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Match preview: York City v Hartlepool United
RIGHT-BACK Lanre Oyebanjo is happy to carry on bombing forward for York City but admits clean sheets remain his first priority.
City boss Nigel Worthington, once an attack-minded full-back himself, is demanding energetic displays from his defensive flank men and Oyebanjo responded with a rampaging performance during last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Dagenham.
Worthington will be expecting more of the same from the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international during tomorrow’s home meeting with Hartlepool but the ex-Histon defender is not intending to neglect his duties at the opposite end of the pitch either.
“The manager was a full-back and he gives us pointers,” Oyebanjo said. “He expects a lot from us and wants us to get forward and back.
“We all believe we can do that and know we have got to do it on a regular basis. Other managers I have played for reined me in and asked me to stay back more so to have a manager giving me that licence is good because I enjoy doing that.
“I feel when I do get going I can be a threat and maybe set up or get a goal so if I can help in an attacking sense I will.
“I’m looking to make more of those runs but, first and foremost, I want to keep a clean sheet because conceding six goals in two games is not good.”
Oyebanjo was only seven when Worthington hung up his boots as player-manager of Blackpool in 1997.
But the one-time West Ham Centre of Excellence student believes he is benefiting from the knowledge of a man who won 66 caps for his country, having also enjoyed life under another former full-back Gary Mills – Worthington’s predecessor at Bootham Crescent.
“I’ve seen a few clips,” Oyebanjo laughed when asked about any memories of his manager’s career.
“He hasn’t shown me any but maybe I need to get a few.
“Seriously, though, the last two managers both being full-backs has helped my game.”
Oyebanjo came out of last weekend’s Dagenham match with individual credit but, after back-to-back defeats having also lost 4-0 at home to Burnley in the Capital One Cup, he believes the team now need to attain the same standards they demonstrated in the season’s curtain raiser when Northampton were seen off 1-0 at home.
He added: “Hartlepool will be a tough, tough test tomorrow. They haven’t had the best of starts but it’s a local derby that is likely to be played at a high tempo. It will probably be physical too but we need to impose ourselves on the game from the off.
“We want to get back to how we played against Northampton because, if we do, we are more than a match for anybody in the League.”
With Hartlepool expected to bring as many as 1,500 fans and City likely to be backed by a decent home following, Oyebanjo is relishing the prospect of a great atmosphere at Bootham Crescent, saying: “I’ve played in stadiums where you have to create your own vibe and that’s not a problem but it can help when there’s a big crowd.
“Your fans can be a 12th man and lift you when it’s needed. You want to play in front of big crowds – it’s what you play for at the business end of the week.”
The Hackney-born 23-year-old is also hoping to make the club’s home stadium a more intimidating place than it might have been during his first two campaigns as a Minsterman when more league points were collected on the road.
Disregarding notions that a fear of playing in front of the club’s own fans might have contributed to that record, Oyebanjo reckons the more direct approach Worthington has instilled into the team might reap better results in North Yorkshire than those experienced under Mills.
“I don’t think we are scared of playing at home,” Oyebanjo insisted.
“Personally, I prefer playing at home and would like to every week.
“Maybe, previously, it had something to do with the way we were playing. We were keeping the ball but some teams would just sit back against us.
“Even then, though, we should have been breaking them down. We’ve won our first home game in the League now though and another one would take us that next step towards making Bootham Crescent a fortress because we want teams to fear coming here.”
HARTLEPOOL United have made 47 past Football League trips dating back to 1929/30 and City have recorded 26 victories with 13 draws.
The biggest win was 5-0 in 1953/54 when the scorers were Campbell Burgesss (2), Les Porter, Gordon Brown and David Dunmore, and on five other occasions they have won by a margin of four goals.
The last time Hartlepool won at Bootham Crescent was 3-2 in 1988/89 and their biggest success here was 4-1 in 1946/47.
The clubs last met at York on February 15, 2003 in a matched televised by Sky when, in front of 5,953, the fixture ended goalless.
At the time, Hartlepool were top of the Third Division (League Two) with City sixth in the table.
Michael Ingham, then on loan from Sunderland, was voted man of the match and also in City’s side was Chris Smith.
The line-up was: Ingham, Cooper, Smith, Brass, Jones (Wise), Cowan, Potter, Bullock, Nogan (Mathie), Parkin, Shandran (Fox).
Players to have represented both clubs include Eddie Blackburn, Keith Houchen, John MacPhail, Jon McCarthy, Paul Baker, Tony Barratt, Kevin Dixon, Mark Tinkler and Lee Bullock, with managerial links John Bird, Alan Little and Viv Busby.
It happened on August 17
1968: A 1-1 home draw in Division Four against Doncaster Rovers. Tommy Ross was the scorer and the attendance was 5,559.
1974: City’s first ever game in the Second Division (Championship) finished 1-1 at Bootham Crescent against Aston Villa. Barry Lyons was the marksman in front of 9,396 and the side that day 39 years ago was: Crawford, Stone, Oliver, Holmes, Swallow, Topping, Lyons, Cave, Seal (Hinch), Jones, Butler.
1985: City beat Plymouth Argyle 3-1 at home in the Third Division (League One) watched by 4,242. On target was Marco Gabbiadini on his full Football League debut, along with Tony Canham and Keith Walwyn.
2002: A 4-3 home win over Torquay United in the Third Division (League Two) thanks to goals from Jon Parkin (2), Peter Duffield and Lee Nogan. The crowd was 3,203.
2004: City’s first ever home game in the Conference and a crowd of 2,466 saw Tamworth beaten 2-0, with Paul Groves and Paul Robinson on the scoresheet.
Compiled by David Batters
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