Season 2015/16 Review - Time For Change?

The Season - Take 1

The season got off to a bad start before it even started. Of the 4 contracted players Russ Wilcox sought to move on, only Jason Mooney left, the remainder stayed, no other clubs were interested, and so a sizeable proportion playing budget was already spent.

The season got off to a slow start, the one bright spot, Reece Thompson, quickly succumbed to illness problems and the goals dried up. The defence was bad, some said clueless, the Lowe / McCombe / Winfield axis didn’t reach the previous season's consistency. The defence regularly shifted personnel and formation as an answer was sought. Abject defeats at Notts County and Barnet followed. 2 relatively easy home games in a week in October offered Wilcox hope. A draw against Dagenham was followed by defeat to AFC Wimbledon. Wilcox was no more. New signings such as Eddie Nolan and loanee David Tutonda (who’d excelled a season earlier against City) were anonymous.

Having sought a manager with solid lower league experience when appointing Wilcox, City took a different approach in recruiting Jackie McNamara, a manager with Scottish Premier League experience and a reputation for developing young talent.

Perhaps he went a bit too far by shipping out several of Wilcox’s loanees and recruiting new loanees, youngsters from Premier League and Championship clubs. In the main, they struggled with “men’s football”. Their arrival coincided with a 6-0 defeat at Portsmouth and 5-1 home defeat to Accrington. January saw a new intake of youth loanees, peaking at 7 in March and totaling 18 across the whole season.

Speaking on York Hospital Ball (August 2022), Russ Penn said, “(we recruited in the) wrong areas, wrong personnel, no disrespect to the players, but we weren’t good enough. What was happening around me was a recipe for disaster, it was hard to replace Lowe and McCombe with under 23 players who had no experience, an absolute recipe for getting relegated. We had 10 new (young) players who, let’s be honest, didn’t really care about York”. He also felt City wouldn’t have got relegated under Russ Wilcox.

The squad peaked at 34 players before Christmas and with just 4 competitive reserve team matches across the season, the majority of players saw limited action. It has to be said as the season progressed, some of Jackie McNamara’s team selections provoked much thought as he chopped and changed the side in a desperate bid to seek a solution. However, with confidence low in the club, it seemed that any little setback saw heads drop and City playing catch up. 2 successive home wins in February gave hope but City couldn’t build on that and gradually City and Dagenham were cut adrift.

But, it wasn’t until we beat Portsmouth in spectacular style in April that we won again. Relegation was confirmed the very next game, another bad defeat at Accrington.

The season ended at Morecambe and a 1-1 draw, the 29th and 30th points we’d lost from a winning position meaning we ended the season in bottom position.

To add to City’s miseries, our youth team struggled all season (2 wins and 2 draws) to finish well bottom of their league, hardly suggesting a set up to source first team players.

We’re regularly informed that City have a generous playing budget, but season after season, what we perceive as smaller clubs or clubs with a lesser budget more than hold their own. Think Rochdale, Bury, Burton, Gillingham, Accrington, Morecambe and Peterborough (see new frontiers, issue 26). All clubs we should consider to be no bigger than City and all are doing something right at the moment.

The one consistency over the past 12 years has been the McGill family. From supporters to chairman / owner. They’ve always tried to run the club to give it the best chance of success, probably pumping around £5m into it as they have sought to provide a more than competitive budget at a time when the club has been continually handicapped by its Bootham Crescent location and the need to maintain the stadium which generates no non matchday income whilst they have battled to secure a new stadium.

They must take some responsibility for the state we are now in. Our generous playing budget has been squandered by a succession of managers. The McGill family have always appeared hands off and left the manager to make his own signings. They’d probably say Gary Mills was their best appointment, someone they recruited with solid Conference experience. Before, Chris Brass and Colin Walker were probably made more from a fan’s perspective. Billy McEwan and Martin Foyle, both solid lower league managers. Since our return to The Football League, there has not been the consistency of choice. Nigel Worthington, (no lower league experience and out of the game for 4 years), Russ Wilcox (lower league) and then Jackie McNamara (no English management experience). No clear strategy.

We had our best days back In the League under Nigel Worthington and I just wonder whether there is a role for such a person with in the club. An experienced football professional who knows the game inside out. Someone to sit between the manager and chairman. He could be a sounding board for the manager and be able to offer advice to the board. More importantly, to provide a bit more long termism. However, with relegation and a reduced budget, its maybe one for the future.

