DROP BAT­TLE WILL IN­VOLVE MORE THAN THREE – JAMES

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Joshua Richards

YORK City mid­fielder James Ber­rett be­lieves the bat­tle to avoid rel­e­ga­tion from the Foot­ball League may not nec­es­sar­ily end up be­ing a three-horse race.

Head­ing into the New Year, Ber­rett’s old club, Yeovil, were prop­ping up the rest on 14 points, with Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge in the other rel­e­ga­tion place with 16 points.

York were above the dot­ted line on goals scored. As well as hav­ing 16 points, they had the same goal dif­fer­ence as the Dag­gers (-20), but had net­ted two more goals than the East Lon­don side (26 to 24).

Some pun­dits are suggest­ing the two to make the dreaded drop will come from the bot­tom trio, but Ber­rett (pic­tured be­low) doesn’t be­lieve it’s cut and dried.

“It is too early to say that just the three of us will be in­volved,” said the 26-year-old. “There is al­ways some­one else who gets sucked into it.

“You don’t wish for any­one to go down, but it’s a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion be­ing down there with Yeovil.

“I en­joyed my time there, things just didn’t work out at the end, but I wish them well.”

The bot­tom three are show­ing signs of life – and that they are up for the bat­tle.

The Dag­gers won 3-1 at Steve­nage last Mon­day and now have the vastly ex­pe­ri­enced John Still at the helm.

Yeovil drew 0-0 at home against high­fly­ing Ox­ford United and have since ap­pointed care­taker man­ager Dar­ren Way on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

York drew 1-1 at Mans­field, build­ing on a 2-1 home win against More­cambe in their pre­vi­ous out­ing, Ber­rett bag­ging what turned out to be the win­ner.

That ended a run of nine straight de­feats in all com­pe­ti­tions and has given man­ager Jackie McNa­mara, ap­pointed two months ago, and his play­ers re­newed hope.

The More­cambe vic­tory was ac­tu­ally for­mer Celtic and Scot­land de­fender McNa­mara’s first win since tak­ing the reins. With yes­ter­day’s clash be­tween New­port County and Hartle­pool United, the two sides di­rectly above the bot­tom three on 20 points, post­poned, it added ex­tra spice to yes­ter­day’s match be­tween Yeovil and York.

But Ber­rett re­mains op­ti­mistic York will pull clear of dan­ger.

“I think we were un­lucky the week be­fore we beat More­cambe at Bris­tol Rovers (York lost 2-1),” he said.

“A draw would have been a fair re­sult, but I think that was ac­tu­ally the turn­ing point in terms of per­for­mance and for­tu­nately we were able to fol­low it up with a win.

“Since that win, there’s been a to­tally dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere around the place.

“It’s al­ways a lift when a new man­ager comes in. Any­one out­side the first team sud­denly feels like they have a chance again and if you’re in the team you want to stay there.

“De­spite that, it’s tough to iden­tify why re­sults didn’t change for us im­me­di­ately, but hope­fully that is be­hind us.

“The man­ager chopped and changed the team and brought in some of his own play­ers on loan.We all knew the re­sults weren’t good enough, so it was a great feel­ing to get some points on the board.”

And Ber­rett is ea­ger to chip in with a few more goals to aid the cause.

“We’ve got ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers back af­ter in­jury in Rus­sell Penn and Luke Sum­mer­field and that has al­lowed me to push on. They dic­tate the game and it gives me the free­dom to sup­port the strik­ers.

“I think we were miss­ing that be­fore, so if I can keep scor­ing that will be nice.

“I al­ways want to score and get in po­si­tions to do so.

“I’ve not had much chance to do so, but I think we’ll be play­ing on the front foot now.”

If Ber­rett can add some more goals for the Min­ster­men, then there could be a few more League Two out­fits start­ing to look ner­vously over their shoul­ders.

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