York City boss Nigel Worthington sets ten-game League Two target
Updated 5:58pm Thursday 13th March 2014 in Sport
YORK City manager Nigel Worthington is challenging his players to show similar form to that of last season's squad during the final ten games of the campaign.
A run of four wins, three draws and three losses saw the Minstermen stave off the threat of relegation after Worthington succeeded Gary Mills at the the Bootham Crescent helm.
Survival was eventually ensured with a final day victory at Dagenham & Redbridge back then, but Worthington now believes the Minstermen's Football League status will be preserved tomorrow if his side can win at home to Wycombe Wanderers.
He would then set his sights on the next target - accumulating the same number of points or more from this stage of the season as the club did 12 months ago.
Matching last term's efforts would see City rack up a final tally of 64 points.
Anything better might see Worthington's side gatecrash the play-offs with the former Northern Ireland boss saying: "We can get to 52 points tomorrow and I think that would secure League football for next season.
"Then, we have got to aim for the next goal. I like to set and work towards targets and, with ten games to go, we are in an almost opposite position to the one we were in last season when there was a lot of pressure and a series of must-win games.
"We coped with that pressure by being undefeated in seven of those last ten games. If we could stay unbeaten now for seven, eight, nine or ten of our remaining matches, then we will finish with a fair amount of points.
"Our momentum is good and the big thing now is to keep it going by maintaining the same good shape, discipline and work ethic."
The Minstermen go into tomorrow's game as Sky Bet League Two's form team of 2014 and having not lost any of their last seven matches.
But Worthington will not be taking fifth-bottom Wycombe lightly, adding: "They're not a bad team away from home so we will have to be at our best and on guard. That means picking up from where we have left off in the last two matches.
"We have been outstandingly competitive and have had to be against Wimbledon and Mansfield. Wycombe like to pass the ball more but work just as hard too.
"They have had some good results recently and they have impressed when we have had them watched."
Wycombe's visit also represents the first of six home matches during the Minstermen's ten-game, run-in with five against opponents currently in the bottom half of the table.
While paying no heed to teams' league positions, Worthington is happy to have more games left at Bootham Crescent even if his side have only won one of their last five home matches and enjoyed four straight wins on their travels.
He said: "You have got to look at home games as a strength and, if we are looking to achieve then you have to be happy with that run-in, so we have got to make it pay and count."
The Minstermen continue to monitor Wes Fletcher during his recovery from a groin problem and the 13-goal top scorer might need to be content with a place on the bench for a third successive match.
If on the pitch, however, he will remain on penalty-taking duty despite seeing his 12-yard effort saved after Ryan Bowman had earlier converted a first-half spot kick during Tuesday night's 1-0 triumph at Mansfield.
"Wes is still the number one penalty taker," Worthington confirmed. "It was the first penalty he has missed but we still got the three points, so we will live with that and move on.
"Credit to Ryan the other night though. He wanted to take one if there were any and he showed character and mental strength to slot it away nicely."
Along with setting his team goals for the rest of the season, the City chief is also calling on out-of-contract players to maintain their current standards if they are to earn new deals.
Of the current starting XI, Michael Coulson, Lanre Oyebanjo and Adam Reed all fall into that category with Worthington adding: "Those people who are out of contract and in and around the group are performing well and it's the right time to be doing that, so the message is simple - keep it going."
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