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Nigel Worthington to hold clear-the-air talks with York City skipper Chris Smith
YORK City manager Nigel Worthington will hold clear-the-air talks with dropped captain Chris Smith today.
Smith left Worthington baffled after Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Fleetwood when he joined in the post-match warm-down despite declaring himself unfit for the game.
The City skipper, who played an integral part in staving off the threat of relegation last season, had been left on the bench for the previous six League Two games prior to Fleetwood’s visit.
Had he been available at the weekend, however, Smith would have been the obvious replacement for injury-plagued, fellow centre-back David McGurk when the latter suffered a first-half hamstring problem.
Instead, Worthington turned to 18-year-old Tom Allan, who could now be preferred to Smith for tomorrow’s home match against Scunthorpe if McGurk is sidelined.
City boss Worthington claimed he had heard of three different explanations for Smith being out of contention at the weekend, while it is also believed he told others at the game he was suffering from a water infection.
On his skipper’s behaviour, a bemused Worthington said: “He told me he had a bad back, a sore groin and a sore hamstring but then he was doing some fitness work at the end of the game with all the other players who had not played. I don’t know why and it’s a strange one but one I will manage.
“I was pleased with Tom when he came on though and, in general, he did what we asked of him. As I’ve said in the past, opportunities don’t always come along too often but Tom’s taken his and I will be looking at that from a selection point of view for tomorrow.”
McGurk is, thought, to have just ‘tweaked’ a muscle but City should learn more about the extent of any damage over the next 24 hours.
The Minstermen will also monitor the condition of top scorer Ryan Jarvis with Worthington concerned about the possibility of the ex- Norwich forward suffering fatigue.
Top scorer Jarvis started Saturday’s match as a lone central striker – the same role he performed for 74 minutes in last Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Chesterfield.
But substitutes Ryan Bowman and Wes Fletcher finished the game as attacking partners after City switched to 4-4-2 at half-time and Jarvis was withdrawn midway through the second period.
Worthington is now considering playing both players from the start against Scunthorpe, saying: “We might have another look at Ryan Bowman and Wes Fletcher as it looked like Ryan Jarvis was running on empty at times.
“Due to the amount of work he has been doing for us, we will have to monitor him before deciding on the team.”
The defeat to Fleetwood means City have now let in ten goals during their last four matches without a win and Worthington was unpleased by the manner in which his team conceded.
Visiting pair Gareth Evans and Jamille Matt both got on the scoresheet with a goal in each half, having reacted quickest in the penalty box following Michael Ingham saves, with Worthington adding: “We set out like we did at Chesterfield to stem them and hold them and, while Fleetwood enjoyed good possession, we were restricting them to very little, until we conceded a disappointing goal. We could have dealt better with both goals.
“They were both parried by the ’keeper and their players, especially with the second one, were intent on trying to score. We have got to be just as determined.
“The second one was also disappointing because it was a needless free-kick to concede. You have got to stay on your feet and be patient rather than rash.”
Luke O’Neill was guilty after being restored to right-back when Lanre Oyebanjo was sacrificed as Worthington dispensed with his 4-1-4-1 formation at the interval.
The City manager explained: “I probably should have done it earlier in the first half but I did not want to make the change too early in case we ran out of substitutes. I thought we looked better playing 4-4-2 and I was delighted with the character and spirit of the team to keep fighting until the final whistle.
“We put their goal under a lot of pressure during the last ten or 15 minutes without really forcing their ’keeper to make a save though, so we need to pick up on that a bit.”
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