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Martin Aware Of Harriers Threat

Martin Gray
By Phil Howden | 12th March 2018

On Monday, as players tucked into their lunch after training, York City manager Martin Gray held his pre-match press conference for the assembled local media as he looked ahead to tomorrow night’s Vanarama National League North fixture away at Kidderminster Harriers.

City go into the fixture at Aggborough Stadium (kick off 7.45pm) off the back of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Boston United at Bootham Crescent on Saturday but, since the final whistle of that win, the manager has been planning and preparing for the difficult trip to Worcestershire.

“We’ve got to be focussed on this game now. It’s a massive game for the club. We’ve put ourselves in a great position after the win on Saturday, and we’ve got to make sure we back it up.

“We weren’t great first half on Saturday but what we didn’t do is concede. If you go back to Curzon, we conceded three horrendous goals and, if you do that, you give yourselves a mountain to climb. If you look at the results at the weekend, Darlington won 1-0 with a goal in the ninety-fourth minute, Gainsborough won 1-0 with a goal in the ninety-fourth minute, just because they stayed in the game. So, by not having a mountain to climb despite not playing particularly well in the first half at home, we got a chance to regroup and shake things up. We got the right reaction and an important 1-0 win.”

While City come into the game off the back of a three-point haul, Kidderminster have lost their last three league games in a row. However, plenty of homework has been done to study a side who are fighting along with the Minstermen for an end of season play-off place.

“Kidderminster are a good team. I’ve seen the best of Kidderminster and if you allow them to do what they’re good at, they’ll cause you problems. So, we’re well aware of their strengths. We’ve got to make sure we go down there and be very, very solid. We need to make sure we stay in the game and do our side of the game.

“We’ll have a game plan, like all teams do. I’ve watched them many times this season. I watched them at Harrogate only a month ago. They got beat against a 4-4-2 but, equally, they could have been well and truly in charge of the game had they taken their chances on the night. The only fault I would say about them is that they over-play at times and didn’t kill Harrogate off because they should have won the game.

“We drew with them at home. We got beat down there, but the second half performance was our best footballing performance and we probably did to them what they do to many teams. We can do both sides of the game and make sure that we’re focussed on a disciplined performance. We need to be very hard to beat, very aggressive in our approach and make sure we come away with the right result.”

Like at all pre-match press conferences, the conversation turned to team selection and who will feature in the line-up tomorrow night.

“Jon Parkin comes back into the team, there’s no question about that. Why would you hide it away as a manager? He’s essential to what we do with his goals and his game and he’ll come straight back into the starting line-up. Whoever starts alongside him, we’ve got to have energy around him. It’s making sure that the performance of the team in the second half matches the performance of the first half. If you start well, and you’re very solid, then Jon will play a massive role in what we’re trying to do.

“Simon Heslop has got a two-game ban, which is official now. It could have been worse, it could have been three as he’s been suspended once already this season. But everybody’s got a clean bill of health and we’ve got to make sure we’re down there ready for this big game again.”

Martin Gray

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