DAVE WINFIELD believes his new centre-half partnership with on-loan Huddersfield defender Will Boyle can be the one to solve York City’s problems at the back.

Only Colchester have conceded more goals than the 44 shipped by the Minstermen this season from all four top divisions of the English game.

City have let in an average of more than two goals per fixture and have not kept a clean sheet in 15 league matches.

Instability has played its part, with 20-year-old Boyle the sixth centre-back Winfield has played alongside during his 16 outings in 2015/16.

The others are Stephane Zubar, Keith Lowe, Femi Ilesanmi, John McCombe and George Swan.

Manager Jackie McNamara has also fielded six different back fours in his first seven games as Bootham Crescent chief.

After the side had racked up 11 goals against during the previous two outings, Winfield and Boyle played key roles in an improved performance at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

Matty Taylor’s stoppage-time winner still condemned the visitors to a 2-1 defeat but ex-Aldershot and Wycombe sentinel Winfield is hoping he and promising rookie Boyle can have a prolonged run together heading into the Christmas period.

He said: “Will did very well (at Bristol) and I’ve been impressed with him.

“He’s a great youngster and has a tremendous attitude, which is half the battle really.

“We had a little issue with goal kicks that we needed to iron out but we did that in the second half.

“He’s willing to put his body on the line, which you need for a centre-half and from players in our situation, so I’m happy to have him in there all day because I feel we can work quite well together.”

Boyle – who only made his full Football League debut after arriving at City from Huddersfield last month – has seen his first three appearances come at three of the division’s top-six supported teams in Leyton Orient, Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers.

And Winfield believes the Garforth-born defender has emerged stronger from those challenges.

“It’s a great experience for younger players,” Winfield reasoned. “We heard the atmosphere at Bristol, more so in the second half and Will took it on board and he can build on it, which will only be good for us going forward.”

At 27 and as somebody who has taken the captain’s armband this term, Winfield is also comfortable with McNamara’s call for him to take the lead at the back and mentor Boyle.

“I like to take charge in defence,” he admitted. “It’s in my character and a lot of people in this league know that.

“I’d agree with the manager that you’ve not quite seen the best of me to date but the confidence he’s put in me will show in coming weeks if I get the opportunity to continue playing. I’m looking forward to the next few games to try and grind out a result and help the boys make our way up the table.”

Having missed three matches prior to his recall after suffering concussion during the 2-1 defeat to Plymouth, Winfield added that he was fully recovered from that injury – both physically and mentally – saying: “I’m absolutely 100 per cent fine now. It doesn’t even come into my mind and I’m there to head balls.”