on loan from Arsenal, who could make his league debut coming off the bench.
Of the York team we defeated at Wembley in 2010, very few remain – goalkeeper Michael Ingham is the only notable name from that game likely to feature this weekend. One member of the York squad who will be familiar to Oxford fans is Oli Johnson, who spent the first six months of 2012 at the Kassam. He was, perhaps surprisingly, released at the end of the season and found his way to York. He has yet to feature for the Minstermen this season, however, so may not get the chance to get revenge on his old club this weekend.
We have not lost a league game against York since the final day of the 2006-07 season (six regular season matches), but they did knock us out of the FA Trophy in 2009 – Chris Wilder's first home defeat as Oxford manager.
FURTHER READING: Jack Shoemark spoke to York fan Ian Jones ahead of the match for TBFUTH. And head over to Jack's blog for his comparison of the York and Oxford teams.
From the Vaults
Oxford United v York City (FA Trophy), 13th January 2009
Jim Smith had taken charge of the team for its first round victory over AFC Sudbury, but by the time York came to the Kassam for the second round tie, new manager Chris Wilder had been installed. After Boxing Day defeat away at Saisbury Wilder had overseen back-to-back home victories in the league ahead of his first cup match as U's boss...