UNDERFIRE York City boss Martin Gray has admitted last weekend was his hardest in football management.

Fans called for the former Darlington manager’s dismissal during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at ten-man strugglers Gainsborough with chants of “Gray Out” and “Martin Gray, Get Out of Our Club.”

The City chief subsequently sought solace from friends in the game the following day and remains determined to bring success at Bootham Crescent.

“It was the hardest weekend I’ve had in more than six years of management and I never want to experience that again,” Gray confessed ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to FC United of Manchester. “I spent almost all of Sunday on the phone speaking to lots of people in the game, who have been through similar and far worse circumstances and it’s great to have the support of people who believe in what you’re doing.

“I had a win ratio of 75 per cent at my previous club. It’s something like 45 per cent here now and I’ve got to get it back up, because having a winning mentality is what the game is all about.

“Football’s not about how many good passes you can make, it’s about having the mentality to be a successful player.”

Gray admitted that the players are struggling psychologically at the moment.

Fuming City supporters also directed shouts of “You’re Not Fit to Wear the Shirt” and “What a Load of Rubbish” in their direction at Northolme, but Gray reasoned that such scenes can only be avoided if the team respects the club’s badge in the correct manner, whilst pointing out that there was still a chance of making the National League North play-offs by taking maximum points from the final three fixtures.

“We’ve got to give the fans something to shout about,” Gray pointed out. “They’ve had frustration and disappointment for a couple of years and I get that, so it’s all about showing determination and playing for the badge because, if you do, people will stick by you.

“Players are fragile mentally. They’re not what they were like ten or 20 years ago, so we’ve got to pick them up, believe in what we do and go to FC United and win the game, because it’s all about the future now.

“We have a three-game season in front of us and we are where we are, so we’ve got to make sure we maximise this opportunity of three games. If we do that, we will finish the season on a real, real positive and will still have a chance of finishing in the play-offs.”

Alex Kempster is expected to recover from the injury that saw him replaced in Lincolnshire, but on-loan Middlesbrough midfielder Alex Pattison remains doubtful.