YORK City manager Steve Watson is interested in signing out-of-contract Harrogate Town midfielder Michael Woods but admits salary expectations could be a stumbling block.

The York-born, 29-year-old, whose granddad Alan and uncle Neil are both former Minstermen players, is a free agent, having joined Harrogate from fellow National League club Hartlepool last November.

Watson believes Woods would enhance City’s firepower from the engine room of the pitch with three-goal pair Adriano Moke and Paddy McLaughlin topping the tally from midfield last season.

It is understood that the former England under-19 international is weighing up his options, though, with Watson saying: “We’ve definitely spoken about him and one thing we like about him is he has a very good goal ratio, but he’s played in the National League for Hartlepool and Harrogate and been on good money.

“In our position, you put a wish list together, but persuading players to drop their pay and a division can be difficult. I’m speaking to players who I know would make a difference to us but, at the moment, we have to accept that we are a National League North club who have just finished in mid-table and people look at that.”

Woods scored three goals last season, but only started half of the 28 appearances he was handed by Hartlepool and Harrogate.

During the previous campaign, he hit the target eight times in 28 matches during Hartlepool’s first season of non-League football.

Starting out with Dunnington Juniors, Woods was signed from Leeds by Chelsea at the age of 16 and went on to become the Stamford Bridge giants’ fourth-youngest ever player, making two appearances in the FA Cup.

Spells with Football League outfits Notts County, Yeovil and Doncaster, prior to a stint in National League North with Harrogate, where he returned after more than four seasons at Hartlepool.

Watson, who assembled a play-off challenging National League squad on a modest budget last summer, has also warned potential close-season signings that the days of the Minstermen being perceived as a sixth-tier gravy train are over.

“I think York has become the go-to place to get a good contract, but I want to bring in players who want to play for the club, myself and (assistant-manager) Micky (Cummins),” Watson insisted. “They can’t just come here because they want a good deal.

“The contracts we are offering are fair, but not outrageous. Some of those staying with us have been bumped up a bit to get them in and around everybody else and some players have taken a cut, even though they could have got more elsewhere, because I have taken phone calls from managers wanting them.”

The former Gateshead chief added that he would not be issuing appearance-related contracts whereby new deals are triggered after players reach an agreed number of outings.

Such clauses have been in place during recent seasons, but Watson declared: “I think the contracts at our level should be pretty standard. You don’t get rewarded, if the fans aren’t getting rewarded and that means promotion or the play-offs.”