Looking forward, Jason McGill has stated we need to think long term and is fully supportive of Jackie McNamara being the man to deliver that vision. I’m fully supportive of long termism, no club will progress if it has a new manager every October who bemoans the squad he has inherited. However, given all that’s gone on during the McNamara reign, he’s got a big job on to turn around the club’s fortunes and more importantly, to unite the club and its supporters behind him.

Next season should see the proper re-introduction of reserve team football. That is to be applauded if it keeps squad players match fit and provides a base for young players to progress from youth football into the first team.

I note recently Brentford joined the growing number of clubs to abandon a youth policy in favour of an Under 21 squad. Personally, if it was a choice between youth and Under 21 / reserve, I’d go down the Under 21 route. They’re players closer to first team level, removing many of the years of grind and attrition need to achieve first team football. Also, with the EPPP rules, youth players can leave for relatively little meaning nowadays its not the money pot it was once was.

Looking ahead, we’ll start 2016/7 with virtually a new team. Bristol Rovers and Cheltenham have shown its possible to bounce back straight away.

Whatever 2016/7 brings, it will be without Rob McGill and Sophie McGill (Hicks) on the board, both resigned in May 2016. Rumours abounded as to the reason(s) why, the age / health of Rob McGill was cited, rumours of disagreement over the future of Jackie McNamara and the spurned offer of outside investment in the club were mentioned.

The Season - Take 2

The folllowing is largely sourced from an article written by Dave Flett that first appeared in The Press on May 13 2016.

Some of the seeds for City’s current predicament were undoubtedly sewn by former Northern Ireland chief Nigel Worthington who, having overseen an unlikely march into the League Two play-offs following the inspired loan signing of Charlton goalkeeper Nick Pope, embarked on a summer recruitment drive that continues to have repercussions with forward flop Jake Hyde having been put on the transfer list this week with a year still to run on his generous contract. Other transfer-market mistakes such as Lindon Meikle, Marvin McCoy, Jason Mooney and Anthony Straker, meanwhile, departed with financial settlements long before the scheduled expiry of their Bootham Crescent deals this summer.

Amid such an environment, proud Yorkshireman Wilcox picked up the baton and deserves recognition for staving off the genuine threat of relegation in 2014/15. Wilcox’s work through the last close season was less meritorious though. Having already brought the massively underwhelming Emile Sinclair to the club, Eddie Nolan and Vadaine Oliver would prove to be equally poor acquisitions, while Reece Thompson went from hopeful Frickley Athletic trialist to a permanent cash signing on the back of one impressive pre-season goal against Newcastle United. Their efforts, along with the inherited Hyde, fell spectacularly short of providing the thrust and goal threat that has been missing from City’s forward line during four seasons back in the Football League. Coupled with the decisions to release club stalwart Dan Parslow, who is now a National League champion with Cheltenham, replacements George Swan and Taron Hare were brought in, then it’s clear Wilcox made blunders. Needing to rely on two full-backs in McCoy and Femi Ilesanmi, who he had deemed surplus to requirement, did not represent a healthy situation either.

Given the team were hovering above the relegation zone by the end of October and nowhere near to fulfilling Wilcox’s stated top-ten target, few questioned the decision to relive him of his duties and the level of supporter unrest, which manifested itself as early as the 3-0 opening day defeat at Wycombe, made his position virtually untenable.

But, whereas the timing of Wilcox’s departure cannot be disputed, the choice of his replacement can be. Former Celtic skipper Jackie McNamara’s appointment was largely greeted as a positive move if internet reaction is to be taken as a reliable consensus of the general fan base.

Like chairman Jason McGill, City supporters were seemingly seduced and excited by McNamara’s win rate of more than 40 per cent whilst in charge of Scottish Premier League outfit Dundee United. Few observers at the time were playing devil’s advocate and querying the fact such statistics were achieved in an era when Rangers were plying their trade outside of the top flight, as did Hibernian and Hearts for different periods.

But, aside from such reservations, alarm bells began to ring when, having been parachuted in from north of the border, McNamara confessed he knew little about League Two football. Disappointingly, that quickly became evident in the Glaswegian’s attempts to apply some much-needed surgery to the Bootham Crescent ranks.

With only the loan market to turn to initially, McNamara decided to give youth a chance with six under-21 rookies thrown in against Accrington. The subsequent 5-1 thrashing, on the back of a 6-0 thumping at Portsmouth which saw then youth-team coach Jonathan Greening sent off after he was dragged out of retirement, will be remembered as two of the biggest debacles City fans have ever witnessed.

