By Ryan Brookes | Image by Tom Poole
The Minstermen are back on the road this weekend in the Vanarama National League for a huge six-pointer, away at Southend United.
The 2023/24 season has been far from smooth sailing for the Shrimpers, with a ten-point deduction meaning they would kick off the new campaign bottom of the league.
Despite off-field issues and limited resources, Southend still managed to pick up maximum points from their opening couple of games, smashing four past Oldham and getting one over their rivals Dagenham & Redbridge.
They have since gone on to tally an amount of points that should leave them on the brink of the playoffs, but instead given the deduction, they sit level with the Minstermen heading into Saturday’s clash.
That makes this fixture a huge relegation six-pointer, with the Essex side looking for a win to return to good form following two straight defeats against Chesterfield and Gateshead.
Manager: Kevin Maher
Kevin Maher was appointed Southend boss back in October 2021, and has remained in the hot seat through difficult times, as the aim to restore the Shrimpers’ Football League status looks to have been delayed for at least another season.
After beginning his career in the youth set-up at Tottenham Hotspur, Maher moved to Southend in January 1998 and soon broke into the first-team set-up at Roots Hall, starting what would prove to be a long affiliation with the football club.
Over the ten years he spent there as a player, he worked his way up to become team and club captain, helping them to successive promotions from League Two up to the Championship. While a player, he made over 400 appearances for the Shrimpers.
After leaving Southend in 2008 to pursue new opportunities, Maher would go on to feature for the likes of Oldham Athletic, Gillingham, and Dagenham & Redbridge.
Following his retirement in 2014, he began his coaching career by becoming Head Coach of National League South club Chelmsford. After a short spell with the Essex club, Maher returned to Southend in a coaching capacity, starting by assisting the U21’s and Youth Team, before being appointed as U21 manager.
Only two months later, he returned to Chelmsford to become the club’s new caretaker manager in January 2016 until the end of the season, prior to occupying the same role with Football League side Bristol Rovers on two separate occasions ahead of his return to Southend.
Top Scorer: Harry Cardwell
After linking up with the Shrimpers midway through the 2021/22 season, Cardwell has become a key player in the Southend attack.
Originally from Beverley in East Yorkshire, the forward turned out for Scotland at U19 level, having played in the youth academies of Hull City, Reading and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Described as a powerful centre forward, Cardwell is strong and skilful with a good turn of pace and brings excellent movement in the leading the attacking line in the final third.
The 26-year-old became a regular goal scorer in the 2021/22 National League North season prior to his move down to Essex, having scored seven times in fourteen appearances that campaign.
So far this season, Cardwell has netted twelve goals in 23 games, but his recent injury means he has not managed a goal since November.
History between York City and Southend United goes way back to 1929, when the two sides first met, City running out 4-1 winners in the FA Cup.
The Shrimpers visited the LNER Community Stadium for the first time last season, recording a 2-0 win, before they completed the league double with the same scoreline at Roots Hall.
However, City travelled back down to Essex just seven days later for an FA Trophy Fifth Round tie – under Michael Morton’s first match as interim manager, we cruised through thanks to goals from Fraser Kerr and Lenell John-Lewis.
The latest meeting between the sides occurred last September – a Southend squad that had been stripped to literally their bare bones picked up two red cards while Thierry Latty-Fairweather, Maz Kouhyar, and Zanda Siziba secured a crucial 3-0 win for the Minstermen.