Minstermen manager Nigel Worthington explains to The Press sports reporter STEVE CARROLL how tackling several high-calibre clubs during a busy pre-season schedule represents the perfect preparation for the new campaign which starts at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

YORK CITY boss Nigel Worthington is confident the club’s tough pre-season programme can help them get off to a good start in the SkyBet League Two campaign.

The Minstermen have faced higher-class opposition in Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United in what the Bootham Crescent chief described in the build up to this weekend’s opener at Prenton Park as a “good, hard five and a half weeks”.

He is now hoping the tactic of lining up against Premier League, Championship and League One outfits, and facing some of the game’s better players, will bear fruit as York look to better their play-off campaign last season.

“It’s good for the football club,” he said of the testing programme.

“It can generate some funds, it’s good for the players - to be playing against better opposition. They can look and learn.

“With the likes of Tom Huddlestone coming here the other week - a big, strong, great athlete with ability on the ball - our players, who are alongside and watching that, can only learn.

“I think we benefit more from that, even though we might be beaten.

“That was not a major issue for me. It was all about getting us ready for a tough game at Tranmere.

“I’ve had different seasons where we have won every pre-season game and probably not won one of the first three or four league games. Then we have gone the other way, not won a game and got off to a flying start.

“For me, results have not been paramount. But to finish off the pre-season, that has been a good, hard five and a half weeks, with a good performance (in a 2-0 win over Sheffield United) and two goals gives the players confidence.”

With the games coming thick and fast - Saturday’s Tranmere clash is quickly followed by the Capital One Cup contest with Doncaster Rovers and league matches against Northampton and Cambridge - Worthington has also indicated that each and every member of his squad will need to be ready for action.

He added: “I think there’s seven games in the first 22 days so it is going to be intense.

“The squad, and I have mentioned this to them already, will be used accordingly to make sure that we have got fresh legs in the areas we need them.”

With the City boss understanding raised expectations around Bootham Crescent after last season’s near miss, but unable to put a target on what would be a ‘good season’, he remained confident that his tightly-numbered outfit will be equipped for the task at hand in the months ahead.

“I am very confident with the group we have got,” he explained.

“They are honest boys and they work very, very hard.

“There’s a great spirit in among them and, as long as we keep doing the things we work on in training - the shape, pressing and passing of the ball along with working the opposition high up the pitch - we will be all right.”