White-hot reception call ahead of York City's play-off semi-final against Fleetwood
NIGEL Worthington wants no nervous tension - on or off the pitch - when his York City team kick off their two-legged play-off semi-final against Fleetwood at Bootham Crescent.
Tomorrow night’s match will be a sell-out for home fans and Worthington is asking the Minstermen faithful to create a cauldron of noise for the live televised clash, kick-off 7.30pm.
He insisted that nobody should feel anxious about the game and, rather, embrace the occasion as the club aim to reach Wembley for a fifth time in as many years.
On this weekend’s first leg, the City chief said: “I don’t think it should be tense and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be confident. We are on a fantastic run of 17 games unbeaten and I am hoping there is a really good atmosphere with lots of noise.
“We had 1,400 fans at Scunthorpe last weekend and it was fantastic. Getting that support behind the players again will be a huge thing in terms of pushing them on.
“We have got two fantastic games going live across the country so there will be a lot of people watching the situation and that’s a fantastic opportunity for the players to embrace, enjoy and to perform in front of. Both teams will be looking to take an advantage into the second game at Fleetwood.
“But, if we don’t get that advantage, we have got to make sure we are still in with a good shout going there.”
Worthington has been impressed with the sight of long queues outside Bootham Crescent all week with some fans arriving just past 5am yesterday morning to guarantee their tickets for next Friday’s second leg at Fleetwood.
On that commitment, the former Norwich and Northern Ireland chief added: “It has just shown that the support is out there. God knows what time some of the first people here got up, so full credit to them.
“I am delighted that we are in the position we are in for them because they deserve it for the support they have given us home and away this season. In return, we will be doing our best to give them a performance that will put us in a good position going to Fleetwood.”
Worthington has also told his players that they will be creating life-long memories if they do make the Wembley final on Monday, May 26.
The City boss played for Sheffield Wednesday in FA and League Cup finals underneath the Twin Towers at the old national stadium and was also in charge of the Norwich City team that played in the 2002 Championship play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in Wales.
“The ultimate aim is promotion but there’s no point talking about that if you don’t get through these two games,” Worthington said of the first prize awaiting his team or Fleetwood. “If we can, then, from my experiences as a player, going to the old Wembley in different cup finals was wonderful.
“I also had the honour of leading Norwich out at Cardiff in the Championship play-off final when Wembley was being rebuilt and the scenes, memories, colours and atmospheres from those occasions never leave you. They truly leave a mark on your mind, so let’s enjoy the next two games and everything else will look after itself then.”
Worthington appears to have one selection dilemma against Fleetwood - which two of Adam Reed, Will Hayhurst and Lewis Montrose to select across his midfield.
“That’s something we will be looking at,” he admitted. “We will see what Fleetwood’s team is and it will be a case of horses for courses again.”
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