The new Minstermen manager got to see his team in action for the first time on Tuesday night as he watched on from the directors’ box while York beat Redcar Athletic 6-1 in the East Riding County Cup quarter-finals.
They travel to third-placed Stockport this afternoon, a side that has not lost in their last 10 games in all competitions.
Watson joins York after quitting his post at National League outfit Gateshead earlier this month, leaving with the side sitting a point and a place outside the play-offs.
The former Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday and Everton defender feels he has joined a club with plenty of ambition ahead of their stadium move in the not-too-distant future.
But the manager recognises that he needs to get the players enjoying their football again with the Minstermen sitting six points above the drop zone with a game in hand.
“I’m a big believer in you are where you are for a reason so there’s obviously been something amiss,” he said.
“I want to get the players to play in a certain system, but I’m also wary that I can’t ask them to turn up on a Saturday and change the system and expect them to get it straight away.
“I’ll assess how close they are to pulling it off. If they are not close we may go with a system that they’re more used to, do a bit more work on it and then try and deliver on it in the following week.”
With just one automatic promotion spot up for grabs – currently occupied by leaders Chorley – Stockport are looking to cement their play-off place as they sit seven points beneath the summit.
The Hatters’ unbeaten run stretches to December 2 and Watson says it will take time for York to adapt to his new methods.
“It’s about results, certainly. After January it is certainly about results but I believe the style that I want to play will bring results.
“We’ll drill them very well. I may well change the system as there is a system that I prefer playing and I need to find out whether I’ve got the right personnel to play that system.”
The 44-year-old is still learning the game with this just his second job as a manager, and he says he is drawing from some of the best in the game to help influence his coaching style. He continued: “I think in this situation what needs to happen at York is an immediate jolt of energy, enthusiasm and feelgood factor. You can’t look at any better than Kevin Keegan.
“The way he came into Newcastle and the whole city, had everyone running in the right direction, that’s the enthusiasm, and if I could harness one per cent of what Kevin used to have that would be great.
“You take something and bits from every manager. Now there’s a lot of defensive organisation that’s set up and attention to detail that David Moyes was very good at, and Kenny Dalglish as a man-manager.
“If you deliver results and enjoy what you’re doing they’ll buy into what you’re saying.”
Elsewhere, Guiseley visit leaders Chorley today looking to cause an upset.
The Lions have brought in young Sheffield United midfielder George Cantrill and experienced centre-back Josh Langley, who made their loan debuts at Chester last weekend.
The formbook may point to a home victory for Chorley at Victory Park, but joint manager Marcus Bignot says the Lions – who eased past Yorkshire Amateur on Tuesday to book a place in the semi-finals of the West Riding County Cup – head across the Pennines with confidence.
He said: “We go there with confidence on the back of a lot of positives from Tuesday.
“We played them early on in the season and, even though we never got the result, it was a positive performance from us. It is an opportunity to get some more points on the board.”
Second-placed Bradford Park Avenue host Blyth Spartans.