York City boss Martin Gray is excited by the prospect of a “fantastic turnout” for tonight’s marquee home friendly against Championship neighbours Leeds United.
The Elland Road club took 1,161 fans to Forest Green for the start of their warm-up schedule last night with goals from Kemar Roofe and Luke Ayling securing a 2-1 triumph.
But certain senior players did not feature in Gloucestershire and goalkeeper Jamal Blackman and midfielder Lewis Baker, who have both joined on loan from Chelsea, are set to make their first appearances in Leeds colours, while former City striker Ryan Edmondson is also expected to return to Bootham Crescent with the visitors.
Former Argentina and Chile boss Marcelo Bielsa only took a squad of 15 to Forest Green and, with other friendlies line up against Southend on Sunday, Oxford (July 24), Guiseley (July 26) and Las Palmas (July 29) he is expected to take every opportunity to have a good look at his new charges.
On the visit of the three-time English champions, Gray said: “They’re playing six friendlies in 12 days, so they’ve got a really big workload and I believe they will be bringing a very strong senior team. Around 50 per cent of the players that started last season played at Forest Green, so I’d expect the others to play against us and that will be a great challenge.
“We’re still looking at different players and different formations, but it’s a Yorkshire derby, which is great and I’m sure there will be a fantastic turnout, which is really exciting. We’ve got to put on a well-organised performance because, what comes with Leeds, is unbelievable quality.
“We’ve got to have spells in the game where we have a go at them, get in their faces and play at a high tempo, but we’ve also got to be really disciplined and play how we did against Bradford when we were hard to break down.”
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