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York City boss Nigel Worthington backs team to tough it out
NEW boss Nigel Worthington is backing York City’s players to mount a successful fight against relegation despite going down 3-2 at fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon.
The Minstermen now lie just three points above League Two’s dreaded drop zone and have played more games than four of the five teams below them in the standings.
Worthington, taking charge of his first game since succeeding Gary Mills at the helm, oversaw a 12th fixture without victory on Saturday but insists the team are not going to collapse in their crucial nine-match quest to preserve the Minstermen’s Football League status.
The former Northern Ireland chief said: “It’s all about mental toughness, both individually and collectively. The situation we are in is staring everybody in the face and you either fight or buckle under the pressure.
“I’d like to think from what I have seen during my first week at the club and in the first game that there is enough in the dressing room to get the points we require.”
Worthington, who made Sheffield Wednesday reserve ’keeper Arron Jameson his first signing last week, has not ruled out further loan additions before the transfer deadline a week on Thursday.
On that possibility, he said: “We have a limited time and have got to go the right way about things. If there are players available to come in on loan I will look at that but, at this stage of the season, there are not many managers of other clubs looking to do business.
“You can perhaps get younger players but this situation might not be for younger players.”
Right-back Lanre Oyebanjo missed the trip to Wimbledon with a calf problem, but could recover to play against Rochdale at Bootham Crescent tomorrow.
Worthington also hinted that he could change formation in that match, having opted for a 4-5-1 line-up at the weekend.
He added: “It was horses for courses at Wimbledon with Paddy (McLaughlin) playing in front of the two midfielders and trying to go beyond, so it was 4-2-4, if you like, sometimes.”
Worthington added that captain Chris Smith’s two equalisers proved the team has “character” but he was disappointed with the goals conceded, saying: “It was a very frantic game and I expected that but the players’ participation in that was outstanding.
“They kept going until the final whistle and showed a lot of character to come back twice but, if you score two goals away from home, you should get something from the game. I could not fault the commitment and endeavour but it’s a learning curve and, while there was some good stuff, there are some things we have to improve upon.
“The team spirit is excellent but little mistakes can cost you goals. Chris Smith did exceptionally well to get on the end of the crosses for our goals but two of theirs went in from the edge of the box.”