MANY managers down the years will have woken up on the morning of a game suspecting that defeat later in the day will be followed by the axe.
For Jackie McNamara, however, that is definitely the case today when the Scot takes his York City side to Braintree.
What is more, the entire country knows it.
York’s statement in midweek that only a “positive result” can extend McNamara’s troubled reign means there will be much more interest from the wider football public than is usually the case for a National League fixture between two teams sitting 22nd and 20th in the table.
It promises to be a nerve-shredding affair, not just for the York manager but also the club’s supporters. Tuesday night’s 6-1 thrashing by a Guiseley side who had not won in their previous 13 league outings this term is considered by many of those fans to be the lowest point in York’s 94-year history.
The Minstermen took the lead but then collapsed spectacularly to extend the club’s winless run on the road to 13 months and 29 games. Whether that woeful record can end today remains to be seen, as does what York and McNamara constitute to be a “positive result”.
If, for instance, York return north with a point courtesy of a last-minute equaliser then will this be enough for McNamara to stay? Or will nothing but all three points from a meeting with one of just four sides below York in the table suffice if his 11-month reign is to continue?
Either way, it promises to be a fascinating afternoon in Essex.
North Ferriby, one place and two points behind York in the table, will certainly have one eye on events at the Avanti Stadium during their own home game with leaders Forest Green Rovers.
The Villagers are on a wretched run of their own, with just one goal scored in 831 minutes of football. Despite that, manager Steve Housham believes there are grounds for optimism. “I honestly believe that the right result is around the corner,” he said.
Guiseley, meanwhile, host second bottom Southport at Nethermoor in a meeting of the division’s bottom two clubs.