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Steve Watson speaks ahead of the Chester contest

By Dan Simmonite | 4th December 2020

Steve Watson is pleased to have bounced back with a 3-0 win over Blyth Spartans in mid-week and has stressed the importance of the next few fixtures as the team looks to make use of their games in hand.

“I did stress a week ago that these five games, including the Trophy, would be very important. Obviously, in the Leamington game, we started far too slowly,” said Watson.

“I thought the other night we played well, but we can still improve.

“But these three games before the Trophy are very important for us to climb up the table.”

Due to the stop-start beginning of the season, City currently sit mid-table with 11 points, but six games in hand over National League North leaders Gloucester City who have failed to win since losing their Manager last week.

Speaking on the start of the season, Watson said: “Certain clubs came out of the blocks absolutely flying - Gloucester and Fylde.

“And don’t get me wrong, they’re still doing brilliantly, but above us the results are starting to even out a little bit and people are dropping points here and there.

“I’ve always said that you’d get a true bit of knowledge about the league when you get to a dozen or so games but that might not be the case at the moment, because you’ve got teams on twelve games and us on six.

“It might be by the end of January that everything is caught up, hopefully.”

Next on the agenda for City is Chester at Bootham Crescent tomorrow afternoon, a side who Watson has watched closely this week in his preparations for the contest.

Watson added: “We’ve got to expect the very best Chester, that’s how we have to prepare for the game.

“I watched them the other night and they’ve got a lot of quality and, they also left a few players out.

“I won’t second guess why, whether they were injured, or the manager was trying a new system, but Dudley and Roberts weren’t playing.

“To be perfectly honest with you, I won’t have much clue what system and what style they’ll play until I see the team tomorrow.”

Chester, like City, finished in the play-offs last season before losing out in the first round to eventual winners Altrincham. And at this point in the current season they will look to take advantage of their three games in hand and build upon their impressive 3-0 win over Alfreton Town on Tuesday night.

“You’ve got two good sides going up against each other and not really knowing 100 percent where the other is at,” added Watson.

“They’ve got good experience in the centre halves, Roberts the captain.

“They’ve got good energy down the sides and in the middle with Dudley and they have got a striker up front who is on form, he’s a good athlete and he covers a lot of ground.

“They’re a good side and they’re managed by two good, very experienced guys.

“It’s a very, very tough game but whatever game comes along now, we have to start bridging the gap and that has to start tomorrow.”

Michael Duckworth, Josh King and Owen Gamble are doubtful for tomorrow’s game and join Robbie Tinkler on the list of players potentially unavailable for the clash after the full-back picked up a knock in the first half against Blyth in mid-week.

On his player’s injuries, Watson said: “I’d be surprised if Josh and Owen featured - when you’ve only got two full days between the games, another 24 hours would make a massive difference.

“We’ll give everyone as much time as we can to see how they are.

“One thing that we can’t do, is we can’t start someone and then bring them off after 20 minutes if it’s not working.

“We can’t use a very important game against a very good side and see how people are.

“Me and Micky will have to make our decision tomorrow whereas in an ideal world, you’d want everything sorted on a Friday and know that everyone has trained the full session and the risk is very low.

“When you’ve got such a short turnaround, you have to give it as long as you can.

“I won’t make decisions on Tinks (Robbie Tinkler) and a couple of others until tomorrow morning and if we need to get people in before the game we will do.

“But that’s the scenario we’re in and lots of teams are in the same scenario. It’s not an issue, I’m not complaining about it, that’s just football.”

Tomorrow’s game will be played behind closed doors (3pm kick-off) and a livestream will be available for £7.99.

Please click here to purchase your streaming pass.

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