Such a reliance on youth looked a naive experiment that might have been worth a try, but there was consolation in the knowledge that the damage could be negated by responding accordingly during the transfer window.

But, to subsequently take the same approach in January, smacked of folly.

It has since been suggested that decision was based on necessity because more experienced options were simply not available, but that does not tally with the decision to run the rule over potential teenage targets during training sessions in December or the business done by rival clubs later in the window when City had filled their permitted five match-day loan options and more. Some of the untried, higher-league arrivals during McNamara’s reign were frighteningly unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the physical and mental demands of professional lower-league football, with Jordan Lussey, Ntumba Massanka, Stefan O’Connor and Lubo Satka the most obvious examples.

Others started well but had their confidence eroded as times became tough and perhaps, of all the baby-faced arrivals, only Fewster and Kyle Cameron (what about Luke Hendrie? - Ed) showed the character to emerge from the other side unscathed.

More senior additions like Derek Riordan and Danny Galbraith didn’t inspire either, as the scene was set for a disastrous run-in of one win from the last 16 games that would see the club finish the season a massive nine points adrift of safety.

In total, McNamara was given the opportunity to bring in 15 players by a staunchly supportive McGill and, for that reason and because he has been in situ since the start of November, he will always be held most accountable for the second-worst campaign, points wise, in the club’s 94-year history.

The former Scotland international’s work on the training ground also came under scrutiny, meanwhile, with Cameron’s startling admission that the club didn’t really do any work on set-pieces, while a total of 30 points surrendered from winning positions during the campaign illustrated the players’ inability to manage match situations professionally.

McGill has steadfastly refused to hold McNamara culpable with fingers of blame in his April statement seemingly pointing to past members of the coaching team who, if they were an unsettling presence as seemed to be the inference, such concerns were swiftly addressed by a parting of the ways with four months of the campaign left to play.

Similarly, Michael Coulson was vilified for a decision hardly unusual at any football club when, as an out of contract player and in his late 20s, he opted to secure his future at a different club. When he played, injury allowing, Coulson could also normally be relied upon to fire in a spectacular goal, which was much more than others, perceived as loyal to the cause, were contributing.

City’s record under McNamara, sadly, proves conclusively that he was the wrong choice to keep the club in the Football League.

Time will now tell whether he is the right man, as he claims, to usher in a long-term vision that will move the club forward and which, apparently in retrospect (really? I thought similar was said at the time of his appointment - Ed) , has been heralded by McGill as the chief reason for appointing McNamara in the first place.

He will, at least, get the chance to build his own team, which was arguably never fully afforded to his predecessor Wilcox.

McNamara must now demonstrate transfer market acumen that has so far been absent during his six-month reign, with the likes of Fewster and Lewis Alessandra already on the club’s radar prior to his arrival.

With the Dundee United squad he assembled last summer having also suffered top-flight relegation for only the second time since the 1930s, his managerial reputation depends on it.

Goals: Oliver 10, Fewster 8, Summerfield 8, Coulson 7, Berrett 5, Penn 3, Thompson 3, Alessandra 2, McEvoy 2, Winfield 2, Cameron 1, Carson 1, Galbraith 1, Godfrey 1, Lowe 1, McCombe 1, Nolan 1, Turner 1.

Assists: Summerfield 9, Berrett 5, Alessandra 3, Coulson 3, Ilesanmi 3, McEvoy 3, Straker 3, Turner 3, Cameron 2, Carson 2, Morris 2, Oliver 2, Penn 2, Tutonda 2, Bennett 1, Boyle 1, Collins 1, Fewster 1, Galbraith 1, Hendrie 1, Hyde 1, Ingham 1, McCombe 1, McCoy 1, Nolan 1, Satka 1, Sinclair 1, Thompson 1.

Reserves & Intermediates

City's intermediates finished 13th (and last) in The North East division of The Youth Alliance. Winning just 2 games (both in April) and drawing 5 of their 24 games. Mansfield, Scunthorpe and Hartlepool filled the top 3 positions.

See Soccerway web site for details of the table and results.

Of the team, Ben Godfrey (who left for Norwich for a reported £200,000 in Janaury 2016 and scored on his debut when coming on as a sub in The EFL Cup Round 2 in August against Coventy), Ben Hirst and Callum Rzonca progressed to the first team squad.

