YORK CITY are planning to make a new managerial appointment as “quickly as possible” following the shock resignation of Nigel Worthington.
The Northern Irishman stepped down yesterday after 19 months at the helm at Bootham Crescent and despite the best efforts of the York board to persuade him to stay, the club are now searching for their seventh full-time boss in the last decade.
Despite being taken aback by the decision of the former Norwich City, Blackpool and Northern Ireland manager to quit, York bosses have swiftly turned their attentions to Worthington’s replacement and plan to appoint a new man ahead of this weekend’s League Two match with Shrewsbury Town.
Communications director Sophie Hicks last night told The Yorkshire Post that the club had already spoken to a few prospective candidates, having been impressed by the quality of instant applicants.
Strong favourite in the betting is former Scunthorpe United chief Russ Wilcox, who was controversially sacked by Iron last week, despite taking the north Lincolnshire club to promotion to League One last season.
Caretaker-manager Steve Torpey, Worthington’s No 2, is also high in the betting, with the Londoner having previously been a team-mate of Wilcox’s during their playing days at Glanford Park.
Former Accrington chief James Beattie, who left the East Lancashire club in September, is also among the leading candidates, as are Halifax manager Neil Aspin, linked to the York post previously, Brian Laws and Graham Kavanagh.
The likes of Richard Cresswell, also on York’s coaching staff, Micky Adams and Nick Barmby are among other names to be mentioned, along with, intriguingly, former boss Gary Mills.
York acted promptly to appoint Worthington as manager in March 2013 after calling time on Mills’s tenure and have previously acted similarly swiftly when it comes to appointing new managers.
Hicks said: “It is important that we do get the right person.
“But we do feel that we need to act quickly. That has always been the way we have dealt with situations like this.
“We have spoken to a few individuals and with the board and started to explore options to appoint a new manager.
“From our point of view, it is important we get the right person who can work with the players that we have and resources that are available.
“It will also be somebody who can make the necessary impact as well.”
Admitting that the level of interest from candidates already has been high quality and considerable, Hicks added: “The quality of applicants is testimony to the club really.
“I think we are viewed as a club who are financially stable and that is attractive and also with the new stadium on the horizon in 2016, I think we are also viewed as a club that can go places and is certainly capable of a firm position in League One.
“We think that is realistic. We have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of applicants and have had discussions with a number of individuals throughout the day and we hope to make an announcement as soon as possible.
“We have had quite a few people put themselves forward and contact the football club and various agents have been in touch as well, representing potential managers.
“We do feel as though we are making some progress.”
While York may been busy attempting to find a replacement for Worthington, Hicks admits that the 52-year-old’s decision to step down while feeling he has taken the current squad as far as he can had come as a big surprise.
Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Newport, which saw captain Russ Penn dismissed, extended York’s poor recent sequence, but despite the Minstermen winning just once in their past 17 games in all competitions, the club’s board were confident that Worthington could turn around their fortunes.
He masterminded the club’s stunning upturn in the second half of last season which culminated in qualification for the play-offs – his side did not lose a regular league match from January 28 to September 13 – and he retained the faith of the club’s hierarchy.
Hicks said: “It was a huge surprise. Nigel discussed the situation with us yesterday (Sunday) and we did try our very best to persuade him to stay.
“We spent a lengthy part of the day trying to make him change his position as, although results have not been brilliant, it is early in the season and we had very much viewed Nigel as the long-term manager at York City.”
On his departure, Worthington added: “After Saturday’s result and in the best interests of York City, I have made the difficult decision to leave the club with immediate effect.
“I feel the timing of my departure will give the players ample number of games to gain the points to ensure York City finishes in a good position in League Two by the end of the season.
“In recent weeks, performances have not been up to my high standards and I take full responsibility for that as manager.”