YORK City manager Nigel Worthington will not switch to zonal defending as a remedy for his team’s set-pieces problems.

The Minstermen have conceded from free-kicks in six of their last nine matches and also shipped goals from corners in three of their last five encounters.

But, ahead of tonight’s test at a Morecambe team renowned for their height, Worthington does not feel it is realistic to introduce a new way of defending dead-ball deliveries four months into the League Two campaign.

The City boss said: “Zonal defending is something I have done as a player myself, but it’s not something you can just walk into midway through a season. It takes a lot of work on the training ground over many, many weeks.

“If we tried to bring it in now, it would just lead to more confusion. I think it is best to simplify the situation for everybody and that means all of our headers of the ball having a number or name of who they are picking up.”

Ryan Jarvis for the suspended Ryan Bowman will be the only change to the side that finished Saturday’s unlucky 2-1 defeat at Southend with David McGurk continuing at centre-back after he was brought on for an injured Dan Parslow during the early stages of the Roots Hall clash.

Skipper Parslow has suffered some form of lateral knee ligament damage but the extent of his injury will be clearer following a scan on Thursday. City are also awaiting results of a second scan to Chris Smith’s ankle injury, while Michael Ingham’s hip flexor problem will rule him out tonight but might have cleared in time for Saturday’s home match against Rochdale.

Worthington does not feel the change in attack should reduce his team’s attacking threat with Jarvis still the club’s top marksman on eight goals.

The City boss added: “We know we have three individuals who can score goals and, while Bowey is out, hopefully the other two can stay fit and carry on doing what they have been. Bowey and Fletch have done well together after I left Jarv out.

“I felt he needed a little rest having put such a shift in for us over the course of three or four games but, hopefully, he will be ready to go again now.”

The injuries to Parslow and Smith, coupled with Tom Allan going out to Harrogate Town on a month’s loan, mean McGurk and Keith Lowe are now the only senior centre-backs available to Worthington.

On the current lack of cover in that position, the City chief said: “You try to do things with the right intentions then something happens. But it will be good for Tom going out on loan and, hopefully, Dave McGurk and Keith Lowe can stay fit over the course of the coming weeks and, if we need to change something in that time, we will just have to get on with it.”

Unusually, the Minstermen made the 90-mile journey to Morecambe yesterday with Worthington reasoning that an overnight stay represents an important element of his team’s preparation for a midweek away match.

“I think it’s the right thing to do because I don’t want the players having a long day of meeting up and travelling on the day of the match,” he explained.

“Instead, they will be fully rested so they can hopefully get their limbs going at 7.45pm. Morecambe have big, strong players and will look to get the ball forward pretty sharpish so we need to be resilient and break like we did on four or five occasions at Southend but put the ball in the net instead of hitting the post or the ’keeper.”

City are also waiting to hear whether Chris Kettings will reconsider his decision to return to parent club Blackpool after fellow loan signing Nick Pope was preferred in goal at Southend.

“He is tied to us until January 5 and, if Blackpool want him to come back, he’s welcome to do so because he’s a good lad and a good professional,” Worthington said.

The former Northern Ireland manager, meanwhile, has no plans to bring forward a League fixture to fill his team’s blank weekend on December 7.

Like the Minstermen, proposed March 25 midweek visitors Torquay are already out of the FA Cup, whose second-round games will be played that day, but it is unlikely the game will be moved to a week on Saturday.

He said: “We will have had a couple of intense weeks after Saturday and we have got games coming up thick and fast as well, so it will be good for the players to have a little rest to get ready for that.”