IT has been a rough year so far for Russ Wilcox and York City.
Just two wins from 15 games together with the improved form of others means the Minstermen are in for an almighty fight to retain their Football League status.
Wilcox, however, believes the addition of Shaun Miller and Josh O’Hanlon shortly before the transfer deadline means he has a squad that is capable of staying out of trouble.
“It is very, very tight at the bottom,” said Wilcox, who was left frustrated in York’s last outing when Accrington Stanley scored a stoppage-time equaliser.
“Hartlepool United have put a bit of a burst on and everything is really bunched up. It is why I was so pleased to get the two lads in before the deadline and I have to thank the chairman for his support.
“I have watched Shaun for quite a few years and knew him from Sheffield United. Hopefully, he can add the goals that we need. Josh, too, might be a bit younger but he is very highly thought of at Bournemouth.
“He is hungry, powerful and quick. Bournemouth are going for the Premier League so there have been few opportunities but Josh being given a three-and-a-half-year contract shows what they think of him.
“With these additions, we can now push on. The squad has been united throughout and very focused, and we know what needs to be done.”
Miller, who has netted 57 goals during 179 appearances, and 19-year-old O’Hanlon are in the squad to face Mansfield Town, who are one of several sides hovering just above the sides locked in a relegation battle.
“If we can beat Mansfield then it drags them back in,” said Wilcox.
“People get nervous at this time of year.
“We have been down there all season so we know what it is all about.
“Sometimes, a team that gets relegated is one that drops like a stone and that can still happen if we pull more teams towards us.
“Cambridge are another who haven’t been on a great run so any pressure could play heavily on their minds.”
Defender Stephane Zubar and winger Michael Coulson are expected to come back into contention for the Minstermen after missing the draw at Accrington through injury.
Last six games: Mansfield Town WWDLWL, York City DWLDLD.
Referee: D Webb (County Durham).
Last time: Mansfield Town 0 York City 1; March 11, 2014; League Two.