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Askey looks ahead to Promotion Final

By Bradley Saxton | 20th May 2022

York City manager John Askey believes his side have come a long way in the second half of the season as they stand one game away from promotion back to the National League.

Tomorrow afternoon sees the Minstermen entertain Boston United in the National League North Promotion Final at the LNER Community Stadium and Askey is hopeful his side can secure a win which would see them return to the fifth tier after a five-year absence.

City secured fifth place in the National League North table on the final day of the season and since then, victories over Chorley and Brackley Town have seen Askey’s side move to within one game and promotion.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s final, Askey explained his excitement on his side's chances against a Boston side full of confidence after they secured their place in the final with a 2-0 win over AFC Fylde on Sunday.

“I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s game, it can’t come quick enough,” said Askey.

“Around the Christmas period I thought that we were doing really well and we got some results under our belt, but with the FA Trophy run and the handful of games that we had postponed, it meant that we had a backlog of fixtures.

“You look at the number of games that we had and the number of away games we had to still play, reaching the playoffs really looked an uphill task. 

“I think the Bradford game at home was the turning point in our season, every time they went down our end of the pitch they scored, but we looked really good on the ball that night and we were just unable to put the ball in the back of the net. 

“We’ve thankfully had very few injuries within the squad, the majority of the boys have managed to stay fit and the ones who have played have really looked after themselves, so we’ve done really well to put ourselves in this position. 

“It’d mean a great deal and as much as it meant last time I got promoted, considering where we were when I came in."

This week marked the club’s ten-year anniversary of ‘Wembley Twice’ 2012, which included the club’s return to the Football League after an eight-year absence. Askey declared the importance of this weekend’s fixture, branding it as one of the most important games in the club’s history as he hoped his side could replicate what happened a decade ago.

He added: “This game is so important for the football club, we’re desperate to get back into a league where the pitches and crowds are both decent and hopefully promotion will be a really good starting block for the club again.

“This league is a really tough one to get out of, you go to some of these grounds and it’s a level playing field and if you go there and think you can play football, you can slightly be mistaken as I’ve been proved wrong this season.

“I just want the club to get back to somewhere where it can push on because the club deserves it, I think this is one of the club’s biggest games, with an opportunity to get back into the National League.”

City may be without in-form striker Lenell John-Lewis for the game, who withdrew at half time during last weekend’s win over Brackley Town with a thigh injury.

“Lenny is really struggling so I’d be really surprised if he is available,” Askey said.

“We’ll evaluate the situation and have a look at whether we have to change the way we play, but we’ve been very lucky so far with the low number of injuries that we’ve had.

“It’ll give players such as Remy (Longdon) and Josh (King) a chance to maybe be involved, who have done a lot of training recently and if we need them then they’ll be available.”

The Minstermen’s good form has seen an increase in attendances over the past five home games and with a sell-out crowd of 7,500 expected tomorrow afternoon at the LNER Community Stadium, Askey is hopeful his side can make most of the home advantage. 

He added: “The teams like Fylde, Kidderminster, Brackley and Chorley had all stuttered, they all looked to have one eye on the playoffs and they rested players, which can see a loss in form.

“When you go into playoffs with momentum it really helps. Ourselves and Boston have had to keep pushing on and thankfully for us, our form has got us to where we are now. 

“I think it’ll be a pretty even game on the day but playing at home is a massive advantage to have. 

“The players will be used to the crowd; they shouldn’t be fazed by it. 

“We’ve had recent games at home where the atmosphere has been excellent, so the boys will be used to it hopefully more than Boston will be.

“We just have to make sure that we play the game and not the occasion.”

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