YORK CITY boss Nigel Worthington has urged his in-form players not to be fazed by this evening’s League Two play-off semi-final first leg against Fleetwood.
The Minstermen go into the play-offs on the back of a remarkable 17-game unbeaten run that began with a 2-1 win at Fleetwood in February.
Nigel Worthington’s side looked destined for a battle against the drop when they won just four of their opening 27 games in all competitions.
However, their form in the second half of the season has been completely transformed, and they will kick off at Bootham Crescent tonight as arguably the most in-form team in the country.
“I don’t think it should be tense and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be confident,” said Worthington. “We are on a fantastic run of 17 games unbeaten and I am hoping there is a really good atmosphere with lots of noise.
“We have got two fantastic games going live across the country so there will be a lot of people watching the situation and that’s a fantastic opportunity for the players to embrace, enjoy and to perform in front of.
“Both teams will be looking to take an advantage into the second game at Fleetwood. But, if we don’t get that advantage, we have got to make sure we are still in with a good shout going there.”
The semi-final winners will secure a place in the play-off final at Wembley, with York hoping to make it to the national stadium for the fifth time in as many seasons.
Worthington played for Sheffield Wednesday in FA and League Cup finals at the old Wembley, and was also in charge of the Norwich City team that played in the 2002 Championship play-off final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
“The ultimate aim is promotion but there’s no point talking about that if you don’t get through these two games,” he said. “If we can, then, from my experiences as a player, going to the old Wembley in different cup finals was wonderful.
“I also had the honour of leading Norwich out at Cardiff when Wembley was being rebuilt and the scenes, memories, colours and atmospheres from those occasions never leave you. They truly leave a mark on your mind, so let’s enjoy the next two games and everything else will look after itself then.”
Worthington’s main selection dilemma ahead of tonight’s game comes in midfield, as he will have to select two from Will Hayhurst, Lewis Montrose and former Sunderland trainee Adam Reed.
“That’s something we will be looking at,” he said. “We will see what Fleetwood’s team is and it will be a case of horses for courses again.”