Friday, 22 February 2013

PREVIEW: York City Home (23/02/13)

Oxford return to the ploughed field that is Kassam Stadium looking for their first win on their own mud since New Year's Day. That was also the last time that opponents York City won a match, so one of those runs has to come to an end – unless it's a draw of course.

This of course is the first time York have come to the Kassam since the Conference days and they appeared to have settled in nicely to life back in the Football League, hovering comfortably in mid-table for most of the season. But with the turn of the year came a suicidal loss of form, with the Minstermen taking just seven points from a possible 27 in 2013. They come into this match looking for their first win eight matches after a disappointing home defeat against Barnet that has set alarm bells ringing in North Yorkshire and put manager Gary Mills under pressure.

He looks set to make several changes to his side ahead of their trip to the Kassam, in contrast to Chris Wilder, who will be looking forward to having the rare opportunity to field a settled side. Jame Constable and Tom Craddock must surely start up front after impressing at Plymouth but there could be changes in midfield as Andy Whing regains match sharpness. The biggest news on the injury front is, of course, the return to fitness of Michael Duberry after missing the last three weeks with a hamstring injury. He will be available for selection but it's unlikely that he will be thrown straight back into action from the start, so expect to see him on the bench. Alfie Potter and Tony Capaldi will also return after illness ruled them out last weekend.

Also worth mention is that tomorrow is Military Day at OUFC. Those in the armed forces who come in uniform get free entry as well as discounts for their family. There will be a flight simulator outside the ground, the Abingdon Military Wives Choir will sing before the game and the British Legion will form the guard of honour. Good stuff.

Oxford fans of course will have plenty of happy memories involving York City, after Wembley 2010. But it wasn't such a happy occasion the last time the two sides met, when York inflicted our first league defeat of the season on a disastrous afternoon for the U's. We'll be hoping for revenge this time around.

Further reading: The depressingly familiar debate of the moment at York City.

From the Vaults

Oxford United v York City, 8th August 2009

The last time York came to the Kassam Stadium was on the opening day of the 2009-10 season. Hopes were high after Chris Wilder's summer rebuilding job and a large crowd turned out expecting to see Oxford get off to a good start. What they saw instead was a disjointed performance and York deservedly led as the final whistle approached. Cue a crazy last few minutes as United's topsy-turvy season kicked off in style...

You can find this and many other old Oxford matches in our Video Vault.

Also This Weekend

The A420 derby comes to Oxford once again at youth level this weekend, as our all-conquering youth team welcome that scummy lot from Swindon to Roman Way. The young U's have already beaten Swindon twice this season – both away from home – 1-0 in the league back in December and 4-1 in a League Cup match.

On Monday evening the U17 apprentice side go to Havant & Waterlooville in the Conference Youth Alliance looking to build on their 3-0 win over Dover last week.

And it's a huge weekend for the ladies team, who play their first ever match at the Kassam Stadium in their first ever FA Cup fourth-round tie against Newcastle United. The match kicks off at 13:00 on Sunday with adult tickets at £5. The ladies reserves are also in action on Sunday and it's a big weekend for them too, as they play what could be a title decider against Reading Ladies. The two sides are level on points at the top of the table, but Reading have a game in hand so a win for our girls this weekend is essential if they are to keep their place at the top of the league.

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