NIGEL WORTHINGTON has urged York City to be early risers on their date with destiny at Fleetwood Town tonight as they seek to keep their promotion dream alive.
The Minstermen head west with plenty of work to do if they are to reach Wembley, trailing 1-0 from the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final.
But if they require any inspiration, they only need to think back to their last visit to the Highbury Stadium when they kick-started a magnificent 17-match unbeaten run with a 2-1 victory, with that streak ended by the same opponents on Monday night.
Worthington insists the pressure is on the shoulders of Graham Alexander’s side, whose budget far exceeds York’s.
Yet if they are to add another famous entry into the club’s remarkable recent history, York must race out of the starting blocks, something Worthington feels they have been unable to do in the first half of their last two games, with Fleetwood and promoted Scunthorpe.
Worthington said: “I think there is more pressure on them as they are at home and a goal to the good.
“Do they come out and try and nick another one or do they sit back and invite pressure. Either way, we are going to be on the case.
“But it’s about us and we must make sure we start well.
“There’s a little saying in football. One (bad start) is a one-off, two is a coincidence and three is a disaster. It’s important we kick off from the very first whistle and take that through the 90 or 120 minutes, whatever the distance is.
“We are fit and strong enough to go and do the job.
“The lads are in great spirits and looking forward to it and it’s about cool heads out there, performing, believing and making it happen.”
Whatever happens tonight, York can reflect on a stunning renaissance after being down among the dead men at the turn of the year when they were firmly bracketed among the relegation candidates in League Two.
But Worthington is not ready for his holidays just yet and feels York’s story can have another magnificent chapter.
He said: “It’s all or nothing, black or white – no pink in the middle.
“If you win, you are in the final, if you don’t, you are looking at your holidays.
“As much as I am ready for a holiday, it will be another two weeks before I am really ready.
“We know what we’ve got to do. There’s a fantastic prize at the end of it; promotion to League One. That would be one hell of an achievement by the football club from where it was at, to what it’s at now. It would be phenomenal.”
The York chief has confirmed his side have practised in the event of penalties and has urged his players not to adopt a ‘fancy-dan’ approach if that transpires and to follow the lead of Sevilla in their Europa League final win over Benfica on Wednesday.
He added: “The two sets of penalties were chalk and cheese. I am not surprised Sevilla won.
“There was a bit of beef behind them and they hit the net with momentum. Benfica were flimsy and tried to be flash. Put the ball down and concentrate on putting it in the back of the net.”
Last six games: Fleetwood DWWDLW, York WWWDDL.
Last time out: Fleetwood 1 York 2; February 1; 2014; League Two.
Referee: S Duncan (Northumberland).