City entered a team in The The Development League Cup. Comprised of six groups of four, with four groups in the northern section and two in the southern, York were in a pool with Gateshead, Hartlepool and last year's victors Middlesbrough. Playing each other once, the group winners progressed into northern area semi-finals. City finished 3rd, beating Gateshead and losing their other 2 goals. Bradley Fewster scored a hat trick in Middlesbrough's win over York.

The reserves only other competitive game was a 4-3 penalty shoot (0-0 after 90 minutes) quarter fnal defeat at Guisborough in The NRSC.

The Players

  1. Lewis Alessandra Added some much-needed aggression to the Minstermen’s frontline following his loan arrival from Rochdale in March. Guilty sometimes of not picking his head up and releasing the ball earlier. Showed a desire to influence matches, before seemingly losing a little interest when relegation was confirmed. Appearances: 11 (0). Goals: 2. Rating: 4/10

  2. Scot Bennett Aside from a shaky showing against Bristol Rovers, largely a reliable loan recruit, who added value to the team at centre back and in a midfield anchoring role. A clever reader of the game. Also filled in at left back when required with minimal fuss. Appearances: 11 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 5/10

  3. James Berrett Scored a handful of very good goals breaking from midfield. Guilty of drifting in and out of too many games. Jackie McNamara struggled to identify his best position after he had started promisingly under Russ Wilcox as the attacking link man in a 4-3-3 formation. Appearances: 37 (3). Goals: 5. Rating: 4/10

  4. Will Boyle Had a difficult baptism to life at League Two level following his loan arrival from Huddersfield reserves. Went on to forge a reasonable understanding with Dave Winfield at the heart of defence. Taken out of the firing line, though, following a hapless two-match spell when he scored an own goal, conceded a penalty and got sent off. Appearances: 12 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

  5. Kyle Cameron Newcastle United teenager who grew in confidence during his loan spell. Showed a decent turn of pace for a big defender and comfortable on the ball when employed at centre half or left back. Strong in the air too, leading to his first senior goal at Hartlepool. Appearances: 18 (0). Goals: 1. Rating: 5/10

  6. Josh Carson Looked hopelessly unfit during the first half of the campaign. As a consequence, restricted to limited starts under both Wilcox and McNamara, but still figured in 25 games to little affect. In his best condition as the season drew to a close, but badly exposed when used out of position at left back against Accrington. Appearances: 6 (19). Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

  7. Michael Collins A tidy and intelligent presence in midfield after being brought in on loan from Oxford. Lacked dynamism and energy though. Returned to the Kassam Stadium soon after McNamara’s appointment. Appearances: 10 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

  8. Michael Coulson Another injury-hit campaign for the dangerous attacker. When fit, illustrated his ability to produce something out of nothing with several spectacular goals. Upset the club, though, when news of his pre-contract move to St Johnstone broke in March. Appearances: 23 (2). Goals: 7. Rating: 5/10

  9. Matty Dixon Found it difficult to impose himself on proceedings following his transfer in January from Hull City, where he was under-21s captain. On occasions needed to move the ball quicker. Will need to come to terms with the speed of the professional game if he is to progress next season. Appearances: 6 (1). Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

  10. Bradley Fewster A constant threat when used as a centre forward with an insatiable hunger for scoring goals. His desire for the ball meant he unsettled defences and he displayed an unerring calmness, which belied his age, when presented with a chance to hit the target. Not always as effective when used in a wider role or as a lone central striker, but Middlesbrough have a genuine talent on their hands. Appearances: 18 (6). Goals: 8. Rating: 6/10

  11. Scott Flinders Kept as busy as any York City keeper in recent times and, generally, rose to the challenge. Without his saves, the club would have collected even fewer points. Made high-profile mistakes in three or four games, but such a record compared favourably with his outfield counterparts. Appearances: 48 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 5/10

  12. Danny Galbraith Showed flashes of ability, but his end product was frustratingly unreliable. Boasts a career goal record that is dreadful for an attack-minded player who does not offer a great deal defensively. Needs to hurt teams more if he is to resurrect a flagging professional career. Appearances: 14 (7). Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

  13. Ben Godfrey Exuded confidence when given his first senior start at the age of 17 by Wilcox in the 1-0 home win over Yeovil. Never afraid to demand the ball from more senior pros and dish out instructions himself. His potential and maturity persuaded Premier League Norwich to make their move in January for the former Archbishop’s Holgate pupil’s services in a deal that could be worth £1million dependant on him fulfilling his potential. Appearances: 7 (8). Goals: 1. Rating: 5/10

