YORK City manager Nigel Worthington has insisted his players will need to be at their best to beat the “Manchester City of League Two” in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
A 2-2 draw at already-promoted Scunthorpe means the Minstermen will now face Fleetwood Town over two legs with the first match at Bootham Crescent on Saturday night, kick-off 7.30pm.
The away game will then take place on Friday, May 16 at Highbury, kick-off 7.45pm.
Fleetwood, who reportedly boast the division’s biggest budget, were tipped by many to secure automatic promotion this term but finished the campaign fourth and must now take on a City side unbeaten in 17 matches.
That run started with a 2-1 win at Fleetwood on February 1, while the Cod Army won 2-0 in North Yorkshire earlier in the season but Worthington insisted those games will count for little now.
He also believes the side that handles the occasion best mentally will progress to the Wembley final on Monday, May 26.
“They are two brand new games home and away and it’s all about how we deal with that,” Worthington reasoned.
“They are the Manchester City of our league with a wealthy chairman who has spent money so we will need to be on our best behaviour. That will involve preparing right mentally to handle the situation and we will be getting to work on that first thing today.
“But, if we go out and perform, we have got a good chance of getting into the final.”
Worthington also applauded his team’s “character” after goals by Ryan Brobbel and Calvin Andrew cancelled out earlier efforts from Iron pair Paddy Madden and Terry Hawkridge as the Minstermen, who kicked off 2014 third-bottom, finished the regular season in seventh place.
Commenting on his team’s comeback at Glanford Park, the City chief said: “I thought we were off the pace a bit in the first half.
“We allowed Scunthorpe to pass the ball far too easily, so we mentioned one word at half-time – character. It’s a bit easier when you are 1-0 up to keep a clean sheet and get a result as we have been doing but, when you go two down, you look for character in your team and that shone through in bundles during a magnificent second half.
“We were trying things in that first half that we don’t normally do and can’t do, so we asked the players to simplify everything and step up their game in the second half. We pushed them back, pressed and pressed and won no end of corners.
“We had a couple of very good half chances and I was delighted that we came back to draw 2-2 because the biggest thing was to keep the unbeaten run going.”
City were also cheered on by just under 1,400 fans in North Lincolnshire and a grateful Worthington added: “Our support was unbelievable.
“I can’t thank them enough. We are always delighted to see our home supporters but the people who travel the length and breadth of the country and give up their time and pay for tickets deserve great credit and are a big part of what’s going on at the club.”