RECENT history may suggest that York City are doomed to relegation, but Gary Mills insists his side are capable of displaying play-off form in the second half of the season.
The Minstermen head to North Ferriby United for today’s lunchtime encounter propping up the National League.
In seven of the last eight seasons, the club sitting 24th at Christmas have gone on to be relegated with only Nuneaton Town in 2012-13 bucking that trend.
“We are bottom going into Boxing Day, a position I have never, ever been in before,” said the York manager. “But we have to be strong enough to handle that, while also making sure we play in a relaxed way.
“We can’t be uptight and worrying. That is my job, to relax the players so they can play with freedom.”
York are today hoping to avoid setting a new unwanted record of 36 games without a win on the road, a run that stretches back to September, 2015.
“There is no doubt this is going to be massive right to the end,” added Mills. “Every game we play, people will tell us, ‘We have to win this one’. I don’t want to get to the stage where we do literally have to win the next game, that is not a good situation.
“Of course, we need wins. But we are not at the stage where we have got to. Yes, we are bottom but the season is only just over halfway.
“I have told my players I want to finish in the top five of the second half of the season. That would mean us being safe.”
Buoyant Ferriby, who are without only Simon Russell, are hoping to claim a third straight league win for the first time at this level.
Guiseley, who complete the trio of Yorkshire clubs in the drop-zone, host leaders Lincoln City at Nethermoor.