Hartlepool Utd make York City boss wary

York City's Manager Nigel Worthington
York City's Manager Nigel Worthington

YORK City manager Nigel Worthington is calling on his team to improve on the club’s patchy home form of the past two seasons.

The current run of four league games without a defeat at Bootham Crescent is the Minstermen’s best sequence since promotion from the Conference was secured 15 months ago.

Worthington started off that spell as he masterminded a successful battle against relegation at the tailend of last season.

His team then kicked off the current campaign with a 1-0 triumph against Northampton on their own soil after also emerging from a tough four-game, pre-season schedule of home matches against Championship and League One outfits unbeaten.

In the last two campaigns, though, the Minstermen have lost nearly a third of their home league fixtures - 15 from a possible 46.

More points have also been picked up on the road than in front of the club’s own supporters during both seasons but, ahead of entertaining Hartlepool tomorrow, Worthington said: “If you want to do well in any league then you have to get your home form right and then pick up points on the road. We had a good start at home in the league against Northampton and want to try and carry that on against Hartlepool.”

Since the Northampton match, City have exited the Capital One Cup following a 4-0 home defeat to Burnley and lost 2-0 at Dagenham in the league.

As a consequence, Worthington has called on his players to return to the standards set against Northampton by improving at both ends of the pitch in front of a crowd that is expected to approach the 4,000 mark with Hartlepool close to selling their full allocation for the all-ticket affair.

The City boss added: “We are creating chances but need to be more ruthless and calm in and around the box. Clean sheets also help you win games.

“We have conceded six goals in two games and I thought the two goals against Dagenham were soft. We are aware of that, have worked on it and, hopefully, we can deal with it.

“There will be a big crowd and there’s nothing better than that. Hopefully, that should spur you on.

“They are local rivals and I am looking at the Northampton game as our barometer. We have to play like we did in that game week in, week out to get the results that will move us forward.”

Hartlepool, relegated from League One last season, have lost all three of their opening fixtures, but Worthington will not be underestimating tomorrow’s visitors, saying: “We’ve had them watched over the first two weeks and they haven’t been that far away.

“They’ve not picked up a point yet but there’s nothing worse than a wounded animal. I have full respect for them and I know what they can do and can’t do but, as ever, it’s up to us and making sure we do what we can do.”

Following two consecutive defeats, meanwhile, Worthington would not be drawn on whether he might consider personnel changes or a system switch against Colin Cooper’s men.

“I would not anticipate too many changes but we will be looking at the team over the next 24 hours before deciding what we do,” he said.