Worthington relishing Minstermen’s battle

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NIGEL WORTHINGTON insists having watched little League Two football this season will not be a problem ahead of his bow today as York City manager.

The Northern Irishman ended a year-long absence from management earlier this week when succeeding Gary Mills at Bootham Crescent.

Worthington has a huge test for his first assignment as the out-of-sorts Minstermen travel to bottom club AFC Wimbledon.

Just four points separate York, without a win in 11 games, from the relegation zone so Worthington appreciates the need to start his reign with a positive result.

He said: “The confidence isn’t too bad. The immediate target is to win games. How do we do that? Everyone has to pull together and go out there to give our best.

“This looks an honest group. I like to play high tempo football, which may be a little bit different from what the players are used to.

“At this stage of a season it isn’t easy to change the fitness levels or the mentality. But I like to see good football played in the right areas of the pitch.”

York’s last victory was on New Year’s Day – a 3-0 triumph at home to promotion-chasing Burton Albion – and Worthington added: “In the long term, there is something at this football club to build on, though of course the immediate target is to retain our League Two status.

“We have 10 games to do that. If and when we can achieve that, then we start to look forward.

“In some ways, it is similar to when I came in at Leicester (in 2007). The brief at Leicester was to come in with five games to go and keep the club up. So, I completed the job there. You only have to look at the table to see what position we are in.

“Get into a healthy position and then you can start to plan forward. We need to get to 50 points as soon as possible.”

Worthington has spent much of the past year since leaving Northern Ireland combining media work with fact-finding missions to various clubs around Europe.

Asked if this had included taking in many games from the basement division, Worthington replied: “I haven’t seen too much League Two football. When you are working for television and radio, they send you to Premier League games. So, I haven’t seen a lot.

“But I know what it is all about. I have enough eyes and ears helping me around the country to know what it is. So I know what the challenge is and am looking forward to.”

Worthington has spent the week getting to know the York squad ahead of what is a potentially season-defining trip to the team sitting bottom of the Football League.

Regardless of the result, however, chairman Jason McGill has made it clear that the new manager will be backed in the transfer market if he feels changes are needed.

The York chief said: “We have provided funds all along the way for Gary and previous managers. That will be no different for Nigel, to allow him to do as he sees fit.”