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Look who’s back – it’s Clayton
YORK City boss Billy McEwan is ready to unleash Conference danger-man Clayton Donaldson on lowly Altrincham.
Donaldson has sat on the sidelines suspended for the last three weeks - securing a summer move to Hibernian in the meantime - but, while McEwan expects the 20-goal striker to receive a mixed reception from travelling fans because of the nature of his transfer, he is in line for an immediate recall.
The former Hull City striker, who turned 23 on Tuesday, has scored in all three games when he has faced Altrincham in the past, netting four times, and McEwan is expecting a rousing comeback.
McEwan said: "He was going to play for the reserves this week and it was disappointing that game was postponed but he's had a run-out in a private game at Chesterfield so he won't be too rusty and will be coming back raring to go.
"He will get some stick off the fans I imagine and rightly so but we need to get behind him between now and the end of the season and then he can do what he likes."
Donaldson could join on-loan West Brom forward Rob Elvins and Craig Farrell in a three-pronged strikeforce at Moss Lane with City new signing Richard Brodie also pushing for his debut from the bench.
The Minstermen will be looking for goals to end a four-match run without a victory and, while McEwan has warned against panic, he has also expressed the need for his team to embark on a sequence of good results.
Last season saw City suffer and enjoy extreme spells of form with a string of six defeats in seven win-less matches before Christmas followed by a 100 per cent run during six fixtures through February and the first half of March.
The KitKat Crescent club's current sequence of four games without a win is the worst this term while the team have not managed three successive victories since taking 12 points from 12 in August.
McEwan said: "After Saturday's result against Tamworth, we are not panicking because I know these same kids can produce some great football when they are focussed on their jobs.
"We know a lot of teams would swap positions with us because we have won two, drawn two and lost two of our last six games but we have dropped five points at home now and there are a lot of teams chasing us.
"If they win their games in hand they will go above us and we can't expect to keep dropping points and staying where we are. We will get caught eventually.
"It's time to stand up and be counted during the last furlong of the season because all the hard work will count for nothing if we don't kick on. If the players want a top-five place as much as I do they have got to bounce back and put a sequence of results together and go on a run.
"We won six on the trot last season and got ourselves back in the play-off frame from nowhere.
"We are seven points ahead of what we had last season but all those points we have thrown away at home can come back and bite you."
Despite defeating Altrincham 5-0, 3-0 and 1-0 during league meetings between the clubs over the last two seasons, McEwan has also stressed there is no room for complacency following the 2-0 defeat to bottom team Tamworth at KitKat Crescent.
He said: "Our record against them means nothing. The past is history and the future's a mystery.
"They are fighting for survival like Tamworth.
"They missed a penalty and lost 2-1 at Southport in their last game but it should have been 8-5 to Altrincham in terms of good chances so it won't be easy."