DEFENDER Stuart Wise did his chances of earning a new York City contract no harm with a goalscoring man-of-the-match display against Orient on Saturday.

Brass had called on the remaining out-of-contract senior players who survived last week's first cull to prove to him that they are worth keeping and the City boss said: "Stuart took the bait and gave a good response. We need people who are proud to wear the shirt and relegation has hurt him."

But goalkeeper Chris Porter may have taken a backward step in his ambitions to be next season's number one choice after a shaky display in which he was responsible for the visitors' winning goal.

Brass said: "He pulled off a world-class save but made a mistake for the second goal. He will have to learn from it and needs to stamp his authority as a number one to make sure I don't change my decision to have him.

"He had a harsh time at the start of the second half but that's character building and he steadied himself. The fans will back you here if you relax yourself and do things right."

Brass added that had City stayed in the Third Division both Mark Ovendale and Richard Cooper would have almost certainly not been released by the club.

But the Minstermen boss felt that cover was available for both players and that options for other positions in the team were weaker.

He said: "Decisions over Richard and Mark had to be made in order to rejig finances and use them elsewhere but they were the hardest decisions to make."

Updated: 10:59 Monday, May 03, 2004