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Archive - Monday, 16 March 1998
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Cut to the bone
Wounded York City face a run-in hamstrung by crippling injuries as their play-off tilt suffered total collapse.
And it could force manager Alan Little back into the deadline transfer scramble.
Such was the increase to City's posse of crocks after Saturday's 3-2 crash at Preston that there may be a recall for transfer-listed Steve Tutill, currently on-loan and skippering basement Darlington.
Winger Graeme Murty heads the extended injury list. He will not kick a ball the rest of this season as he enters hospital for an hernia operation on Wednesday.
Also stricken is captain Tony Barras, poised for a lengthy absence after failing to finish Saturday's flop in Lancashire.
Barras' groin injury is compounded by knocks for winger Paul Stephenson (knee) and midfielder Alan Pouton (hamstring).
With Gary Himsworth and Wayne Hall expected not to figure much in the run-in, and striker Neil Tolson still short of match fitness after his hernia surgery, manager Little said it was "all hands to the pumps".
The walking wounded retreated to Bootham Crescent for a major overhaul of the squad after the 3-2 Deepdale defeat deepened depression.
City dropped one spot to 11th place. But they are back to seven points adrift of the final play-off position currently occupied by Gillingham. With only eight games left manager Little ruled out a City surge into the play-offs, especially as the club were now reeling under severe injury problems.
"It's a major blow to us. There were times out there when there were that many players injured and carrying knocks that I did not know who I would be taking off," he confessed.
"There's no way we can look at the play-offs because of all these injuries.
"Barras has had this problem for a while, but it's been getting worse and worse these last few games. It looks like he'll be out for a while.
"It may well be when Steve Tutill finishes his loan next Saturday I may have to bring him back and get him in the side."
While totting up the sick-list as City today reported back to training Little refused to use Saturday's knocks and bangs as an excuse.
Rather he scathingly decried his team's inability to string together back-to-back wins. The last time City managed consecutive conquests was back in the first week of November when, after a home win over Preston, they also saw off visitors Wycombe.
"The boys never played well. They never looked confident in themselves," said Little.
"Before the match they were quiet, even at half-time when they were leading 1-0 they were quiet. We had chances to kill off the game in the first-half, but when Preston upped the tempo we never went with them.
"And that's what makes it all the more disappointing. That game was there for the taking."
Meanwhile, Little tersely refused to comment on reports that City's coveted young striker Jonathan Greening had turned down a chance to attend a trial at FA Carling Premiership strugglers Tottenham Hotspur.
It is understood Spurs wanted to have a look at 19-year-old Greening in a similar way that Premiership champions Manchester United did for four days just over a month ago.
Pressed about Spurs' interest Little said: "I've no comment on that at all."
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