Harrogate Town welcome York City to The CNG Stadium on Saturday afternoon for a historic contest that sees the two North Yorkshire sides meet for the first time in a competitive fixture.
Eight points and six positions separate the two sides located just 20 miles apart in the early National League North standings, following The Minstermen’s final-day relegation last season.
Gary Mills was brought in to the Bootham Crescent hot seat during last season and, despite a turnaround in his side’s performances and results, could not avoid the drop, though a second FA Trophy win at Wembley Stadium in May did end York City’s season on a high.
One thing Mills has managed to fix is his side’s away form, with the Minstermen losing just one of their last 11 matches away from their home ground; this coming after over a year without winning a competitive fixture on the road.
Having taken York back into the Football League in his first spell at the club, and boasting a Conference North Winners medal with Tamworth, Mills’ York are one of the favourites to win the division; along with Salford.
The two sides met on Saturday when striker Jon Parkin fired in his 200th
career goals at Moor Lane to seal his side’s progress into the next round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Town’s 33 league goals are nine more than the division’s next best (Blyth Spartans), though both defences have also impressed this season with only three teams conceding less than that of both Town and York.
Simon Weaver’s side have lost just one of their last 14 fixtures, and have found the net in every tie so far this campaign.
The Harrogate boss was happy to see both Jack Vann and Liam Agnew return to action last Saturday following suspension and injury, though Town remain without Simon Ainge, Dom Knowles, Jake Wright, Louie Swain and Lloyd Kerry.
Speaking after Town’s FA Cup win over Penistone Church, Weaver said: “We are really looking forward to the challenge!
“They have got a lot of good players, a lot of which are ex-Football League, but we have got a lot of aspiring Football League players.
“We are all hungry and want to get stuck in to the game, hopefully we will give a good account of ourselves.”