York City challenged to keep up "intensity" ahead of Sky Bet League Two clash with AFC Wimbledon
NIGEL Worthington is demanding that his York City side take no team lightly as they kick off a run of five matches against teams below them in the Sky Bet League Two standings.
The Minstermen visit 12th-placed AFC Wimbledon on Saturday prior to other games against bottom-five outfits Mansfield, Wycombe and Torquay, as well as a trip to fallen giants Portsmouth.
City currently sit tenth in the table, seven points adrift of the play-off places and ten clear of the relegation zone, with Worthington aware March could prove a crossroads for the Bootham Crescent club's campaign.
The Minstermen chief said: "We are reaching a big period in the season, where the intensity and pressure starts to tell on some teams at the top and the bottom. You have to cope with that in the right manner to make sure you get through it.
"If you start thinking games are going to be easier because you are playing teams below you, then you get burnt and receive a wake-up call. We have also still got Oxford, Burton and Rochdale to play too and we have got to go out with the exact same mentality in the next five games, as we do when we play those teams who are pushing for promotion or the play-offs."
Top scorer Wes Fletcher remains doubtful for Saturday's clash, having only resumed light training yesterday as he recovers from the groin strain that has sidelined him for the last two games.
"We will see how he reacts after another training session," Worthington added of the 13-goal striker's prospects of being involved.
Sander Puri will join up with City this morning for the trip to Greater London, having been used as a 65th-minute substitute by Estonia during their 2-0 international friendly win at Gibraltar on Wednesday.
The Minstermen have lost their last four meetings with Saturday's hosts, conceding 12 goals in the process, with Worthington predicting a competitive encounter at Kingsmeadow, saying: "They are rough and ready and we have got to match that and do what we do best.
"They have their way of playing, which is up and at you at a high tempo. They will be in our faces and won't take many risks on the ball."
Worthington will learn tomorrow, meanwhile, whether he has won the League Two Manager of the Month award for February.
He confessed that he will not be upset if he is overlooked for the prize and, while joking that he should not be beaten to it by former Sheffield Wednesday team-mate John Sheridan with City having overcome his Plymouth team 4-0 during the qualifying period, he praised the efforts of the other two candidates on the shortlist.
On their credentials and his own recognition, Worthington said: "David Flitcroft has gone in at Bury and done a steady job. Chris Wilder is finding his feet at Northampton but they have had a couple of very good results and he will be hoping to maintain that.
"It's nice for me to be nominated as well, but it's down to everybody right through the football club really and probably for the players more than anybody else. They are the ones who are putting in the effort and commitment.
"If I get the manager of the month award then great, but I've got no issues if I don't. We will just focus on winning the next game."
Worthington did stress, however, that Player of the Month contender Keith Lowe would be a worthy recipient of that award, reasoning: "Keith has produced a high level of consistency since he came to the football club and is enjoying himself, playing every week in his number one position.
"He's a big player for us, not only from a playing point of view but for his experience and the type of individual he is."
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