York City v Portsmouth: Minstermen already planning for summer overhaul, says Jackie McNamara

York City manager, Jackie McNamara.  Picture: Tony Johnson
York City manager, Jackie McNamara. Picture: Tony Johnson
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AHEAD of a night that is likely to bring relegation from the Football League, Jackie McNamara has vowed to “come back stronger than ever” via a busy summer of recruitment at York City.

The Minstermen sit 11 points adrift of safety with just four games to play, the first of which brings Portsmouth to Bootham Crescent tonight.

York must win to keep any hopes alive of avoid the drop but even that may not be good enough due to McNamara’s men needing a big favour from Oxford United at Newport County.

“A lot has to be done,” said McNamara when asked about his plans for the summer. “That is what we will do. We have to recruit well and come back stronger than ever.

“That is what has happened to a few teams who went down. Cheltenham changed 17 players last summer (and won promotion back to the League last weekend). Bristol Rovers, likewise, came straight back up.”

Dave Winfield is suspended tonight following his red card at Hartlepool, while Femi Ilesanmi is troubled by a hamstring injury ahead of taking on a Pompey side who thrashed York 6-0 in November.

In a season of lows, that night at Fratton Park stands out with the hosts running riot in the second half.

“That was probably the lowest point,” admitted McNamara. “How we capitulated in the second half was embarrassing.

“We want to see pride. Pride in themselves and pride in what we do as professionals. No-one wants something like this on their CV.

“I have never experienced it before and I am hurting. The chairman is hurting and, hopefully, the players are hurting just as much.”

James Berrett is back in contention following the birth of his baby son.

Last six games: York City LDLDDL, Portsmouth LDWWWL.

Referee: N Miller (County Durham).

Last time: York City 0 Portsmouth 0; October 4, 2014; League Two.