  14. Jonathan Greening Persuaded to don his boots again following McNamara’s arrival at the club with midfield pair Russell Penn and Luke Summerfield sidelined by injury. Gave a sublime second-half cameo appearance against leaders Plymouth after coming off the bench to a rousing reception from City fans. But blotted his copy book with an elbowing incident that led to a red card and subsequent 6-0 thrashing at Portsmouth and was never seen again before also leaving his role as youth-team manager in December. Appearances: 2 (1). Goals: 0. Rating: 4/10

  15. Luke Hendrie The on-loan Burnley right back had his pocket picked by some of the division’s more wily wingers, but was always 100 per cent committed to the cause. Had the energy and eagerness to get up and down his flank. The quality of his crossing could fluctuate from game to game though. Appearances: 18 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

  16. Jake Hyde Made 14 appearances during a season when he was declared unavailable more often than he was fit for action. Other than a shot that hit the post to set up Alessandra for his debut goal, it is difficult to recall any other worthwhile contributions. Some supporters quipped he lived up to his surname when he disappeared swiftly up the players’ tunnel after they vented their fury at Dagenham in March and he was only seen on a pitch once more before the end of the season. Appearances: 4 (10). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  17. Femi Ilesanmi Provided forward thrust from left back and a whole-hearted approach to the game at all times. Sometimes caught napping defensively though. His endeavour needs to be allied to greater footballing intelligence. Appearances: 39 (2). Goals: 0. Rating: 5/10

  18. Michael Ingham Did well when given a chance to impress on the final day of the season but, less so, when handed two starts a couple of months earlier. Hard to judge which spell between the sticks was most indicative of where he is now as a goalkeeper. After years as City’s first choice, has been content to lead a puzzling existence playing second fiddle for three seasons at an age when many in his position are in their prime. Appearances: 3 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 4/10

  19. Mark Kitching Looked one of the more promising loan additions during the experimental 5-1 home defeat against Accrington when City fielded six debutants. Not afraid to carry the ball forward from left back and also strong for his age. Didn’t get another opportunity, though, prior to his return to Middlesbrough. Appearances: 1 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10

  20. Keith Lowe One of the most puzzling declines seen in recent times. Went from an ultra-dependable, virtually flawless two-time Press Player of the Year winner to an anxious shadow of his former self. Made an early error during opening game of season and never seemed to recover prior to being released soon after McNamara’s arrival. Appearances: 19 (1). Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

  21. Jordan Lussey Former Liverpool under-21 captain who struggled terribly after being thrown straight in for his debut against Accrington at right back. Couldn’t cope with the pace of the game and looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. Sent back to parent club Bolton immediately afterwards with an injury. Appearances: 1 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  22. Ntumba Massanka Came on loan from Burnley with a prolific pedigree in under-21s football. Never looked like reproducing that promise in a City shirt with a poor first touch and inability to make intelligent runs. Proved too raw for League Two football and sent back to Turf Moor long before proposed end to his stay. Appearances: 1 (2). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  23. John McCombe Looked sluggish when given his chance at centre back just before Wilcox’s departure. Never featured under McNamara. Released from his contract in February. Appearances: 6 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

  24. Marvin McCoy Featured in every game under Wilcox at the start of the season despite being put on the transfer list over the summer. Sent in the occasional decent cross but always looked vulnerable defensively. Quickly frozen out by McNamara and moved out during the January transfer window. Appearances: 19 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

  25. Kenny McEvoy Gave flashes of his attacking flair, but anonymous in other games. Would have been a real asset if he had hit consistent highs. Might still have been worth greater exposure during closing weeks of the campaign. Appearances: 10 (9). Goals: 2. Rating: 4/10

  26. Bryn Morris England youth international who added an extra dimension to the Minstermen with his ability to break forward from the middle of the park. Another who was slightly afflicted by the inconsistency of youth though. Returned to Middlesbrough when McNamara decided he needed to use his loan entitlement in other areas of the pitch. Appearances: 4 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 4/10

  27. Eddie Nolan Initially looked quite a steady performer and with the versatility to operate in both full-back positions, as well as in midfield. Scored a goal of the season contender at Stevenage. But McNamara was unimpressed by his standards after taking the helm and released him in the New Year. Appearances: 14 (4). Goals: 1. Rating: 3/10

