STEVE WATSON has not ruled out a late dash for the National League North play-offs by York City, but admits he needs to hit the ground running in order for them to do so.
The 44-year-old former Newcastle United, Everton and Sheffield Wednesday player was appointed as the successor to Sam Collins last Thursday and formally met his new Minstermen squad when overseeing his first training session yesterday, alongside assistant Micky Cummins.
He will get a chance to see some of his players in action for the first time at Bootham Crescent tonight when they host Redcar Athletic in the quarter-finals of the North Riding Senior Cup, although he already has one eye on Saturday’s trip to third-placed Stockport County in the league.
Watson arrives in Yorkshire having forged a good reputation for himself at National League outfit Gateshead, who he guided to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy last season and to the fringes of the play-off positions this time around before deciding to take up the opportunity to join York.
Having spent the majority of his 15 months at Gateshead operating on a limited budget, Watson sees York as a club with huge potential and one that matches his own ambitions.
“There are 17 games that we have left this season,” said Watson, “and the question is can we put enough wins together to make a real dash at it (the play-offs). We’ll never give up until it is mathematically impossible, obviously, but if that is not to be, if it is too far gone then so be it, but also I will know by the end of the season who exactly here will be able to take us to that next level.”
The first two or three results will be a work in progress. We do need to hit the ground running and we do need results immediately especially if we’re going to climb the table.York City manager Steve Watson
Ahead of Saturday’s trip across the Pennines, the Minstermen sit down in 17th spot, nine points adrift of the sixth and final playoff spot. Watson acknowledges there will be little margin for error in the coming weeks.
“I’m a big believer in you are where you are for a reason, so there’s obviously been something amiss,” he added. “All I can do is go back to square one regarding me as a manager and go through the process I would with any team and the results at the end will dictate how well I’ve done.
“But the first two or three results will be a work in progress. We do need to hit the ground running and we do need results immediately especially if we’re going to climb the table.”