YORK City sporting director Dave Penney does not believe manager Martin Gray should lose his job if the club fail to make the play-offs.

Gray took over from Gary Mills at the end of September, having left Darlington, where he won three promotions in five seasons before securing a play-off spot in National League North last term.

The Minstermen currently occupy this season’s final play-off position, but eighth-placed Chorley are two points behind with two games in hand, placing immense importance on the Bootham Crescent club’s final four fixtures.

But, with City having made five managerial appointments – Gray, Mills, Jackie McNamara, Russ Wilcox and Nigel Worthington – in as many years, Penney has argued that the club need to seek some form of stability at the helm and, when asked whether missing out on a top-seven place would have an impact on Gray’s future this summer, the former Doncaster boss said: “I wouldn’t have thought so.

“I believe he has a contract until the end of next season and I don’t see anything changing from that. From my personal view, we are trying to build as a club and there has been too much chopping and changing management wise here over the last few years.

“The last two seasons has seen four different groups of players and cost the chairman fortunes to back the managers. I’d like to think we’d have some continuity now.

“Martin’s a hard worker, who has a history of putting together winning teams and getting promotion so, in my opinion, we should stick with him.”

Any decision on Gray’s continued employment, of course, might not be the current board’s call after former chairman Jason McGill’s decision to put the club up for sale, whilst inviting potential buyers to declare their interest before an April 30 deadline.

Penney added that the club would be making no comment on any discussions taking place on that front until after the end of the month, reasoning: “We can’t really comment on that, because it’s commercially sensitive.

“If we only had one party interested that could drive the value of the club down and if we had 101 interested that would drive it up.”

He insisted, though, that off-field uncertainty should not be affecting on-pitch performances.

“I’d like to think that’s not the case,” he argued. “The budget is in place until the end of the season, so people getting paid is not an issue and nobody needs to worry about that.

“People who are out of contract also need to get their finger out – for the want of a better phrase – if they want to be here next season.”

City travel to a second-bottom Gainsborough Trinity team desperate for points in their fight against relegation on Saturday, with Penney hoping fit-again pair Alex Kempster and Simon Heslop can help lift the team following Tuesday night’s poor 1-0 defeat at Nuneaton.

“We have to keep looking for different answers and have been talking about different scenarios,” Penney pointed out. “We will be doing something different (at Gainsborough) and young Alex Kempster is back in training.

“He has that bit of physical presence that we’ve missed up top and is a good player as well. We need the ball to stick up there and give us something to build on.

“It’s important we get something up that end of the pitch to help the rest of the team. Simon Heslop is also back in training, so it would be good if we can get two bodies back to give us a bit of freshness after Tuesday night.”

Jon Parkin remains absent after knee surgery and Louis Almond is still sidelined by hamstring trouble, but there is a small chance Alex Pattison could be available, having missed the last two matches with an ankle injury.

The Minstermen visit Gainsborough having taken just one point from a possible 15 on the road.

With three of the club’s remaining four fixtures taking the team on their travels and any play-off matches most certain to take place away from home too, Penney also appreciates the team need to quickly find a method of winning in less familiar surroundings.

“Saturday is a massive game and, hopefully, it can kick start a run of results away from home,” he declared. “We’ve got it in us, as it’s not so long ago that we won 5-3 at Telford and, while teams do raise they games against us because it’s invariably one of their biggest crowds of the season, we have to deal with that.”