STRIKING partnerships might be a dying breed in football, but Amari Morgan-Smith is relishing playing alongside Jon Parkin in an orthodox front two.

With former York City boss Gary Mills preferring the fashionable 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 formations, centre-forward Morgan-Smith has spent much of the time since his January arrival in North Yorkshire operating on the flanks while veteran talisman Parkin fulfilled lone-striker duties.

New Minstermen chief Martin Gray has preferred to line up 4-4-2, though, in the past and switched to the system for last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Leamington.

Morgan-Smith caused problems in the Midlands with his direct running at the heart of the home defence and, on his switch from the touchline, the ex-Luton and Cheltenham forward admitted: “I do enjoy it in a two.

“I’ve played like that many times when I was younger and probably prefer it. I back myself against any defender in this league and will continue to do so.

“Playing with somebody like Parky up there is fantastic too. He’s got that knack of being in the right place at the right time and, maybe, I need to learn that a bit off him.

“He’s also a great person to play off, because centre-halves focus more on him, as they know he’s a handful so, maybe, I can get in off his flick-ons and we’re working on that.”

Morgan-Smith is one of three City ever-presents this term – the others are skipper Sean Newton and centre-back stalwart Dan Parslow – but he has only netted three times.

Admitting he needs to improve on that goal ratio, Morgan-Smith insisted, though, that he will always prioritise team-work over personal plaudits.

“Strikers are there to score goals but, first and foremost, I’ll work hard for the team,” he declared. “I’ll continue to do that and all that matters is the team are scoring goals.

“I won’t worry about not getting goals but, hopefully, some will drop to me as well if I keep running, rolling up my sleeves and giving 100 per cent. I like to bring people into play but, maybe, I have to be a bit greedier as well.”

Morgan-Smith went on to reveal that he is enjoying Gray’s emphasis on players thinking about their game more.

“We’ve had a little change, but that’s a good thing,” he said of the former Darlington boss’ appointment.

“I’m a big believer in using your brain day in, day out and we’re doing that.

“We’ve got to continue being switched on and using our heads in different formats every day.”

Having already gone to Salford and won under previous manager Mills last month in the FA Cup, Morgan-Smith also reckons that result will provide a psychological boost ahead of this match, whose importance is not lost on the Wolverhampton-born 28-year-old.

Second-placed Salford lie seven points and four places ahead of their opponents in the National League North table with a game in hand, but Morgan-Smith argued: “We’ve been there and beaten them and it was a good win where we did well, so that will be a good thing to have in the back of our minds.

“That can only be a positive that we can take into this game to come away with another win. We know how big the game is.

“We’re playing a team that’s up there and it feels like a six-pointer, so we’ve got to go and take the game to them and not be scared of them at any point.

“In fact, I think they’ll be more scared of us.”

Morgan-Smith appreciates, though, that City cannot repeat the same mistakes made at Leamington last weekend when a dominant 2-0 lead was surrendered in the last five minutes.

“It should have been 4-0 or 5-0 in the first half and we were cruising, but we’ve got to learn from that and make sure we shut up shop in the last ten minutes of a game,” he explained.

“Teams at this level always try to play for set-pieces and throw-ins, so we’ve got to make sure we don’t give them away in our defensive area and, if we do, then we deal with them properly.”