YORK City manager Nigel Worthington is looking forward to Ryan Jarvis’ recovery from injury after his team failed to score for a fourth time in the last five matches.
The Minstermen were the better side during Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two home draw against a resolute Cheltenham but, despite forcing ten corners compared to the visitors’ none and managing five attempts on target as opposed to the one mustered by their mid-table rivals – a wind-assisted punt by goalkeeper Scott Brown – had to settle for a share of the spoils in a 0-0 draw.
Jarvis last started a game on New Year’s Day when he scored the only goal in a Bootham Crescent triumph over Morecambe.
Since then, he has had to be withdrawn twice after coming on as a substitute due to knocks at Northampton and Hartlepool.
Jarvis’ ankle problem is on the mend, however, with Worthington hoping he will be fit enough to make the long journey for Saturday’s match at Plymouth.
The ex-Torquay forward has netted nine times this term and the City boss wants him to provide competition for top scorer Wes Fletcher and Ryan Bowman’s starting places.
Bowman is enduring his leanest spell in front of goal since October, having gone five matches since he last netted and, even though one of Fletcher’s hamstring muscles was tightening towards the end of Saturday’s game, Worthington chose not to hand rookie centre forward Chris Dickinson his professional debut during a tenth game as an unused substitute this season.
Fellow teenager Shaq McDonald is also still waiting for his first taste of senior football since his transfer window arrival and did not make the bench against Cheltenham.
“It would be nice to get Ryan Jarvis back,” Worthington said. “We’ve got young Dickinson there and he’s part of the group, but having that experienced option keeps everybody on their toes.
“We’re hoping Jarv will resume training during the latter part of this week and he could be back for Plymouth.
“He’s getting closer and we are working on a daily basis to see what the reaction is.
“We are hoping TY (David McGurk) will also be back in time for Saturday’s game.”
Despite missing out on victory, Worthington was pleased with his team’s performance and the manner in which they contended with the blustery conditions at Bootham Crescent, saying: “The players were very positive from the first whistle.
“I thought we dealt with playing against the wind very well in the first half.
“We passed the ball around, which we were looking to do and it was a big save by the ’keeper off John McCombe from their point of view.
“It was then a case of making sure we passed more to feet in the second half because, if the wind caught hold of the ball, there was no way you could catch it. It would have been good to come away with three points but I cannot complain about a 0-0 draw because it was a hard-fought game in which neither side wanted to give anything away.
“The biggest thing that pleased me was the application and attitude of the players. They were very bright and on the front foot.
“We got a clean sheet, which always delights me and, if we can get a good result at Plymouth now, we will be putting a little run together again.”
The point saw City move seven clear of the relegation zone from their 14th-placed position in the current League Two standings.
However, in the unlikely scenario that seven of the teams below them were to take full advantage of their games in hand, the Minstermen would drop back down to fourth-bottom.
Worthington is not overly concerned by that prospect but remains determined to achieve a position of safety sooner rather than later.
“I would rather have the points on the board than games in hand,” he reasoned. “That’s important because, when you are playing catch-up, it can catch up with you.
“We have to do our own jobs well and we have done for the most part this season. We have got 15 games left now and there is a real focus on working towards that finishing line.
“We just want to get as many points as we can and end the season in a good, healthy position. As long as we stay honest and keep doing those two nasty words – hard work – we are capable of doing that.”
Michael Coulson earned a recall to the first XI in place of on-loan winger Will Hayhurst against the Robins with Josh Carson lining up on the opposite flank.
The City manager added that there is a strong likelihood that the wide men will now be rotated until the end of the season.
Worthington said: “It was a home game so we decided to go with Michael because he has been bright. He sent a terrific ball through for Fletcher early on and, if that chance had come another ten or 15 minutes later, maybe it would have gone in the back of the net.
“I have told the wide players I will be mixing and matching them and it will be horses for courses to get the maximum out of all of them. They will be starting some games and getting brought on in others.”