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No old boy fear for York City as Matty Blair returns with Fleetwood
NIGEL Worthington will not be focusing his full attention on stopping Matty Blair when the popular York City old boy returns to Bootham Crescent tomorrow.
The 24-year-old winger left for promotion favourites Fleetwood in the summer and has bagged three goals since crossing the Pennines.
But Worthington wants his team to be aware of all the threats Fleetwood could pose, as well as concentrating on their own strengths during the League Two clash.
Blair was a hero during his first season with the Minstermen, scoring 20 goals, including the second-half effort that clinched a 2-1 victory at Wembley in the Conference play-off final against Luton.
He also netted seven times last term before moving to the Cod Army, for whom he made his fourth start of the current campaign during Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Scunthorpe.
On his return to North Yorkshire this weekend, Worthington said: “I don’t think Matty will have anything to prove to anybody.
“He did exceptionally well at this club and had a successful period. He has since moved on to what he probably sees as a bigger club but he will be welcomed back whether he plays or doesn’t.
“He has got pace, is neat and tidy on the ball and can score a goal so we have to be aware of that but he will get the same respect and treatment as any other Fleetwood player. The game will not just be about Matty if he is playing – it will be about Fleetwood as a team and about us doing our jobs to the best of our ability.”
The game will also see two more former City players return to their old stamping ground with on-loan Leeds left-back Charlie Taylor and 31-year-old striker Jon Parkin both in the visitors’ ranks.
Parkin has played for eight different clubs in Macclesfield, Hull, Stoke, Preston, Cardiff, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Scunthorpe since leaving City in February 2004.
He scored against the Minstermen just two months after leaving for Macclesfield with a goal – his only one in 21 matches – that helped consign his old team to relegation from the Football League.
Parkin has not played against City since, having been an unused substitute and injured during the meetings with Fleetwood last season, but he is expected to play a part tomorrow, having featured in the visitors’ last six matches.
On Parkin’s qualities, Worthington added: “Big Jon has been around the block.
“He’s a huge man and very awkward to play against so we will have to make sure we are on our mettle.”The City chief, meanwhile, is relishing pitting his side against one of the most-expensively assembled squads in the division.
Worthington missed out on summer transfer target Ryan Cresswell when he opted to join Graham Alexander’s team instead.
But last season’s League Two Team of the Year centre-back could only make the substitute’s bench for the defeat at Scunthorpe.
Of the test ahead, Worthington said: “They are a big, strong team who have spent a lot of money but I am not jealous of that whatsoever and see it as a challenge for ourselves. Good luck to anybody in their position financially, but we are where we are and are fighting and working hard to try and get results.
“The game will be another measure of where we are at and where we can be. We will need focus and concentration going into the game and getting off to a good start will be hugely important so we can build from there and try and repeat what we did against Chesterfield on Tuesday night.”
City employed a 4-1-4-1 formation on the way to a 2-2 draw at then league leaders Chesterfield but Worthington is unsure whether he will retain the same system tomorrow, explaining: “It worked well at Chesterfield because we scored two goals but we also conceded two and the ball was coming forward a bit too easily so we will be looking to see which shape suits this game best.”
Having taken 12 points from their first dozen league games, Worthington is also now keen to improve that points-per-game ratio during coming weeks.
“Up to now, we are averaging a point a game and we need to build on that and add to it because, with a bit more rub of the green, I think we could have had five or six more already,” he reasoned.
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