NIGEL Worthington is delighted with the “difficult” pre-season schedule he has set his York City players.

The Minstermen will play host to FA Cup finalists and Europa League qualifiers Hull City as part of an anticipated six-game programme.

Championship outfits Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest will also visit Bootham Crescent with all three clubs expected to field full-strength sides.

Following their opening friendly against the Owls, City will also leave North Yorkshire for a tour in Scotland, including matches against Championship club Raith and recently-crowned Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone.

Both clubs will be advanced in their pre-season preparation compared to Worthington’s men, with the season north of the border kicking off two weeks before that of their English counterparts.

Scottish Challenge Cup ties will be played on Saturday, July 26 and League Cup games on Saturday, August 2 a week before the league campaigns kick off in both countries.

On the challenge ahead for his team in July, Worthington said: “I like to get hard games for the players and attractive fixtures for the supporters because they deserve that. The games will be a good test for us and I prefer difficult matches rather than ones where players are just going through the motions.

“The Scottish sides might have played two more games than us at that point. We know, by going there, we will also be getting all the rough and readiness of British football ready for the new season.

“It will be good for the group of players to live and work closely together for that week too.”

The City chief also hopes the Scottish fixtures can prove a nice break for the club’s fans.

He added: “It never ceases to amaze me what York supporters are prepared to do to follow their club.”

City pre-season: Sat, July 12 – Sheffield Wednesday (H) 3pm; Tues, July 15 – Raith Rovers (A) 7.45pm; Sat, July 19 – St Johnstone (A) 3pm; Wed, July 23 - Hull City (H) 7.30pm; Wed, July 30 – Nottingham Forest (H) 7.30pm; Sat, Aug 2 - TBC 3pm.