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York City not opting for safety-first policy
11:50am Friday 8th February 2013 in Sport
YORK City are refusing to opt for a safety-first policy despite now being closer to the League Two relegation zone than the play-off places.
Prior to tomorrow’s away match at Wycombe Wanderers, the 18th-placed Minstermen are eight points clear of the bottom two places, which is one fewer than the gap to the top-seven positions.
Wycombe and last week’s 4-1 conquerors Morecambe are among the clubs who have recently climbed above City with the managers of both those sides still insisting that preserving their team’s Football League status remains their primary objective for 2012/3.
Even after Monday’s 1-0 win at title contenders Gillingham – a result that moved Wycombe ten points clear of the drop zone – Chairboys boss Gareth Ainsworth insisted: “People keep looking above and seeing who we can catch.
“I keep looking below and want to keep us pushing further and further away from that bottom two.
“That was my aim when I took over and that’s still my aim. I’ll keep striving to get away from that bottom two.”
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley echoed those sentiments when last weekend’s win lifted his team into the top half of the table.
However, City’s assistant manager Darron Gee does not believe in setting too modest targets for players.
He said: “Everybody wants to secure their place in the division but you don’t want to settle for that. I think it’s dangerous to say to players that we want to achieve safety first.
“Like Wycombe, Morecambe said their aim was to get to a number of points that would then allow them to relax from there. But we think you always need an incentive to achieve and kick on so, yes, we want to be playing League Two football next season but, equally, we are still not far off those play-off positions.”
Despite having not picked up maximum points since a 3-0 New Year’s Day home win over Burton more than a month ago, Gee is also calling for calmness with 16 games still left.
He added: “People are saying we haven’t won for five games but we’ve only lost two in that time. If you make too much of these things, it can bring added pressure on players and everybody.
“If we look at the performances, we have been unlucky not to come away with three points from some of the games. I saw a good quote from Sam Allardyce the other day when he said West Ham had won just one of their last 11 games but they had not panicked because their performances did not warrant that run and that helped them beat Swansea last weekend.”
Gee also suggested City would take a cautious approach to recruiting any new players now the loan window has reopened for business, saying: “We would have liked to have brought a couple more players in permanently before the window closed but we can bring loan players in now.
“You have to be careful with loan players at this stage of the season though. They have to come in and embrace what we are trying to do and it’s not just about their ability but their mental strength as well.
“It comes down to whether they are going to roll their sleeves up and get on with things in the same manner as the other players.”
Jamie Reed and Lee Bullock will be in contention at Wycombe, meanwhile, despite their transfer requests.
“One club came in for Lee but it wasn’t quite the right move,” Gee revealed. “Jamie has been told he’s still an important member of the squad and we expect him to conduct himself in the right way while he’s here, which both him and Lee are doing.”
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