RYAN Brobbel is determined to avoid taking York City's play-off push into the final game of the season at title hopefuls Scunthorpe.
Victory over mid-table Newport at Bootham Crescent tomorrow will secure a top-seven spot for the Minstermen but anything less will keep eighth-placed Oxford in the shake-up if they can beat Accrington at home this weekend.
City would then need a result at a Scunthorpe side gunning for the championship and unbeaten in 28 matches prior to tomorrow's penultimate programme of Sky Bet League Two fixture.
On-loan Middlesbrough winger Brobbel inspired City to a 4-1 victory over the Iron back in October with two goals but, whilst a trip to Glanford Park would hold no fear for him, he would prefer the match to be a dead rubber for the visitors.
The Northern Ireland under-21 international said: "I don't think Oxford will give in and I don't think anybody really wants to go to the team that are top of the league needing a result on the last day of the season. They won't want to get beaten by us again and they have been doing so well since that result.
"They could have a big urge to beat us and show us why they are top of the league so we need to give it a big push tomorrow and then see what the Scunthorpe game brings because, even if we do get into the play-offs against Newport, we will still want to get a win there."
Fifteenth-placed Newport are one of eight League Two sides from Plymouth in ninth spot and Cheltenham, currently 16th, who are free from relegation trouble but harbouring no hopes of promotion.
Brobbel insists motivation will not be a problem for the Welshmen, though, reasoning: "They know we need something and will still want to finish as high as possible for their fans. I don't think their manager will let them come here and not perform either."
Along with Lewis Montrose, Brobbel is the only City player from the 14 who featured in October's 3-0 defeat in Newport likely to start in the return fixture.
He was a second-half substitute at Rodney Parade and admitted the whole squad have evolved as a defensive force since then, adding: "I don't think we really turned up on that day but we have enough now to go and beat them.
"The clean sheets have been the biggest difference because, when I was here before, we used to concede a few sloppy goals that could have been avoided. We are more of a group now who want to work for each other and defend from the front, as well as at the back. That's been shown by the strikers like Michael Coulson, Calvin Andrew and Ryan Bowman."
Brobbel has not objected either to calls from Worthington to help out his full back more after being brought back for a second loan spell at the club last month.
"Since being back here, I've worked harder defensively," he admitted. "I am more of an attacking player and that's what I want to be but I know I have to defend as well."
Nevertheless, having netted three times in 13 matches during his first stint with City, Brobbel is still hoping to increase that tally as the club determine their 2013/14 destiny, saying: "Goals have always been a big part of my game.
"Since I was young, I wanted to score and I have done. When I came to York before, I surprised myself with a few of the goals I scored but I need to add to them now."
He is also enjoying operating on the right flank, having often been used on the left during the autumn months.
"It's my more natural side," he confessed. "When I played on the left, I could cut in and go either way but I do like it on the right because I can get my head down and just drive forward to win the team corners or get a cross in and create a chance."
• NEWPORT County will arrive at York City on a dismal run of just three wins from their last 23 matches, writes Dave Flett.
That sequence of results has seen the Exiles slip from fourth in the Sky Bet League Two standings on Boxing Day to their current position of 15th.
The Welshman have also only won one of their last ten away games - that was a 1-0 triumph at bottom-of-the-table Torquay last month.
In fact, only relegation-threatened Bristol Rovers have won fewer league matches on the road.
Newport have managed a mere four away triumphs with the porous Pirates only mustering one.
Justin Edinburgh is likely to be still without strikers Rene Howe (knee) and Danny Crow (back) for the Bootham Crescent clash but former Cheltenham winger Chris Zebroski has been in free-scoring form recently.
County’s 13-goal leading marksman has netted three times in the last four games and the South Wales side have also got on the scoresheet in 11 of their last dozen games.
At the back, central-defenders Byron Anthony and Ismail Yakubu have both been ruled out for the rest of the season.
However, the return of first-choice goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley was a boost during last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Burton Albion following his three-month spell on the sidelines.
Newport (probable): Pidgeley, Jackson, Sandell, Feely, Blake, Flynn, Minshull, Porter, Willmott, Jolley, Zebroski.
NEWPORT’S last visit to Bootham Crescent in the Football League was on April 11,1987 when City won a Third Division (League One) encounter 3-0 with Keith Walwyn (2) and Gary Ford on the scoresheet.
The line-up that day was: Leaning, Senior, Pearce, Pickering, McAughtrie, Haslegrave, Ford, Banton, Walwyn, Mills, Canham.
The Welsh club made 15 League trips between 1960 and 1987 to Bootham Crescent and City can boast an excellent record in the series with 12 wins and one draw.
The biggest win was 5-1 in 1964/65 and County’s last victory here was in 1978/79.
Newport made two Conference trips between 2010 and 2012 with City winning once and drawing once.
Players with links between the clubs include Colin Addison, David Pugh and Gordon Staniforth.
It happened on April 26
1952: Billy Fenton scored in a 1-1 draw at Wrexham in Division Three North. It was the left-winger’s 30th goal of the season which then set a new club record.
1975: City drew 0-0 at home to Oldham Athletic in front of 10,101 and finished their first season in Division Two (Championship) in 15th position.
1986: Dale Banton, Simon Mills and Steve Senior netted in a 3-3 draw at Brentford in the Third Division (League One).
1991: Walsall were beaten 1-0 at Bootham Crescent with Glenn Naylor the marksman. The attendance for this Fourth Division (League Two) game was 1,717.
1997: A 2-0 win at Rotherham United in Division Two (League One) with Rodney Rowe, pictured below, and Neil Tolson on target.
2008: A 3-0 reverse at Salisbury City and the club finished the campaign 14th in the Blue Square Premier.
Compiled by David Batters