ADRIANO Moke reckons York City can summon up the spirit of 2012 to book a Wembley return this weekend.
The 27-year-old midfielder was on the Bootham Crescent books when City took a slender goal advantage to Luton’s hostile Kenilworth Road ground in the FA Trophy semi-finals five years ago.
A 1-1 draw, secured by Matty Blair’s late header, subsequently sent the visitors through to the final and, ahead of Saturday’s trip to a similarly-partisan Sincil Bank, Moke believes the Minstermen’s current squad have the same belief that they can complete the job.
While the same result would be sufficient to see off Lincoln, though, the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate has insisted the team will be targeting another victory in the second leg.
He said: “Tuesday night felt good but we can’t get carried away. It was only the first half and we’ve got to try and finish it off now.
“We handled this situation well last time (in 2012) and, like then, we’ve got a really good team spirit. I think the atmosphere at Lincoln will inspire a few players because it’s always nice when a crowd gets behind you, but we’ll stay focussed on what we need to do and we’ll go there with a positive mindset, thinking we are going to win it.
“We’re not going there for a draw. We don’t fear anybody and we never give up.
“If teams are beating us 1-0, we keep going and that’s what I like about this team. We know what Lincoln are all about and it also gives us a boost that we went there in the league last month and got a result.”
Moke wasn’t in the match-day squad at Kenilworth Road the last time City were in this position with the battle for a first-team shirt intense as the club chased a Trophy-promotion double.
Having returned to the club in November, despite struggles in the league, he has also found himself dropped to the bench four times this term, as well as losing his place on two other occasions due to suspension and injury.
But, after being hailed from the bench in Tuesday’s first leg before his 69th-minute shot deflected off Aidan Connolly for City’s second goal, Moke is hoping he has done enough to earn another recall to the first XI.
“I’ve got to improve on one or two things but I’ve been happy with all of my performances since coming back here,” he reasoned. “I want to be in the starting line-up but, if I haven’t been, I’ve just got my head down and kept working hard.
“Football is about being competitive and getting in this team is a test for everyone, not just myself, because we’ve got some really good players that I have to compete with.”
Moke’s sprint upfield to tilt Tuesday’s game in City’s favour was reminiscent of his first spell with City when he was a tearaway winger, rather than the more-considered, midfield anchorman he has since matured into, but the one-time Nottingham Forest apprentice does not want to completely cast aside elements of his old game, explaining: “I had been telling Newts (Sean Newton) as soon as he got the ball to put it down that left side and I would get on to it.
“Then, when Kyle (Letheren) caught it, I was on my own and it was a bit like when I was here before and did a lot of running and I think I’ve got to add that running back into my game a bit more.”
Moke was a 90th-minute replacement in City’s Trophy final victory over Newport five years ago and an unused substitute during the following weekend’s return to Wembley for the play-off triumph over Luton.
Nevertheless, he has been sharing his memories with those of his team-mates who haven’t stepped on to the hallowed turf
“Certain players have never got to Wembley and it would be good for them,” Moke pointed out. “I was talking to Aidan after the game and telling him how it’s such a fantastic trip.”
The ex-Boreham Wood midfielder went on to express how City’s supporters spurred the team on to success on Tuesday night and can play a major part again this weekend at Sincil Bank.
He explained: “The fans helped us and I think it was the best night we’ve had at the ground during my second spell. I understand certain fans not being happy with how things have gone on this season, but there’s no point being negative all the time.
“I see my team-mates work hard every day and it’s always important to have the fans behind us. They’re like the 12th man and we’ve just got to keep being positive.”