The big matchday preview: Boston United vs York City

Its back to away days for City fans. Photograph © Ian Parker on Flickr
1 Dec 2017 @ 11.37 am
| Sport

York City are back on the road this Saturday, as they travel to the Lincolnshire coast to face Boston United.

Boston United vs York City, The Jakemans Stadium

Saturday Dec 2, 3pm KO

After a week that has seen a striker sacked, the signing of a new defender and a training ground blizzard, City are now setting their sights on taking three points from lowly Boston United this weekend.

The Minstermen are now starting to put a run of results together, having gone 4 unbeaten in all competitions.

This consistency has to continue if City are to reach the play-offs at the end of the season, as there are only nine points seperating City in 6th, and FC United of Manchester in 19th!

York City team news

New signing to start

New loan signing Jonny Burn will start on Saturday. Photograph © Robbie Stephenson/JMP UK

City will travel to Lincolnshire with a fresh bill of health, as there are no new injury concerns ahead of the game with Boston.

Manager Martin Gray confirmed on Thursday that new centre half Jonathan Burn will start at Boston, after arriving on a month’s loan from Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.

Last September, Burn was turning out for Kilmarnock in front of 53,000 fans at Celtic park. A year later and the big defender could possibly be making his City debut in a crowd no bigger than three figures in the 6th division of English football.

He has insisted that it is no different for him though. The Darlington-born defender is glad to be back up north and is focusing on ending City’s torid run of 13 games without a clean sheet on Saturday.

They had Moussa Dembele, Lee Griffiths and Scott Sinclair in their team, who are big players, but you just blot that out during the game and I’ll have just the same approach as I had in that match when we go to Boston.

It’s the same when you play anywhere – you’re there to do one thing and that’s win the game.”

I’m hopeful on playing week in week out. Its a great squad here and hopefully we can show that on Saturday. We’re in the play-offs at the moment and the atmosphere around the club is brilliant.

I’ll be delighted if we can keep a clean sheet on Saturday. I’ll be there in the back four on Saturday and hopefully we can stop that bad run.

Jonathan Burn

Defender to go

Surplus to requirements:: defender Jassem Sukar. Photograph © Ian Parker / Ice Photography

As one defender comes in, one looks to be on his way out, as Jassem Suker was told that he can leave the club before his contract expires in the New Year.

The 21-year-old has failed to make a name for himself at the club after joining on a free transfer from Scottish club Arbroath in the summer.

Midfielder Aidan Connolly and defender Alex Whittle will be hoping for starts in the game despite playing 90 minutes for the under 23’s in their 3-1 defeat away at Rotherham on Tuesday.

Whittle will be in competition with David Ferguson for a starting place. The former Boston loanee put in an impressive performence at left back in last week’s 3-1 FA Trophy victory against Coalville Town.

City have young midfielder Connor Smith back, who could start on the bench on Saturday after returning from his loan spell at Whitby Town.

The manager’s thoughts

York City Manager Martin Gray. Photography © Ian Parker
On a snow-covered Thursday at York City’s training HQ, Martin Gray was in good spirits ahead of Saturday’s journey to Boston.

As the players worked on their giant snowball projects outside, Gray told the media that he is not expecting an easy game on Saturday, despite Boston only winning one home game all season.

We’ve got to make sure we go down their and continue our fantastic form that we’re currently having.

It’s a really important game and hopefully the snow will stop by then!

There are no given games at any level. We need to make sure we capitalise on our strengths and make sure that defensively, we are strong as well.

Martin Gray

My snowball’s bigger than yours! York players make the most of wintry conditions at training.

Defender Sam Muggleton recently spend a month on loan at the Lincolnshire coast club and Gray was grateful to have some useful intel from the player on his return to York.

The manager was also looking forward to playing in a ‘football arena’ at Boston’s Jakemans Stadium on Saturday.

Well, he said they give a good long throw!

We did use his knowledge, why wouldn’t you? It was very useful getting him back from being on loan there. He’s told me what their all about.

It’s got history hasn’t it (Boston’s stadium). They’re an ex-Football League club and it’s nice to be going to a proper football arena rather than somewhere where the ball goes over the fence!

Martin Gray

You can see Martin Gray talking at the press conference in this video, edited by York City FC.

[arve url=”″ title=”Martin Gray pre-match Boston United” /]

Boston United Preview

Boston United Football Club

Founded: 1933
Stadium: The Jakemans Stadium
Capacity: 6,643 (5,711 seated)
Nickname: The Pilgrims
Manager: Craig Elliott
League Position: 21st
Top Scorer: Kabongo Tshimanga (10)

It hasn’t been easy for Boston this season, or for the last 10 years for that matter.

Financial turmoil has seen the Lincolnshire coast club lingering in the 6th and 7th tier’s of English Football, since being demoted by two divisions from the Football League in 2007.

After flirting with promotion over the last few years, the Pilgrims now sit second bottom of the National League North, having only won one league match since the beginning of September.

Manager Craig Elliot was appointed on the back of Adam Murray’s resignation early in November.

He guided previous club Shaw Lane to three promotions in four seasons, but is still waiting for his first win after four matches in charge at Boston.

Elliot has taken on a fairly inexperienced side, with most of the squad being under 23 years old.

They include the highly rated loan signings of Derby County full-back Kyron Stabana (19) and Hull City centre-half Adam Curry (20), who will both be looking for starts against City.

It’s clear that the club’s precarious position comes down to serious problems at the back. They have conceded 36 goals and have only kept two clean sheets all season.

However, Boston are not shy in front of goal this season. They have only failed to score twice in the league, with top scorer Kabongo Tshimanaga bagging 10 of 24 goals for the Pilgrims so far this campaign.

Back to back record

[arve url=”” title=”York City 0-1 Boston United. FA Trophy First Round 2010″ /]

City have only had Six previous competetive meetings with Boston in their History, winning two, losing two and drawing one.

The last competetive meeting between the two clubs came in the FA Trophy first round at Bootham Crescent back in 2010. Boston were 1-0 winners on the day, with current City players Daniel Parslow and Michael Rankine starting in the game.

The last league meeting between the two sides in was back in the 2004 League Two season. Boston beat City 2-0 at the York Street stadium (now the Jakemans Stadium) and captain Chris Brass was sent off for the Minstermen.

York have not beaten Boston since August 2002, when goals from Peter Duffield and Lee Nogan sealed a 2-0 home victory. City went on to finish 10th in League Two that season, missing out on the play-offs by only 4 points.

Higgs Predicts

Both sides need a positive result for very different reasons.

I think City should have too much experience for Boston, with John Parkin in great scoring form and the likes of Amari Morgan-Smith starting to cause defences problems.

However, despite the introduction of big Jonny Burn into City’s backline, I feel that it will take a few games for the back-line to gel properly.

Boston will be well up for the game, considering their current position, so I would be surprised if Craig Elliots side don’t get a goal on the day.

Higgs predicts: Boston United 1-3 York City