YORK CITY boss Nigel Worthington wants his side to raise their standards even higher than the team that came so close to Sky Bet League Two promotion last term.
As the Minstermen’s pre-season programme came to an end with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bootham Crescent on Saturday, the former Northern Ireland manager said he could not stipulate what a good 2014/15 season could be but guaranteed his men would be hunting to win every fixture.
“It’s going to be a marathon season - 46 games - and it is tough,” Worthington said. “It is about resilience, keeping people fit, keeping the team spirit and a never-say-die attitude and if we have all of those things together we can have a good season.
“People will say ‘what’s a good season? Can we get close to the last one? Can we go beyond that?’ I don’t honestly know, because the game of football can swivel on the kick of a ball.
“All I can guarantee is that we will be doing the best we can, game in and game out, and trying to win as many as we can as well.”
Asked about the higher expectations of fans following last season’s near miss, the Minstermen boss replied: “That’s part and parcel of football. You live with that. When you have been in the game 35 years, you expect that and rightly so.
“What we have got to do after last year is up our standards and move on to the next level if we can. We have got players in the group, I think we have got a very solid group. I am very happy with that group moving forward and, with that little bit of good fortune, along with a lot of hard work and decent football into the bargain, hopefully we can win games.”
Two Ryan Jarvis goals gave City a morale-boosting victory going into this weekend's League Two opener at Tranmere but Worthington admitted he was only really satisfied with his squad’s efforts in the second half.
He explained: “We are pleased with the result, of course we are, but the first half I thought we were very lethargic, very slow motion.
“We sorted that out at half-time and there was a much better tempo in the second half. In fairness to the players, it was very hot and they played a game on Wednesday night so there may have been a little bit of tiredness in there.
“But we picked up in the second half and we looked, for me, the much better side.”
“They just weren’t right and there was no way we were going to push them,” Worthington added of Jake Hyde and Femi Ilesanmi, who were not in the York squad after picking up ankle knocks in the game against Nottingham Forest.
“They will be ready today or tomorrow. Luke Summerfield has stepped back into training on Friday. We didn’t push him too quickly and he will be in full training all of this week prior to the game.”