STAYING calm will be crucial if York City are to beat Oxford United today, believes manager Nigel Worthington.
The Minstermen manager has stressed the importance of keeping focus, and not getting caught up in hype, as his side bid to get back into the Sky Bet League Two play-off places with a win at the Kassam Stadium.
The U's have been averaging crowds of nearly 6,000 at home this season and Worthington believes City can draw on the experience they gained at Portsmouth - where they came away with a 1-0 win in front of 16,000 spectators last month - to help them come through what is likely to be a racuous atmosphere.
With just a point separating the two teams, in seventh and eighth respectively in the table, whoever gets three points will put one foot in the play-offs with just three games left in the regular season.
"I have related to Portsmouth and playing in front of 16,000," said Worthington. "There probably won't be 16,000 at Oxford today but it is a big stage - go and play. Go and soak the atmosphere up and do what we are good at.
"Don't get distracted. We have to do what we are good at, carry that on, and hopefully we can pick up the result. If we can quiet the crowd then that is a plus but just keep your nerve, stay focused and enjoy it.
"If you ask the players they will probably say that their feet never get to leave the ground. That's the type I am. I have got too much respect for football and too much respect for other teams. You have got be at it all the while and, on the couple of occasions this year when we haven't, we have looked a very average, poor side.
"I have to be fair to the players - 98 per cent of the time they have been good as gold and it will be important to keep that over the remaining four league games of this season to try and nudge ourselves into that top seven.
"Calm is everything - it is everything on that pitch. You must keep calm, you must keep focused and remember to do what has got you where you are. If you lose discipline, there's a rash challenge and someone gets sent off, you have lost that player for the rest of the season and that's no good for you.
"We need players out there, available, and just doing their job. Hopefully, everything else will look after itself."