ATTACKING talisman Jon Parkin believes there are several candidates ready to pick up the York City goalscoring mantle if needed.

The Minstermen play host to Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, having enjoyed their biggest win of the season at the West Yorkshire play-off hopefuls with a 5-0 triumph back in August, when Parkin was sidelined by injury.

Amari Morgan-Smith (two), Dan Parslow, Sean Newton and an own goal were on the scoresheet that day.

But Parkin has since taken his season’s tally to 24, with skipper Newton his nearest rival in City’s scoring charts on a distant five.

Manager Martin Gray and sporting director Dave Penney have both expressed their concern regarding the team’s over-reliance on Parkin to hit the target, but the 36-year-old veteran reckons others within the squad have the ability to share the burden.

“The chances seem to be dropping my way at the minute, which is good for me, but there are goals in the team, even if I’m not playing,” Parkin insisted. “I don’t think that’s a problem.

“Morgs can get goals and Tippy (James Gray) just needs that first one. He had the chance at Darlington on Saturday and, if he’d already got three or four, he’d have probably taken a touch and just slotted it in.

“But, as a striker, confidence can get to you and he just needs one to hit him and go in really. Newts also scored at the weekend and has got a few this season and there are more people who can chip in as well.”

City will certainly need to look for firepower elsewhere in three weeks’ time when Gray’s team travel to Tamworth, where the hosts now play on the same type of synthetic surface that meant Parkin did not feature during the 2-0 September defeat at Harrogate.

“I’ll be no good on the 3G pitch, because my knees would keep me out for two weeks if I did play on it so, hopefully, somebody else can play then and get us a result,” the former Hull and Stoke striker explained.

Having also looked on from the sidelines during this term’s first meeting with Park Avenue, Parkin went on to confess that he did not expect this weekend’s visitors to be challenging for a play-off place.

“We went there and beat them 5-0 near the start of the season, but they have kicked on since then,” he added. “It’s a massive game, because they are just above us in the league and that surprises me, because I sat and watched them that day and thought they would struggle, but they’ve sorted themselves out since then, so must be doing something right.

“We also played really well there and maybe they were trying to get to grips with new players.”

With a third straight victory secured despite trailing at the break against Darlington, Parkin now hopes to extend that winning sequence as City entertain fellow play-off hopefuls Bradford and Spennymoor on consecutive weekends, either side of Tuesday’s rearranged trip to Telford.

Reflecting on the derby triumph at Darlington and looking forward to the schedule ahead, the Barnsley-born behemoth said: “I don’t think my goal was offside on Saturday and that would have put us 1-0 up.

“It’s a different game then, so we were disappointed to be 1-0 down instead at half-time. But Newts’ goal gave everybody a lift and we kicked on from there.

“Confidence comes with winning games and we’ve won three in a row now, so we’re looking to make it four. We’ve got three games in a week and, whilst it’s easier said than done, if we get nine points that would get us into the play-offs and stay in them to see how far that takes us.”

Parkin added, meanwhile, that it particularly pleases him that City’s improvement in results has coincided with a more attractive brand of football.

“We’re trying to pass the ball a bit more and, while some pitches aren’t conducive to that and it’s tough when the surface is as boggy as it was at Darlington, we want to do the right things and we’re starting to reap the rewards in terms of results,” he reasoned.

With Bradford providing more derby opposition, Parkin is hoping the Minstermen faithful can play their part too, as the team bid for a fourth home win from six contests, saying: “The fans keep turning out in numbers.

“They were on at us at half-time, but we’re trying our best. I don’t think there have been any games where we haven’t worked as hard as we can and that’s all supporters ask for, even if sometimes we haven’t been good enough.

“They need to stick with us, because we want teams to fear playing us at Bootham Crescent.”