YORK City boss Nigel Worthington wants two bumper Bootham Crescent crowds to cheer his team into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
The Minstermen have been spurred on by 781, 944 and 794 supporters during their last three away games at Oxford, Rochdale and Portsmouth respectively.
But home gates have stayed stubbornly under the 4,000 mark since Pompey visited North Yorkshire at the end of September when a travelling following of 1,357 helped contribute to the club’s biggest gate of the season of 4,848.
Aside from that attendance, only the opening two league games of the campaign against Northampton (4,388) and Hartlepool (4,768 including 1,714 visiting fans) have topped the 4,000 mark.
Ahead of this afternoon’s home clash against Bury, this season’s average crowd of 3,631 - the tenth-highest in the division - is actually more than 250 down on that of last term when the club were fighting for Football League survival rather than a top-seven spot.
The final three Bootham Crescent fixtures of 2012/13 saw gates of 4,682, 4,446 and 5,975 witness tense contests against Plymouth, Accrington and Southend respectively with Worthington now hoping that the current top-seven push will now similarly capture the imagination, starting today.
Worthington’s team go into the game sat in the final play-off position two points clear of eighth-placed Oxford, who they beat 1-0 at the Kassam Stadium on Good Friday.
Newport will then visit City on Saturday before the season is wrapped up at title hopefuls Scunthorpe seven days later.
On his hopes for a loud and proud turn-out for the club’s next two games, Worthington said: “It would be fantastic to get a real big and noisy crowd because I think the players really deserve it for the endeavour and commitment they are putting in to get results. Two games in the space of four days isn’t easy but it can be done, especially with the help of a big crowd.”
Should Oxford fail to win today at a Scunthorpe side unbeaten since mid-November and needing three points to secure automatic promotion, then six points from the next two games would seal City’s top-seven spot prior to their own trip to Glanford Park.
After play-off rivals Southend’s surprise win at automatic promotion hopefuls Rochdale on Friday, however, Worthington insisted nobody should be taking results elsewhere for granted and added: “You hear people asking how other teams have done after games but I’ve told the players that doesn’t matter.
“If we get three points, we don’t have to worry about anybody else because they can’t get four points for a win. You just need to do your own jobs and let everybody else look after themselves.
“I am sure there will be more twists and turns over the next two games. It would be nice to sort it out sooner rather than later but, quite often in the game of football, it doesn’t happen that way.
“We will be hanging on in there for as long as we can for our supporters though.”
Worthington has also reminded every player in his squad to be prepared to feature in the final three fixtures of the regular season.
Estonian international Sander Puri tasted his first action since January 4 as an 84th-minute replacement at Oxford following a run of 12 games as an unused substitute and the City chief said: “Everybody has to be on board and all the fit players have to be ready for when they are needed or somebody gets a bump.”