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York City manager Nigel Worthington remains positive

15 May 2014

By Tony Leighton

When a team's long unbeaten run comes to an end, managers almost by default declare that the most important thing is how their players bounce back. But York City boss Nigel Worthington has found a new twist on that old adage.

The Minstermen had not lost in 17 games before going down 1-0 at home to Fleetwood Town in the first leg of their Semi-Final in the Play-Offs of Sky Bet League 2 on Monday evening and they now head to Fleetwood for Friday's second leg.

Worthington told football-league.co.uk: "We didn't look it as the run coming to an end, we saw this as a two-game confrontation and Fleetwood have a slight advantage. There's all to play for and defeat is not in our minds at all.

"We were a bit slow and sluggish in the first half on Monday night and we can't afford that on Friday. But we'll go there and do what we're good at - and the way we played in the second half on Monday showed what we're good at."

What York had been good at in the run that took them from relegation danger to the Play-Offs was grinding out results, incredibly keeping 13 clean sheets and conceding only five goals in that sequence of 17 games without defeat.

But they hit only 20 goals themselves in those 17 outings and now have to score at least twice in 90 minutes to defeat Fleetwood, the team alongside whom they were promoted from the Conference to The Football League two years ago.

Ironically it was a goal by former York midfielder Matty Blair, who scored the winner against Luton Town to lift the Minstermen back into the League via the Conference Play-Off Final, that gave Fleetwood their win on Monday.

Not that irony is a concern to Worthington, who has led his team into a potentially promotion winning position from the perilous situation that he inherited when taking over at Bootham Crescent in March last year.

Four wins and two draws in their final six outings saw the Minstermen finish four points and six places above the relegation zone, and after a difficult first half of the current campaign they flew up the table to end in seventh place.

"We have bounded way ahead of ourselves," said Worthington, who did a similar job when saving Norwich City from relegation to League 1 level in 2000/01 and then two seasons later leading them to promotion up to the Premier League.

This time, with a Wembley Play-Off Final in prospect, the turnaround could be even quicker. "It would be great to achieve promotion," said the manager, "but we're nowhere near that yet and Friday's match is the only thing on my mind."

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