THERE seems more chance of centre-back Hamza Bencherif being used a makeshift striker again than on-loan flop Raul Corriea has of earning a recall to the York City starting line-up.

Bencherif was thrown up front for the last half-hour of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at ten-man Gainsborough Trinity, where recognised centre-forward James Gray remained on the bench in anticipation of the negative reaction that would have greeted his introduction from angry away fans unimpressed with his return of one goal in 18 matches for the Minstermen.

Despite Jon Parkin and Louis Almond still being on the sidelines and fitness doubts over Alex Kempster that saw him substituted early in the second half, Correia failed to even make the dugout at Northolme for a second successive game, having disappointed against an under-18 Grimsby Town reserves team in between.

The 24-year-old Blackpool forward has also only netted once in ten City outings and forthright boss Martin Gray admitted: “He’s not done well enough.

“There’s no point hiding behind facts because, if he had, he would be in the 16 and you can’t always protect players – you have to be honest.”

On the experiment of using Bencherif, who is yet to score in more than 60 matches for the club, in the final third of the pitch, Gray reasoned: “He’s a presence and there aren’t many headers he doesn’t win in our box.

“It’s not what you want to be doing every week, but we have a few out injured so you do what you have to do and, if it pays off, everyone thinks it’s a good decision.”

Ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to FC United of Manchester, meanwhile, Gray insisted that his team would face a similar test of character to that which they could not meet during the back-to-back 1-0 losses at Gainsborough and Nuneaton.

“They were in great form over Christmas when they took four points off Salford, so they can’t be under-estimated,” said of the next hosts. “We’ve watched them twice in the last few weeks and they have some good attacking players, so the game will be no different to the previous two if we don’t treat them with respect and go about things in the right manner.”