1 Adriano Moke’s best position IS in centre of the pitch

Knowing where best to play City’s former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate has been a conundrum for Martin Gray since his arrival at Bootham Crescent. Moke had a spell as one of the supportive attacking trio when Gray lined up 4-2-3-1 and was even used at right-wing back following the switch to a three-man defence, but his unsuitably to that role and the presence of better alternatives led to him dropping to the bench two games ago.

The 28-year-old Portuguese’s willingness to receive the ball and ability to keep possession, coupled with a capacity to set off on quick forward surges when an open field presents itself, does seem most-opportunely utilised as one of three central midfielders. He did all of the above to good effect against Chorley and, had he been working in tandem with Alex Pattison rather than replacing the injured on-loan Middlesbrough midfielder, then the Bootham Crescent faithful might have also seen the latter, caught in possession in his own half for the Chorley goal, freed from the muck-and-nettles work to focus on the attacking bursts that made him such an exciting addition during his first stint with City. Moke’s display and Simon Heslop’s return from suspension now gives Gray food for thought as he ponders the make-up of his engine room against Harrogate Town this weekend, with the added flexibility of possibly moving skipper Sean Newton to a different area of the pitch.

York Press:

2 Flynn McNaughton pressed his attacking claims more than James Gray or Raul Correia

With Jon Parkin, Louis Almond and Alex Kempster all sidelined, Raul Correia and James Gray have been thrust into the first team picture, but neither player provided convincing cases for more regular selection, which was perhaps highlighted most by the bench turning to untried 17-year-old McNaughton midway through the second period, with both playing no part in the final quarter of the contest. Correia has now managed one goal in nine City appearances – finding an open net at Telford although that did come as his deserved reward for charging down the home keeper’s clearance on that night.

The on-loan Blackpool forward’s work-rate could not really be faulted either against Chorley, but his touch was unsure and, when handed two good first-half chances to level the scores, he fluffed his lines badly. Gray, having netted for the first time in 23 games during the midweek win against Southport, did not manage a goal attempt of any description during his hour on the pitch and his contest against Chorley centre back Andy Teague was a physical mismatch, rendering him a virtual bystander.

After replacing Correia, though, the movement of second-year scholar McNaughton dragged Teague into positions he was less comfortable with, giving the teenager more space to receive the ball and opening up gaps that his team-mates could exploit. Having failed to muster a single second-half opportunity prior to the 64th-minute substitution, the Minstermen went on to create seven openings, including Connor Smith’s equaliser and, on an encouraging debut, the rookie forward looked unawed by the occasion or the pressure that is inevitable when City trail at home to National League North opposition.

Playing alongside many of Saturday’s team during reserve matches will have been beneficial in that respect for McNaughton, as will his previous exposure to Bootham Crescent and other grounds such as Hartlepool’s Victoria Park last week in second-string fixtures. His performance will have not gone unnoted by Gray, with the likes of exciting attacker Vinnie Steels also waiting in the wings.

York Press: HANDY OPPORTUNITY: York City stalwart Dan Parslow is hoping that this evening’s trip to Blyth Spartans will offer a great chance to bounce back from the disappointment of Saturday’s opening-day home defeat to Telford. Pictures: Gordon Clayton

3 Dan Parslow has risen to challenge of marshalling the back line

With only the 11th-best defensive record in the division, City’s difficulty in keeping teams off the scoresheet has been well-documented throughout the season. The recall of club stalwart Parslow at the heart of a back three, though, has had a steadying influence on the side.

Five goals shipped in four games since the former Wales under-21 international’s return could still be improved upon, but it is a considerably better ratio than the 13 let in during the seven previous matches. The Minstermen look better organised with Parslow calling the shots and he is comfortable with that responsibility, given his innate desire for the club to succeed that comes naturally for a player who has made 373 appearances for the team, placing him 11th in the all-time list.

Having been out of the side for three months, there is no rustiness about Parslow’s play now either. The two-time Conference promotion winner was comfortable prompting forward moves from the back and his brilliant block – by no means his first in the game - as Magpies sub Delial Brewster bore down on the home goal late on was a key moment in Saturday’s clash.

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4 Connor Smith deserves a third start for City

The former Hartlepool winger’s knuckles must be smarting as few players have been knocking on the manager’s door with more conviction during recent months. It is somewhat of a surprise that, with just two starts to his name this term, Smith has made the first XI fewer times than the likes of Daniel Rowe (nine starts), Raul Correia (six), Michael Rankine (five), James Gray (five), Gary Martin (four), Sean McAllister (four) and Jassem Sukar (three), given the bit-parts all of the above have played in the club’s 2017/18 campaign.

Smith can legitimately claim to have contributed more during his cameo appearances and his whole-hearted approach to the game is appreciated by manager Gray. The next challenge, if he is handed his opportunity, will be making the same impact from kick-off which, on the evidence of his only 90-minute run-out under Gray – a man-of-the-match display at Tamworth – is one he can meet.

York Press: CONTINGENCY PLAN: York City left-back David Ferguson has been placed on standby for England C's international against a League of Wales representative side later this month

5 City can capitalise on more David Ferguson crosses into the box

Raids down the left by City’s England C international were responsible for winning his team three points in March and, without such contributions, Gray’s men would now be reliant on Blyth and Chorley dropping points from their games in hand to stay in the play-off frame. With four goals during the first two months of the campaign at Darlington, much was made of left-back Ferguson’s attacking potential prior to his arrival at Bootham Crescent.

He has only netted once in 25 outings for the Minstermen, but the switch to wing-backs should complement his game more than most and, if he has the confidence and freedom to go on the offensive with greater regularity, City can continue to profit from the low centres he sent in for the hosts’ only goals against Boston and Chorley.