York Must Ease Pressure On Parkin For National League Return

York City’s attempt to bounce back to the National League at the first attempt is hanging in the balance. The Minstermen have put themselves into contention for a play-off berth, but will need a strong end to the campaign to try to secure a first-round bye.
Martin Gray succeeded Gary Mills in November and has brought stability to the team. However, they’ve not managed to push on and challenge Harrogate Town and Salford at the top of the table. Salford are the leading candidates to be promoted to the National League by securing the North crown outright, being backed in the latest non-league football betting odds at 2/7 to win the division.
With 10 games remaining this term, Gray’s men need to get back to their form of the festive period and early January. After a humbling defeat to Blyth Spartans at Bootham Crescent two days before Christmas, the Minstermen reeled off five wins on the bounce to move back into playoff contention.
The goals of Jon Parkin have been crucial this term. Even at the age of 36, he has been an indispensable member of the team. He scored seven goals in the five-match winning run, including a hat-trick against North Ferriby on the road.
Parkin has struck 20 times this term, but has failed to find the net in his last six matches. His downturn in form has coincided with York’s struggles. Gray’s men have won just one of their last six matches, highlighting the veteran’s value to the team.
However, the forward displayed the negative aspect of his game when he was dismissed at Curzon Ashton following an altercation with Jonathan Hunt. His absence could loom large in York’s hunt for a playoff place. Goals have been sparse from elsewhere in the team, with Sean Newton next on the goalscoring chart with six strikes to his name, while Aidan Connolly has five.
The Minstermen have to find a way to win without the presence of Parkin. It will be to the benefit of the club in the long run and alleviate the pressure on the 36-year-old. Part of the issue has been York’s weakness at the back, with Gray’s men in the middle of the park in terms of goals conceded this term.

Since Gray replaced Mills in the dugout, York have kept just two clean sheets. The first came against bottom of the table North Ferriby, which considering their performances this term was not a lot to write home about. However, the second came at home against Salford.
Should the Minstermen be able to channel that defensive resilience into their remaining matches of the season then there’s hope for them even when Parkin is either not firing or not on the pitch. York still have to face Kidderminster, Brackley and Harrogate in the campaign, which means that they will have to be at their best even to maintain their spot in the qualifying round of the playoffs.
However, rediscovering their January free-scoring form in-front of goal could see them surge towards a bye in the first round and a potential return to the National League.

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