JACKIE McNamara sang the praises of “fox-in-the-box” Bradley Fewster after the on-loan Middlesbrough striker’s brace helped lift York City out of the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone.

The 20-year-old forward grabbed a goal in each half as City secured a 2-0 home win over Exeter at Bootham Crescent.

Fewster’s double took his tally to four goals in nine outings for the Minstermen with manager McNamara believing the England youth international has the potential to make a name for himself in the game.

The City chief said: “He was sharp and not only with his finishing, but his energy and desire too. He was still chasing things in stoppage time and his work-rate was fantastic.

“Our tannoy announcer called him a fox-in-the-box and that’s exactly what he is. He knows how to score goals and, hopefully, he’ll keep doing that for us this season.

“He’s getting experience in terms of the physical side of the game and you can see he’s getting stronger and fitter. It’s great for us that we’ve got him and he has the ability to be whatever he wants because he has a great knack for scoring goals.

“That can be the difference between you winning games or not. It was against Exeter and he scores half-chances that others might not take because he knows how to put the ball in the net.”

McNamara also heralded a first league clean sheet since the start of September, ending the club’s longest run without a shut-out since 1967.

“I was absolutely delighted with the clean sheet” the ex-Dundee United boss admitted. “That was the most pleasing thing about the night, because it’s been so long.

“It will give Scott (Flinders) and the defence a lot of confidence although we did have a few scares along the way when they hit the crossbar and headed another one over. We rode our luck a little, but it was overdue because we should have had a clean sheet on Saturday, but for the own goal.”

The City manager went on to recognise that his team were not at their best, adding: “It was more of a hard-working performance. They caused us problems by overloading the midfield and are a good side, but we got all three points even though we know we can do better.”

Striker Jake Hyde, meanwhile, was given a surprise first start since August after recovering from his groin problems and lasted 57 minutes before making way for Luke Summerfield as McNamara changed tactics.

“We brought Luke Summerfield on to solidify things and it worked,” the former Celtic captain explained. “Jake was pretty tired when he came off and it was good to get him some game time because it’s important we have a lot of options with all the games coming up.”

After leapfrogging Yeovil to climb out of the bottom two, meanwhile, McNamara is looking to overhaul more clubs in coming weeks.

He said: “It all looks a bit healthier, but I still want to catch the teams above us like Hartlepool and Stevenage now.”

McNamara went on to hail left-back Femi Ilesanmi for his displays in recent weeks, suggesting: “I think Femi is our most-improved player.

“He’s getting to the byline now and seeing things and using his right foot as well, which he might not have done in the past.”