JOHN McCOMBE believes York City will benefit from their first full week on the training ground under new manager Russ Wilcox.

The 29-year-old defender has been impressed by the team's progress since Wilcox took the managerial reins, following Nigel Worthington's resignation, but feels the lack of a midweek fixture ahead of Saturday's trip to Cheltenham will give the players more opportunity to familiarise themselves with the ex-Scunthorpe chief's methods.

McCombe hails from the same West Yorkshire village - South Elmsall - as Wilcox, who was also assistant manager at Glanford Park when the City centre back's elder brother Jamie was on the Iron's books.

But he has enjoyed getting to know Wilcox in a working capacity and reckons the Minstermen will travel to Gloucestershire this weekend with a greater understanding of their new boss' tactical mindset.

He said: "The new gaffer has a positive outlook on the team at the moment. He has implemented some new ideas and that's been seen in how we played at Morecambe and for a half against Mansfield.

"We've now got a week without a midweek match and even though the new gaffer has been here for almost two weeks, we've not had too much time on the training ground. There are a few things that we have worked on that have already worked in games, so we will be able to work on a lot more things this week and go to Cheltenham with a positive mind to get a win there.

"I think we have improved a bit recently. We've changed the way we play a little and are trying to get the ball down and pass it more.

"We did that for 90 minutes at Morecambe and we did it well for 45 against Mansfield and, if we can play like we did during that game-and-a-half, then going forward we should pick up more wins."

McCombe agreed with Wilcox's assessment of Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Mansfield, meanwhile, admitting that the team's second-half display fell short of the standards set in the first.

He added: "We deserved our lead at half-time and could have got two or three more goals. In the second half, against the wind, we didn't get hold of it and pass it.

"We just kept giving it back to them and they are quite a direct team, so they got the ball into our box enough to get a goal back."

Saturday's game meant the Minstermen have now gone ten matches without a victory at Bootham Crescent - the second-longest sequence in the club's history - but McCombe insisted the run has not made him feel more anxious in front of the club's fans.

"We haven't been winning games and have given a few leads away, so that can lead to a little bit of nervousness but I'm not too sure that was the case," he argued. "I just think we weren't brave enough on the ball in the the second half.

"We showed that when we did get it down and pass it, we cut them open and we even did that a couple of times in the second half when Diego (De Girolamo) got in and Coulo (Michael Coulson) curled one just wide. We had chances but we've got to take the positives out of the game.

"Apart from when they scored, I thought we defended well when the balls were coming into our box."

The ex-Port Vale defender was impressed by debutant goalkeeper Alex Cisak's contribution following his loan move from Burnley, saying: "He had only come in the day before and it was a tough game for his debut but he came in and commanded the box very well.

"He dealt with most things and, hopefully, the game will be something for him to build on."

With the team having thrown away 11 points from winning positions this season and only lost five matches - the same number as third-placed Burton - McCombe also remains convinced City can climb much higher in the Sky B.

"Our position in the league isn't great but, looking around the team and how we have performed this season, I don't think we are a side that should be that low down," he reasoned. "I don't know how other people looking on feel but all the games have been tight and we just need to turn a few of the draws into wins.

"We've let ourselves down a bit on that front but, even though we've not performed to our full capabilities, we should still have a better points return. We should have been top of the league with six points after the first two games and we've let a few games slip, like at Newport when we were 1-0 up at half-time.

"That's disappointing but there's nothing we can do about those games now and we've just got to look forward."

McCombe went on to express his debt of gratitude to Worthington after the ex-City chief rescued him from the wilderness at Mansfield last January and made him a first-team regular at Bootham Crescent.

"I was sad to see Nigel Worthington go," McCombe confessed. "He was the manager that brought me here and resurrected my career when I was struggling at Mansfield, so I owe a lot to him."

When asked who was the best centre-back to come out of South Elmsall between himself, his brother and new manager, McCombe also answered with modesty and diplomacy, laughing: "That would probably be the gaffer. He played more games than my brother has done, but I'm definitely last behind them."