YORK City boss Steve Watson believes experienced campaigner Andy Bond still has the enthusiasm to complete a hat-trick of National League North promotions.

Bond, 33, played 41 league games as AFC Fylde clinched the 2017 sixth-tier title and also made the same number of appearances when Barrow were the division’s play-off winners in 2008.

At Fylde, meanwhile, he has gone on to play 85 times during the last two seasons, which have both seen the Lancashire coastal outfit reach the National League play-offs.

He also ended last season playing in two Wembley finals, with a 3-0 defeat against play-off winners Salford City followed by a 1-0 FA Trophy final triumph over Leyton Orient.

Watson now feels that such a drive for success will inspire Bond’s new team-mates as the Minstermen look to climb out of the realms of regionalised football at the third time of asking.

The City chief reasoned: “He’s another player who was tasted promotion at this level and, whilst he is vastly experienced, he still has a lot of enthusiasm, which is great to see at the age of 33, because it will be infectious. He’s desperate to get another couple of successful seasons under his belt and he’s had good games and goals stats throughout his career.

“He’ll be another leader on the pitch, and he doesn’t just want to go through the motions. He’s desperate to play every week.”

As Fylde’s second-top scorer in the league with six goals behind the division’s leading marksman Danny Rowe, the former England C international’s ability to hit the target was also an attraction for Watson and perhaps an upgrade in that respect on previous target Scott Burgess. “Bondy likes to get beyond defences and we didn’t score enough goals last season,” Watson pointed out. “I offered Burgy something contract-wise, but he decided to go a different way and, as well as he did coming in on loan last season, he only scored one goal for us.

“Goals are never guaranteed from anybody, but it does help if you’ve proved you can score goals before. Bondy has done that and Paddy (McLaughlin) was weighing in towards the end of last season, as Kieran Green did for Blyth.

“Seeing (Adriano) Moke score at Chester was also good for me to see as it shows that he can do that with a bit more confidence, which we will be looking to help him with over the summer, so he can chip in much more.”

Assuming City will start the season in either a 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 formation, then one of Bond, Green, McLaughlin or Moke are likely to miss out on the starting line-up for the 2019/20 curtain-raiser on August 3.

But Watson intends to give each player their opportunity to impress, adding: “We’ve got four midfielders now – or five if you include Alex Kempster who could play there – vying for three places, so that brings healthy competition.

“You never really get three players in the same position who will be available to play all 42 league games either, so they will all get chances to show what they can do.”

Despite the number of midfield bodies, Watson reiterated that free agent Simon Heslop’s invitation to return for pre-season training at Wigginton Road still stands.

Heslop’s three-year contract at Bootham Crescent expired at the end of last season, but knee surgery meant Watson was unable to see him in action following his appointment as manager in January.

On the York-born, 32-year-old’s situation, the City boss said: “He needs to prove to himself, first and foremost, that he can get back into full-time training after quite a nasty, ongoing injury, because it took longer than expected for him to recover from it.

“If he can, then he will get some game time in pre-season, because I can’t see anybody playing longer than 60 or 70 minutes during any of those first four friendlies. I’d never say never on anybody and I’ve seen him play against teams I’ve been involved with before, so I know he’s a quality player, but I’ve got to see where he’s at now before we can talk about whether he could be involved next season.”

Watson also remains hopeful that he can add another new signing to his squad tomorrow, declaring: “We’re hoping to get another player over the line with the same kind of pedigree as Bondy. He’s exactly the type I want and we need but, sometimes, they can take longer to get over the line.”