YORK City could still pursue a deal for departed trialist Ryan Cresswell this summer.

The Minstermen organised a practice match against National League Chesterfield this week with the intention of running the rule over the 31-year-old former Bury and Northampton centre back.

But Cresswell didn’t feature in the game and, instead, signed for Evo-Stik League premier division strugglers Mickleover Sports.

City boss Steve Watson admitted, however, that he liked what he saw from Cresswell during his time training with the club and would not rule out future transfer talks if he proves his fitness levels at the Derbyshire part-timers.

“He’s been around the club for almost as long as I’ve been here, but he’s not trained as much as I needed him to,” Watson explained. “He missed a couple of vital days’ training and I haven’t seen him play 90 minutes either, which I needed to before we moved forward, and we pretty much set the Chesterfield game up for him and a couple of other trialists.

“What I can say is that, when he did train, I could see there was certainly a player who would do well here and in this league. It might have been difficult to do something anyway this season, because we’re hardly short of centre halves – we’ve got three or four on the books that aren’t currently involved.

“But it might be something we can readdress in the summer if he gets more games and is closer to the match-fit player we need to see. At the moment, there’s maybe room to bring in one more player and we’ve still got two or three weeks to do that before the window closes.

“But they would need to be a guaranteed starter or a game changer and, while we’ve been close to brining in a couple of those types, it hasn’t happened yet.”

Watson went on to state that he hopes Simon Heslop, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season having been told he needs a second operation on his knee, can return to training before May to enable him to make a judgement on the out-of-contract midfielder.

Heslop has been sidelined since the former Gateshead manager’s arrival at Bootham Crescent and Watson declared: “Another knee operation is a huge blow for the club and even more so for Hessie.

“His timing couldn’t be worse with a new manager coming in. Hopefully, there will be changes coming in most aspects of the club and, other than a couple of games when he played for the opposition and I was at Macclesfield, I’ve not seen much of him, so I can’t gauge where he’s at now.

“He won’t play for us again this season but, hopefully, he can get back into training before the summer and we can assess him a bit more then.”

Along with Heslop, Jon Parkin and Dan Parslow are both ruled out for Saturday’s home match with Nuneaton.

Parkin lasted just ten minutes of the practice match against Chesterfield before picking up a calf injury and it is taking longer than anticipated for Parslow to get the green light from the medical profession to return to action following his head injury.

Teenage right-back Nathan Dyer, meanwhile, is not expected to feature in the squad, having yet to make a matchday 16 following Watson’s appointment.

Dyer was named in all but two of the last 19 squads selected by former boss Sam Collins and the latter’s successor has, nevertheless, reassured the youngster that he remains in the club’s plans moving forward.

“He’s a young lad and I’ve explained to him that he certainly has a future, but I don’t really need to rush into a decision on him, as I have to do with some of the others,” Watson pointed out. “I judge everyone in training, games and practice games but, while there are players ahead of him and things he needs to work on, age is not an issue for me.

“I played my first senior game at 16 and have coached and managed at clubs where we’ve given lots of debuts to academy players so he’s certainly part of York City’s future.”

Bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton will arrive at Bootham Crescent a massive 17 points from safety and in all sorts of turmoil off the pitch, but Watson is still expecting resilient opposition, reasoning: “They will set up to be hard to beat and it can be more difficult to play against teams like that who, under the old adage, park the bus, so we’ll have to move them around, be confident on the ball and finish the chances we make.”

During last weekend’s 2-1 win at Kidderminster, City didn’t make a single substitution for the first time in any match this term, but Watson added that he was unsure if that would be the case against Nuneaton.

He said: “Sometimes, if the game is tight, it can be hard for a sub during those first five minutes to match the pace of the game, so I’d rather keep it the same in that situation unless somebody is injured or particularly fatigued, and I thought we looked fit against Kidderminster. At that stage of the game, if we’d have been looking to make a change, it would have probably been defensive-minded too and I didn’t want to do that.

“It would be great to think you could keep all 11 players on the pitch for 90 minutes and keep winning games, but that’s probably unrealistic and I can’t say whether it will happen again.”