York City are calling on their loyal band of supporters to pull out all the stops for tonight's crunch FA Cup third round replay against Grimsby Town tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

A large vocal support made the trip to Blundell Park for the first game between the two sides, while 3,445 turned out for City's 1-1 draw against Torquay.

But with the glory of the FA Cup and a home draw against either Fulham or Wycombe Wanderers or at stake, the Minstermen want another huge crowd to roar them to victory.

Equally important given the club's parlous financial position will be the £50,000 they will receive for reaching the fourth round.

The working party of the Save City Committee have reissued their appeal for supporters to show passion and common sense as the fight to save the club gathers momentum.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Sophie McGill echoed the words of the police in praising the conduct of City supporters at Saturday's game with Torquay.

"The passion and support from the fans was fantastic. With the exception of a few individuals, the supporters conducted themselves in a sensible manner throughout the day and were a credit to the club and the City of York," said McGill.

The working party are now calling for more of the same for tonight's game..

McGill stressed it remained important for all true City fans to continue to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner at all times.

"The Working Party are striving to ensure the survival of York City Football Club. To that end we are keen to work with the directors of Bootham Crescent Holdings over the next few weeks and months.

"Clearly, the Save City Committee is not responsible for the actions and behaviour of individuals either at Bootham Crescent or in their private lives.

"We sympathise with the frustration City fans are experiencing at present, but we can only appeal for people to act responsibly and not to do anything which could jeopardise the likelihood of a deal being done to help ensure the survival of the club."

Young centre-half Chris Smith, who is waiting in the wings should Mike Basham fail to shake off a bang to his ankle, knows the value of the having the Bootham Crescent faithful on-side.

"When the fans really get behind - which they have done for the past couple of games - I think it has really helped us," he said.

"They have got the right to voice their opinions on what is going on and if we are playing bad then fair enough, but when they have got behind us from the off it's helped."

Boss Terry Dolan echoed the call from the former Reading youngster.

"We would love more of the same from the fans," he said. "About 1,000 on Saturday from the previous game so hopefully we can match that tonight.

"Grimsby will bring a few with them, so that will add to the atmosphere.

"You can't fault the supporters, they turned out in greater numbers on Saturday, and with the excitement that we've had in the FA Cup this season I'm sure those that do come along will be in for some entertainment."

If tonight's clash can match that of the previous rounds then City's fans will certainly get their monies worth.

The first round replay at Bootham Crescent, against Colchester United, went right to the wire, with City earning their place in the hat with a victory on penalties after a 2-2 draw, while Reading were deposed of at the first attempt.

Now with a second crack of the whip against Grimsby, following the 0-0 draw ten days ago, City are determined to finish the job off.

Smith, who has come on leaps-and-bounds since signing from Reading, is itching to play his part, but with Dolan set to stay with the same XI from Saturday he knows he could be on the bench.

The 20-year-old lost his place in the side after suffering a virus, but after getting the all clear, he has had to look on from the bench as Matt Hocking, Gary Hobson and Mike Basham have formed a solid barrier at the back.

Smith did replace Basham after 85 minutes, but as long as there was no reaction to the knock on his ankle, the former Barnet man looks set to keep his place.

"I thought we defended very well on Saturday, so I can't see a change," added Smith. "I think Mike (Basham) will be okay, I think it is just a knock."

One player who will not recover in time is City skipper Chris Brass, with the combative midfielder again ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Dolan added: "Hamstring injuries are one injury which you can't play a player with. A knock on the ankle or a bang to the knee, a player can get away with, but a muscular injury like the hamstring it is impossible.

"We don't want to make it any worse so he will have to have another few days rest."

Updated: 11:36 Tuesday, January 15, 2002