Season preview: Russell Pennbids to banish memories of play-off near-misses

York City’s Russell Penn, front, shields the ball from Hull City’s Yannick Sagbo in their friendly

York City’s Russell Penn, front, shields the ball from Hull City’s Yannick Sagbo in their friendly

First published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

SKIPPER Russell Penn is relishing the challenge facing York City as he bids to banish memories of three successive play-off near-misses.

The midfielder was a beaten finalist in 2012 with Cheltenham and then experienced back-to-back elimination at the semi-final stage with the Robins and City.

The Bootham Crescent club’s magnificent surge into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs last season was curtailed by eventual Wembley winners Fleetwood Town.

However, 28-year-old Penn’s disappointment at a hat-trick of missed promotion opportunities is tempered by the Minstermen’s achievements in 2014, with no side collecting more League Two points from New Year’s Day onwards.

Rather than being sick to the teeth of the top-seven shoot-out, Penn also remains philosophical about achieving success through the play-off route.

“It would be great to go straight up, of course, but we will see what the season brings,” he reasoned. “It will be another tough year.

“There are some big teams that have come up from the Conference and some big teams that have come down. Everyone’s in the same boat really - we will all want to be in that top three or, if not, the play-offs. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’ve had a great six months here.

“We probably over-achieved but I can’t wait to get a good pre-season and enjoy my football again next season.

“When you get to the play-offs, you want to win them, but we are still looking to the new season having come off the back of a great one.

“When you think of what we achieved over the season - the club only came up from the Conference two years ago and we were trying to consolidate at Christmas time - pushing on was a great team effort and showed how far we can take this club.”

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