Hopper and Fielding to be left out at York City but could play in reverse fixture

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Harrison Hopper on the ball for York City in their 4-0 win over Blyth Spartans back in October. Picture: Tom Poole
Harrison Hopper on the ball for York City in their 4-0 win over Blyth Spartans back in October. Picture: Tom Poole

“IT suited both parties” to agree that neither Harrison Hopper nor Sam Fielding face York City tomorrow night, Bradford Park Avenue’s director of football Martin Knight has said.

Midfielders Hopper and Harrison signed 18-month deals with City’s National League North rivals Bradford on Friday, just days before Tuesday's league meeting between the two sides.

As the two have gone to West Yorkshire on permanent deals, it was not possible to insert a clause barring them from playing against York - as could have been done on a loan deal - but City and Bradford have come to a “gentlemen’s agreement” that the two not play at the LNER Community Stadium tomorrow night (7.45pm).

It appears the trade-off has been worth it, as both were made available in time to to play the full 90 in Bradford’s 2-1 win over Kettering Town on Saturday.

They will be eligible for selection in the return fixture at the Horsfall on February 7, Knight says, though City’s interim boss John Askey, speaking after Saturday’s game at Kidderminster Harriers, was under the impression they were not eligible for either.

“The last thing we want to do is give Bradford an advantage by playing players who know how we play and have had full-time training with us,” Askey had said.

Knight concurred, saying: “It suited both parties.

“It suited us to get both players available for Saturday. They both acquitted themselves very well and contributed to the win.”

Knight recognised the tactical leg-up to be gained from having players who had so recently been in full-time training with York, but believes the advantage will have faded by the time the game at the Horsfall comes around.

“A couple of weeks from now will be different,” he said.

This is the second piece of business the two clubs have done this season, after striker Rob Guilfoyle made the move to Mark Bower’s team.

And Knight is full of praise for his dealings with City on this most recent occasion.

“Dave Penney (York's sporting director) has been fantastic,” he said.

“York were very clear and a pleasure to deal with. Their communication was very clear and they were very professional.

“That kind of stuff goes unnoticed and York should be praised for that.”

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