Wing berth dilemma for York City boss Nigel Worthington
NIGEL Worthington has one selection dilemma ahead of York City's crucial home game against Newport with Adam Reed and Will Hayhurst contesting the team's left-wing berth.
On-loan Preston attacker Hayhurst has started the Minstermen's last 13 games but was replaced by Reed at half-time during Saturday's 1-0 home victory over Bury.
Reed, himself, had been relegated to the bench for the Shakers test despite kicking off the previous 15 matches and, with a remarkable record of just one defeat in 23 outings for City, could earn a swift first XI recall on the flank tomorrow rather than in his more familiar central-midfield role.
Ex-Gillingham and Wycombe promotion winner Lewis Montrose is expected to continue in City's engine room alongside skipper Russell Penn, with Worthington saying: "It will be between Adam and Will for a starting place. That's in the think tank at the moment and we will choose whoever is the right player for the occasion."
The Minstermen will secure a play-off place if they can beat Newport, avoiding the potential need to get a result at table-topping Scunthorpe on the final Saturday of the season.
But Worthington is demanding that his team approach the game no differently to any of their last 15 unbeaten contests.
"We have just got to keep doing what we have been doing," he reasoned. "The game will last 90 to 95 minutes.
"If we can go out and win it after five minutes, like the Bury game, then fantastic but, whilst you try and do that, you must keep the back door shut at all times. Newport are big, strong and professional and will compete for every single ball, so it will come down to our heads being right.
"We need to enjoy the situation and get over the line tomorrow. That's the objective.
"It's in our own hands now so we have got to try and make it happen. That means no individual deviating from the game plan, otherwise we will be asking for trouble.
"Every team is dangerous. Oxford and Bury were and Newport started the season off on a fantastic run. They have tailed off a bit recently after losing a lot of games due to the weather."
Should Oxford fail to win at home to an Accrington side still not clear of relegation trouble tomorrow, then the Minstermen will be guaranteed a top-seven spot regardless of proceedings at Bootham Crescent but Worthington insisted that he will not be seeking updates on the action at the Kassam Stadium during his own team's match, adding: "I'm not interested in the Oxford scoreline. It's all about what we do.
"If we do our jobs well, we will be fine. If we don't, I believe we will be going into the last game with everything in the air still."
Following City's victory over Bury, Newport are now the only side who can complete a league double over Worthington's men in 2013/14.
The Welshmen are also responsible for the Minstermen's heaviest league defeat of the campaign - a 3-0 reverse in October.
Since then, however, eight of the 16 visiting players on duty - Luke O'Neill, Jamal Fyfield, Elliott Whitehouse, Ashley Chambers, Richard Cresswell, Craig Clay, Chris Smith and Chris Kettings - are no longer on the Bootham Crescent books and the recently-recalled Montrose is expected to be the only player to start both of this season's games against the Exiles
The Rodney Parade clash ultimately represented Fyfield's last league start for the club and Chambers' penultimate appearance in a City first XI with Worthington insistent that his side are now a more robust proposition, saying: "They were stronger than us at their place. "Forgetting the scoreline, we were second best on the day, so we have got to try and change that. We are a bigger and more powerful side than we were - certainly in that game - and showing that will be important tomorrow."
Despite only being 90 minutes away from booking a play-off place, Worthington also reminded his players that their minds must only be fixed on tomorrow's game.
"There is nothing to get excited about.," he argued. "The club has come a long way in the last 12 months and a lot of hard work has been put in by everybody to make that happen.
"But, if you want to be reasonably successful, you have to stay focussed and not be distracted because we haven't achieved anything yet. We have got a super group of players, though, who work very hard and I demand that because it's so important.
"The effort and commitment over the course of the season has been brilliant other than one or two blips but they are still fresh in my mind and we can't afford any more now. Everybody needs to stand up and perform to their maximum as a team."
Worthington added that he hopes City can eclipse Easter Monday's biggest attendance of the season when 5,225 witnessed the 1-0 victory over Bury.
"The crowd have a huge part to play," he explained. "To get a thousand extra against Bury completely changed the atmosphere and, if we can get even more tomorrow, it will help will the lads over the line."
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