  28. Stefan O’Connor Baffling how a young player could benefit from some of the best coaching in the world at Arsenal for so long and then go out on to a football pitch with no defensive awareness. Athletic, but looked vulnerable when used at centre half. Just as lackadaisical at right back.Appearances: 4 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  29. Vadaine Oliver Of initial value to the team under Wilcox when the team’s approach was more direct and he showed a desire to flick on regular aerial balls forward. Once that passion seemingly disappeared, though, he cut a lethargic figure up front. A return of one goal from his last 22 games of the season saw fans boo his second-half introduction on the final day at Morecambe. Appearances: 36 (6). Goals: 10. Rating: 2/10

  30. Russell Penn Disappointing during the opening months of the season prior to picking up an injury at Barnet. Returned before Christmas to provide some guidance to a team that was struggling desperately under McNamara. Gave a smattering of decent displays and got on the sceorehseet during the run-in, but manager still seems unsure of his skipper’s most effective role in midfield. Appearances: 35 (2). Goals: 3. Rating: 4/10

  31. Derek Riordan Nowhere near up to scratch with the speed of the English game after a spell in the wilderness north of the border. Had no impact during his brief outings. A somewhat bewildering recruit. Appearances: 1 (3 (3 as per YP and YCFC programme, other sources (Soccerway) state 2 which is believed to be correct)). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  32. Callum RzoncaFor all pub quiz aficionados, take note. Name the York City player who’s only two appearances for the club came outside of the country? Answer – last season’s first-year professional, who looks destined to depart following cameos at Newport and Swansea. Appearances: 0 (2). Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

  33. Lubo Satka Seemed transfixed by fear for the majority of his six loan outings from Newcastle. Such nerves and tension led to a bizarre own goal against Notts County. Picked up cautions due to poor positional sense and did not feature after struggling at Wimbledon in mid-March. Appearances: 5 (1). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  34. Emile Sinclair Contributed nothing of note in 14 outings. Rarely looked in control when in possession and did not put his pace to good use. Finished the season on loan at Guiseley. Appearances: 5 (9). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  35. Anthony Straker Provided three assists for the team, but more by accident than design as his awkwardness briefly bamboozled opposition defenders as well as City supporters. Never really seemed to have a plan in mind when on the ball. Parted company with the club during the New Year. Appearances: 7 (6). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  36. Luke Summerfield Eight goals and nine assists will compare favourably with many of his midfield contemporaries in League Two. At his best, a genuine creative force for the team with an ability to deliver telling set-pieces. On other occasions, struggled to offer the same inspiration and dead-ball quality deserted him. Appearances: 35 (1). Goals: 8. Rating: 5/10

  37. George SwanTeam conceded 16 goals during his four starts and a substitute outing at centre back. Had trouble tracking strikers who used their pace and intelligence to run in behind him. Might have suffered from only being paired once with a more experienced centre half during his limited opportunities. Appearances: 4 (1). Goals: 0. Rating: 1/10

  38. Reece Thompson Started the season in a blaze of glory, following up a spectacular pre-season goal by hitting the net three times in his opening seven matches as a professional. Appeared to then hit a wall when the adrenalin of his new career subsided. Looked unfit after returning from a four-month absence through illness and threatened nothing off the bench from February onwards. Appearances: 11 (5). Goals: 3. Rating: 2/10

  39. Rhys Turner On-loan Oldham striker who, with one tap-in during ten outings, failed to add some much-needed firepower to the City forward line. At least, offered industry and desire. Moved on by McNamara as he looked to strengthen other areas of the team. Appearances: 5 (5). Goals: 1. Rating: 2/10

  40. David Tutonda Overly-fond of step-overs, but struggled to provide the reliable service needed to make Wilcox’s wing-back system a success during the opening weeks of the campaign. Also suspect defensively. Another that returned to his parent club - Cardiff - during the early weeks of McNamara’s reign. Appearances: 8 (6). Goals: 0. Rating: 2/10

  41. Dave Winfield Displayed determination throughout the campaign and a strong, physical adversary for all opposition forwards. Made the odd blunder, but far more goal-saving blocks and clearances. A worthy winner of The Press Player of the Year award. Appearances: 38 (2). Goals: 2. Rating: 6/10

  42. Stephane Zubar Looked uncomfortable in the left-sided defensive role he was assigned with, following a return from Bournemouth on loan. While playing out of position, an ungainly twist saw him suffer knee ligament damage at Exeter. Subsequently returned to the south coast and his season was over after just five games. Appearances: 5 (0). Goals: 0. Rating: 3/10